Cry for hegemony

“War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.”Martin Luther

There seems to be an identical case of variance between the Pakistani and Indian governments. Both civil administrations seem to be looking in different directions as far as their military establishments are concerned. In this country such a difference could be perilous because it generates a debate where a vast majority of the people feel that the brass may intervene and stage yet another coup against the democratic forces of the country. However, in India when the Chief of their Army Staff General Kapoor claims that the Indian army was capable enough to take over both Pakistan and China and bring forth ‘positive results’ within 96 hours it sent alarm bells swinging wildly in all the major capitals of the world. For some the general may have taken a glass too many before he made such a statement, but for others it depicts a serious thought out Indian policy who have been slowly building up on the idea that after the Soviet Union they must be recognised as a major superpower of the world. The recent spending frenzy of $200 billion by the Indians in the name of modernising their obsolete forces is well known to everyone, but still the United States and other major western countries have continued to support Indian designs with their own strategic goals in this region. The Indians are fully aware of the fact that this enormous sum of money that was diverted to their armed forces could have served a much better purpose if it had been spent on the teeming millions of Indians who live below the poverty line. The money could have been spent for the provision of improved health care, education and other social services but their government seems to be in a hurry to dominate South and Far East Asia and in this pursuit has taken certain decisions that have not only annoyed its immediate neighbours but rattled some of them.

This war mongering by the Indian general has come at a time when the Indians are aware of the fact that a major chunk of the Pakistan’s armed forces are busy in fighting an Indian aided insurgency along its borders with Afghanistan. The mere fact that the Indians have calculated to overcome both Pakistan and China in 96 hours is not only poor military strategy, but also a dangerous assessment that is not only incorrect but could lead to a situation that could bring catastrophic results for this entire region. The Indians are fully aware of the capabilities of the first and second strike by Pakistan’s strategic forces in case the situation so called for and the amount of damage they could inflict on the enemy within minutes of a full-scale war. It is a well known fact that the Indian government has been trying to prevail upon the United States that they have the potential to prevail upon China in case the Americans were willing to provide the Indian government with the state-of-the-art military hardware. These weapons the Indians are sure will only result in the modernistion of their armed forces vis-à-vis the Pakistanis and tilt the conventional weapon systems in the favour of the Indian army. The support the Indians squeezed out of the United States in a civil nuclear deal is a part of this new Indian strategy. Without the US support, the Indians could remain 15 to 20 years behind Pakistan in the nuclear weapons and missile programme. However, the Indians are fully aware that they dare not take on the Chinese because their developing economy will suffer irreparable loss and could suffer serious setbacks in case of conflict. Similarly before the outburst General Deepak Kapoor was fully aware of the fact that the Pakistan armed forces were not only prepared but had the essential capability not only to defend their country but also to inflict terrible blows on anyone who tries to take on this country in a foolish state of mind.

The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Committee General Tariq Majeed has rubbished the Indian General by saying: “General Kapoor cannot be so outlandish in strategic postulates on a self-destructing mechanism or betray lack of strategic acumen by indulging in such rhetoric. The Pakistani general said that the Indians must remember that by hurling threats at this country or telling the world that they are capable of winning in 96 hours is not only strategic stupidity, but also poor policy because war is not the answer to the various problems that are faced by both India and Pakistan. However in case the Indians miscalculated the resolve and the commitment of the Pakistani people to safeguard every inch of their country the Indians could drag not only this region in flames, but would be responsible for the disastrous consequences that would follow any fresh conflict with this country.”

Furthermore, senior defence analysts are of the opinion that 96 hours is a long period of time in a modern day conflict because the doctrine of MAD would ensure that there are no real victors at the end of a war between two nuclear armed nations, neither India nor Pakistan have the capability to mop up the disaster that will come with the war because the entire civil services including clean drinking water and looking after sick people will be overwhelmed to an extent where the entire systems of both the countries would collapse creating more misery than that already inflicted by the war would ensue. According to conservative estimate nearly 100 million people, on both sides of the border, would die in the first 15 minutes of the war and therefore the rhetoric of General Deepak Kapoor could be a madman’s dream and nothing more than that. One wonders as to why the Americans or even the elected government of India has not rebuked its general for issuing such a wild statement that has vitiated the already tense atmosphere between India and Pakistan. The government of Mr Manmohan Singh was feeling the pressure that they must settle the Kashmir issue and should withdraw its support from the insurgents who are fighting a deadly hit and run war along the border areas of Afghanistan. And also stop sending arms, ammunition and financial support so that that normalcy and peace returns to both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The statement of General Kapoor has muddied the waters and as such a quick retract of this statement was expected from the Indian government in case the general was not representing the official policy of the Government of India.—AZAM KHALIL

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