India vs Pakistan and Threat of War

Before visiting Pakistan, Robert Gates warned from New Delhi that, should 2007 Mumbai like incident occur again, India would attack Pakistan, meaning thereby that the past Mumbai killings have been solely attributed to Pakistan and if such an incident occurred again, responsibility would be that of Pakistan, and in retaliation, India would be perfectly justified to attack Pakistan. In this situation USA would not be in a position to restrain India. Rather it may support this venture.

The message is fraught with ominous consequences and therefore demands a clear assessment of our ability to respond, if such a threat develops. This assessment therefore, is based on existing ground realities, which determine the military power balance between Pakistan and India. No doubt, the Indian armed forces are numerically superior to Pakistan, but they suffer from some inherent weaknesses and, it will take them a long time to overcome these.

Indian armed forces are in the midst of a transition, – replacement of the obsolete Russian weapons system with high-tech American-Israeli-European weapons. India started this changeover in 2005 after signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement with USA and hopes to complete it by the year 2015. Already it has spent about a hundred billion dollars on the new acquisitions. Their entire military system at present therefore, is weak, because they have the old and absolute weapons and about thirty percent of the recently acquired new systems. They suffer from a predicament, similar to what we suffered in early seventies, because, USA bad abandoned Pakistan in 1965 and we had not been able to induct new weapons and equipment from other sources. India exploited this weakness and dismembered Pakistan. Thus, India suffering from such weaknesses, now, is not in a position to wage a full f1edged war against Pakistan.

India faces another serious problem, in that, despite their best efforts of the last forty years, they have failed to manufacture their own tanks, guns, cruise missiles, fighter aircrafts, battleships and submarines. This in essence, constitutes a major weakness of the Indian armed forces, because, the present day war cannot be won with weapons borrowed or purchased from others. And, contrary to the weaknesses of India and cognising the implications of self-reliance, Pakistan has achieved up to ninety percent of indigenisation of weapons and equipment. We have our own tanks, guns, cruise missiles, fighter aircrafts, battleships and submarines as well as we have a stock-pile of war reserves, of over forty days, as compared to just eleven days of war reserves in 1965 and seven days in 1971. Whereas India’s war reserves as of today are limited to 15 days only. Thus, Pakistan in this respect also enjoys a clear edge over India.

Pakistan has achieved up to ninety percent of indigenisation of weapons and equipment.

The third dimensional capability of Pakistan is, in the way of higher military education and superior military and operational strategy, which is the hallmark of our military leadership, and was demonstrated some twenty years back in 1989, during Ex-Zarb-e-Momin. The Offensive Defence concept was practised and over the period, has been actualised as the fundamental doctrine of war. Offensive Defence means that our forces having fixed the enemy, will carry the war into their territory. Compare it with the Cold Start doctrine of India, of fighting a war on two fronts, which is more of a fiction than a realistic military doctrine.

Mr Robert Gates, as well as the Indian military planners, while taking into cognisance the existing military balance between Pakistan and India, must also consider the new phenomenon of the Asymmetric War, which, during the last thirty years, has established the supremacy of Men and Missiles, over the most modern and technologically superior armed forces of the world, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Kashmir. The Asymmetric War, in essence is the name of the Islamic Resistance, with its hardcore resting along the Durand Line. It is our strength. Thus, conventional as well as irregular armed forces, together provide the emerging shape of the Fourth Generation of modern warfare, as Joseph S Nye, the former Assistant Secretary of Defence USA and a professor of Harvard University, defines: “The hybrid wars, conventional and irregular forces combatants and civilians become thoroughly intertwined” to win wars and help establish the new order. In case, war is forced on Pakistan, it would be a long and decisive war, where new geo-political realities would emerge, establishing new frontiers of peace in the region.

Nuclear weapons are not the weapons of war because these have never been used as such. United States used it against the Japanese in 1945, which already had lost the war, nor had the capability to retaliate. American purpose was primarily diplomatic, i.e. to declare to the world that, America was entering the centre stage of world politics, to establish its global primacy and pre-eminence. There are other instances also, where nuclear powers, possessing hundreds and thousands of atomic weapons could not use them, to save themselves from very difficult and embarrassing situations. The Americans lost the war in Vietnam; the Soviets lost their empire in Afghanistan; the Israelis could not cover the shame of defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2005; the Americans having suffered defeat in Iraq, now are facing a worse defeat in Afghanistan, yet they find no recourse to use their nuclear capability. Their NATO partners are equally embarrassed, yet they cannot think of using their nuclear weapons to cover the shame of impending defeat. Similarly, India and Pakistan can fight only conventional wars and win or loose, but they dare not use nuclear weapons against each other, because it would destroy everything, leaving nothing but ashes, one could hope to capture and rebuild. And therefore, our people must not carry the wrong notion that Pakistan is powerful because it has nuclear capability. On the contrary, it is the conventional military capability, which provides security and lends resilience to the nation, as of now, and provides space to the po1itical government, to establish good governance.

Nuclear weapons are also great equalizer, between nuclear capable adversaries. “Between India and Pakistan, perfect deterrence exists” – declared George Fernandis, the former Defence Minister of India, after Pakistan demonstrated its capability in May 1998. And that precisely is the function of the weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan’s policy of Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence, supported by the Policy of Restraint, together serves the purpose of a stable nuclear deterrence. Nuclear capability also doesn’t compensate for the conventional military capability, and working on this principle the conventional military capability of Pakistan has been so developed as to make it a real symbol of national power, to defeat all aggression from within and outside.

Such are the ground realities, which determine the capabilities of our armed forces which cannot be wiped off by contrived constructs of our adversaries, nor Pakistan can be scared of going to the brink, if a war was forced on it. J F Dulles has rightly said: “If you are scared to go to the brink you are lost.” Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg (Retd)

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Dangerous games in the Gulf

THE more things change in the Middle East, the more they seem to remain the same. As if tensions in the world’s most volatile region weren’t high enough, the United States has decided to “upgrade” its military presence in the Gulf. Washington is deploying new defences against possible Iranian missile attacks by placing battle ships off the Iranian coast and anti-missile systems in at least four Gulf countries. It goes without saying that the ostensible provocation and justification for the US moves is the increasingly hawkish posturing and rhetoric of the Iranian regime and the apparent threat potential to America’s allies in the region. However, you do not have to be a genius to know that the real reason behind the US actions against Iran is Israeli pressure on the Obama administration. Tel Aviv has never really kept its designs against Iran and its nuclear ambitions a secret. Of late, with an increasingly belligerent regime in power in Israel, an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear installations looks like an increasing possibility.

So maybe the Obama administration is trying to send the message to both Iran and Israel that Washington means business and takes the so-called threat from Teheran seriously. For this dangerous situation, Iran has to blame no one but itself. Whether its nuclear programme is peaceful or not, its jingoistic rhetoric and confrontational posturing have provided the Western powers with a perfect excuse to increase their involvement and presence in the region. Teheran may be entitled to nuclear power under the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty). However, with its aggressive approach to acquiring it, it has isolated itself internationally and alienated itself from its Arab neighbours. Read more of this post

Logic behind “war against terrorism”

It is no new development that almost every week two-three American or even British delegations come to Pakistan in order to deliver the newest instructions not only about how to fight the ‘war on terror’ but even on how to run the country. While the Jewish senator Lieberman was pressurizing Pakistan to launch a military operation in North Waziristan, David Milliband was advising our government on how to deal with the situation in Karachi. Though we have to concede that this government in power even lacks certain professionalism and may need one or the other advice it is unfortunate that it is the former colonial ruler who wants to further mislead us in this melee drama.

The same is the situation with the so-called ‘war on terror’ and our role as allies of the US and the West in this war. While we do have our own problems with extremism in Pakistan those problems are very different from the ones the US and the West are having. Their efforts to use Pakistan in order to fight and win their war in Afghanistan by deliberately pushing the taleban into Pakistani territory and pressurizing with the threat of stopping the money flow and the Pakistani government and army to fight the war according to their rules and principles has acquired an obstinacy during recent weeks which is really amazing. Judging by the latest remarks of special envoy Holbrooke it looks as if they are offering to run the country for us -at least for the time being, because Pakistan has no place in their ultimate agenda of building American Empire.He also seems to think that we have forgotten the treacherous role he had played at that time in Kosovo and Palestine, which reflected his anti-Islam sentiments.

Their losing position in the Afghan war and especially the recent deadly attack on their CIA operational base in Khost has made all the alarm bells ring in Washington. The panic is so big that whatsoever logic there might have been in the “war against terror” is falling prey to it. While it is an established fact that US and other Western think tanks and intelligence agencies considers that al Quaida has been relocating their “dispensable staff to Yemen after their situation became uncomfortable in Fata and Afghanistan, and it is alleged that several attacks on US installations have been launched earlier from Yemen and Westerners have been abducted for ransom on a regular basis the US states that still Yemen is not so important and the center of activity is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why the pressure on our government and army is mounting to push us into a full fledged civil war.

The consequences of this will be disastrous not only for the US but for this and every coming government which pursues the same policy. Anti-American and anti-Western feelings will rise and that means that on the long run Islamic or Islamist parties and forces will gain influence. Just recently a London think tank making a forecast of political development in Pakistan during the coming three to four years predicted that anti-American feelings and sentiments will rise though probably Islamist forces will not be able to take over the reins of government in Pakistan, as it is nothing but just a propaganda tool for Western media. But the fact that about 70% of the Pakistani population wants the implementation of the Islamic shariah -even if the opinions about what that actually means are quite controversial- should be of course a reason for concern to the government. But the US is not only pressurizing Pakistan to help winning their losing war. They are pressurizing their European allies as well.

By now the Afghan war is thoroughly unpopular in most of the countries of ‘old Europe’ as narrated by former US Secretary of Defense Mr.Rumsfield. Be it Britain or Germany or France, the governments of these countries bound by contracts to the NATO and the US are at loss to explain to their population why and how there is a need to “defend the freedom of their respective countries by waging war in the Hindukush”.

In the situation when all those economies have to deal with a crisis, when the rates of joblessness are going up and the social security systems are under threat, each and every government has to take loans in order to run the economy and re-start it, why there have to be billions of dollars spent on war in Afghanistan and why innocent people have to die there.

Interestingly, the West was never ready to sacrifice the lives of their own soldiers in that war; they always thought that somehow it would be the enemy only who would die – and may be the “collateral damage” of that population that a highly computerized war would cause. That is why it is only the Western dead who are counted, never the dead Iraqis, Afghanis or Pakistanis. And the immediate death toll is only the beginning.

We are just getting first reports about a rising number of children in Iraq being born with birth defects and later developing cancer. The cancer rate in Iraq has gone up manifold as a result of the radiation which has been released in the wake of the carpet bombings. Given the inaccessibility of the Afghan territory such reports may take a while to emerge from there also; but they are bound to come. This situation clearly shows how crazy the logic of this whole ‘war on terror’ is and how physically and politically dangerous its outfall will be on Pakistan, when US and NATO forces leave Afghanistan ultimately.

US allies, NATO & ISAF have murdered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, terrified millions of innocent Pakistani and Afghani through their 9/11 drama to justify attack on Afghanistan & Iraq.

In 1996 US oil Mafia and Unocal were negotiating oil pipeline building project between the Caspian Sea and the markets of East Asia and Europe. At that time US Government welcomed Taliban’s rise to power as a promising source of stability in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance, so the claim that they are waging this war to liberate Afghanis from Taliban is nothing but a white lie.

As an immediate outfall, Pakistan has become a victim of this war because of our spineless rulers. If immediate corrective measures are not taken and those advising to do more are not shown the door, our survival will remain at stake as millions of people are forced to beg for food, clean water, flour, sugar, gas, electricity, safety and security. Pakistani nation has been trapped in the quagmire of an endless war of terror or civil war, which needs to be ended otherwise the wheels of history are going to grind us all without any exceptions.(Ali Ashraf Khan)

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