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Friday, 1 January 2010

Indian military dream

THE latest statement by the Indian Army Chief, General Kapoor, that India could fight a two-front war with Pakistan and China at the same time and end it successfully within 96 hours is highly debateable and contentious. However, it is the mindset behind the statement that has dangerous implications and needs to be given serious consideration by Pakistan.
First, it reiterates India's desire to have a war fighting option within an overarching nuclearised environment. This was the logic behind its ColdStart strategy, where it envisaged commencing a rapid air ground-naval strike through Sindh into Pakistan so that it could capture some territory before the international community stepped in through the UN to prevent Pakistan from initiating a response  perhaps even a nuclear one. Now India has developed the strategy at multiple levels, including limited war. All this is being done to restore the viability of war in a nuclear context especially in the wake of its newly-embarked-upon missile defence programme. By making war a viable option, India is definitely playing a game of nuclear brinkmanship.
Second, this latest exposition of Indian strategy makes it abundantly clear that the threat from India remains and has become even more severe. Therefore, it is not a responsible approach by Pakistan to move substantial forces away from the Eastern border at a time when Indian deployments are increasing along the same front and they are operationalising an offensive strategy.
Third, with this hostile approach, India has made clear its continuing hostility towards Pakistan and its aggressive designs. Under these circumstances, what good will dialogue resumption do. Dialogue simply for the sake of dialogue, while it does no harm, will achieve little in terms of conflict resolution. And this is certainly not the time to make the sort of concessions on trade routes to India that the present government is determined to make.