Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who is talking to Pakistan – India or INC?

The recent visit by Congress MP and former Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Sashi Tharoor offers an interesting insight into the dynamics of Indo-Pakistan dialogue process. To a student of Foreign Relations, it doesn't appear like a dialogue between two independent and sovereign nations but a dialogue between a dynasty (separated from its people) and a troublesome satrap. While it may satisfy the egos of some misguided nationalists, in reality such approach doesn't offer any realistic solutions to problems that matter and might result in unintended harm to Indian core Interests.
As part of his visit, Sri Tharoor gave multiple speeches and participated in talk shows. They are too long to reproduce/quote here. Some of his articles and debates (that are basis for this post) are:
Following are the key aspects of that deliberation and let us see what is said and what point of view (India’s or Indian National Congress Party’s) is presented.

1. Pakistan’s Civil-Military relationship
The whole world knows about the relationship between Pakistani civil-military relationships. If not for Pakistan evolving into the world’s capital of Islamic Terrorism, this is completely an internal matter of Pakistan society and India or any other country has no business talking about it.
One should distinguish between a civil Pakistani government and military Pakistan government if and only if there is a significant difference between these models on the use of Terrorism as a Foreign Policy tool.
The below graphic illustrates and the reader can clearly see that the Civilian governments in Pakistan are no different from their military counterparts when it comes to their “terrorism as instrument of state policy” concerning India.

Note: Blue = Civilian Govt Yellow = Sustained Terrorist programs (Punjab & JK) Red = Major terrorist events or wars
Combined with the on-going tussle between the current UPA2 administration and the nation’s armed forces leader Sri VK Singh one can understand the true purpose of Sri Tharoor’ s comments.
2. Cross-Border terror emanating from Pakistan in to India
Here Sri Tharoor admits that the people who believe that peace is possible between India and Pakistan are in minority. Yet he tries to present the minority opinion as Indian Foreign Relations objective.
Then he gives the longest rope to Pakistan by admitting that terrorist groups cannot be turned off like a tap; thus making the whole issue of “cross-border terrorism” meaningless.
What is important to India; stopping cross-border terrorism or free-trade/educational-exchange with Pakistan?
The root of this convoluted logic in Foreign Policy lies in INC’s need to recapture the Muslim vote-bank in India proper. Since it lost the Muslim vote bank to regional parties, post 1992 Babri Masjid demolition, INC failed to come to power on its own strength in Delhi. INC has tried many political tricks to bring this significant vote bank (15% vote share – that can influence >100 parliament constituencies) under its fold by witch hunting Post-Godhra riots and Saffron-Terrorism etc to no avail.
In its eagerness to solve this issue before 2014 elections, INC seems to have resorted to Paki-logic; by associating Indian Muslim community with better relations with Pakistan; giving Pakistan (sic) say in sub-continental Muslim affairs.
3. Peace talks between Govts of India and Pakistan
Sri Tharoor points out the lack of clarity on who in Pakistan, Civil Govt or Military, guarantees the agreements signed between the two nations and if the agreement signed by one party is honored by the other power center.
This is a basic challenge involved in solving in any multi-party negotiation problem. A simple approach would have been to request that both civil and military representatives are part of the negotiations.
4. Pakistani paranoia on Indian intentions
Sri Tharoor makes few assertions on this point.
  • India is totally reconciled to Pakistan’s existence as an independent state
  • A strong and stable Pakistan was in India’s interest
  • India is a “status quo-ist” power and there could be peace between the two sides if they agreed on “mutually acceptable parameters”.
The inherent contradiction in these assertions is - would India still want a “Strong and Stable” Pakistan even when there are no “mutually acceptable parameters” that are foundation for peace between these two nations, and would India still accept Pakistan’s existence under those circumstances?
5. Pakistani national obsession to dismember India
Sri Tharoor reminds us Pakistan’s long sponsored terrorism as part of its policy meant to “bleed India” and its efforts to wrest Kashmir from India and concludes that such policy is yielding negative results to Pakistani society and military as the chickens are coming home to roost.
Does it mean Pakistani terrorist policy is an acceptable instrument of foreign policy if it were to contain those jihadi terrorist outfits to India-centric operations only? Would this elder brotherly advice resonate in Pakistani strategic and military community? After all the whole Pakistani existence is based up on its Islamic identity and its military strategy is based on Jihad in the name of Allah. Would there be any need for Pakistan’s existence if it starts behaving like a mini-India?
6. Siachin conflict
Sri Tharoor says that “Indian political leadership is agreeable to vacating Siachin glacier region as a confidence building measure; but Indian Armed forces are not comfortable with this measure given Pakistani betrayal in Kargil in 1998 and Pakistani unwillingness to mark these positions electronically.”
This is the second most irresponsible assertion Sri Tharoor made in this spate of articles and discussions he had in Pakistan. With this single statement Sri Tharoor unwisely implies that
  • That there are two disparate assessments on Siachin issue within India
  • Indian political decision making is devoid of inputs from its military leadership
  • That Indian military must accept the agenda of political leadership even if it is inimical to Indian Interests (After all he was preaching Pakistan the same thing)
7. Life of Indian Muslims
That brings us to the most irresponsible assertion by Sri Tharoor in his Pakistan trip.
Instead of politely but firmly reminding his Pakistani hosts that Pakistan is not a representative of Indian Muslims, Sri Tharoor not only entertains such line of thought but also makes ludicrous excuses to his Pakistani hosts to suite his party’s political agenda.
When questioned by his Pakistani counterparts on the so-called (sic) Gujrat-Pogram, Sri Tharoor admits that this is a shameful event and squarely blames BJP government for these religious riots, well in sync with his party position and subsequent witch hunting by successive Congress governments.
In his eagerness to wash his (sic) secular dirty laundry in Pakistan (a religious state) Sri Tharoor forgets that
  • The sub-continent history is full of Hindu-Muslim religious clashes starting from the days the Islamic hoards pillaged peaceful Hindu subcontinent
  • The founding fathers (JL Nehru and MK Gandhi) of his political party did much-worse than Sri Narendra Modi in stopping the worst religious riots in 1947 resulting hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Muslim deaths
  • There have been more than 50 religious riots since 1947 under INC’s leadership, often triggered for Congress’s own political moves
These are just few examples. A careful analysis of INC’s strategy, thru Sri Tharoor’s words, towards Pakistan reveals two fundamental objectives
  1. That INC doesn’t want to make India’s vision as its political vision but instead want to make its vision India’s vision
  2. That INC doesn’t mind using its foreign policy to benefit its internal fortunes instead of making India’s fortunes as the primary goal of Indian foreign policy

In other words Sri Tharoor wants us to believe that “INC is India”!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gen. V.K. Singh episode - Following the political bread crumbs

Why would a corrupt and scam-infected coalition government try to remove the leader of the nation's armed forces over a non-issue? What makes a clerical error (incorrect DoB in a personal file) so important to the UPA2 administration that its Ministry of Defense wants to spend its ever dwindling political capital on this issue instead of selection of MMRCA partner or expanding LCA/Arjun acquisition into Indian Army or any other equally important issue?
The Political bread-crumbs

- When his Pakistani counterparts raised the demilitarization of Siachin, Sashi Tharoor (Congress MP and former Asst. External Affairs minister) is on record saying Indian Political Leadership (read INC and MMS administration) is ready for that but it is the Indian Army that is not on board on this issue.
Is the successor of VK Singh is on board with INC/UPA2 government to vacate Siachin so INC can move forward with its Peace with Pakistan Program?

AFPSA – It was Indian Army again that halted the political moves initiated by Omar Abdullah with blessings of Rahul Gandhi.

Is the successor of VK Singh on board with INC/UPA2 government to remove AFPSA?

Kashmir Valley – Last year UPA2 and MMS sent special interlocutors (some of who later found to be receiving favors from Pakistani ISI) to discuss the peace options in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Is INC/UPA2 contemplating autonomy to Kashmir Valley or parts of J&K states and making sure that Indian Army will not put hurdles in these efforts as it might mean pulling Army back from LoC in some areas?

The Strategy

Given INC’s obsession to come back to power in 2014 at any cost and make Rahul Gandhi the PM of India, the following seems to be INC’s political strategy

2012 –
• Remove VK Singh and replace him with someone who will be part of INC’s vision for India.
• Make a peace deal with Pakistan on Siachin. IA vacates Siachin and Pakistani Army will not make any efforts to claim this area. India will not see any terror attacks on its soil in return.
Before 2014
• Remove AFPSA in JK and NE to consolidate Muslim and Christian vote banks
• Give Autonomy to Parts of JK or Kashmir Valley

2014-2019 (Assuming Rahul Gandhi is the PM)
• Make further peace moves with Pakistan.
• Declare the new LOC (with parts of Kashmir Valley given autonomy or given to Pakistan) as the international border with Pakistan and give up all claims on PoK

Propaganda Value
• Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is portrayed (using politically motivated media houses) as leaders of peace (Rahul Gandhi was on record saying that only his family can bring peace to India)
• Rahul Gandhi (INC) claiming to have solved the Kashmir problem for India permanently
The holy-grail of dynastic politics

The Gandhi-Nehru dynasty might invite Pakistan (and Bangladesh?) to become the extended electorate of India in the hope of consolidating the Muslim minority votes under its belt forever. Key political parties in Pakistan and Bangladesh might merge or join the UPA alliance in this effort; thus giving INC and Pakistani RAPE (Rich Anglicized Pakistani Elite) permanent hold over the political fortunes of Indian Subcontinent

It could be sold to the Indian public as
- An effort to guide Pakistan on the road of Democracy
- To accommodate Bangladeshi-immigrant sensitivities
- Eventual re-unification of India
Impact to Indian Geo-Political Environment
This may result in some unintended consequences to the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty and Hindu Bharat. When big people make mistakes, the price for those mistakes too will be huge.
Once India converts LoC into LAC, Pakistan can cede parts of PoK/NA to China so China’s hold over Tibet is complete and absolute. China might even buy some of these sparsely populated areas from Pakistan for onetime payment (Pakistan getting $20-50B onetime payment for giving up Northern Areas)
As and when Pakistan becomes the extended electorate of India, the founding objectives of Pakistan will be met. A modern version of Muslim-electorate dominated Mughalistan will be formed (as different state governments of Indian union – J&K x 10) from Pakistan to Bangladesh thru the Gangetic belt of India. The consolidated Muslim vote bank will demand (and probably receive) a higher say and share in the Indian success story disproportional to its contributions (20% contribution but gets 50% of share of the spoils).