Pakistan is Becoming a Rogue StatePakistan is a rogue state
By Sunil Garodia
Pakistan is not just a terrorist state; it is also a rogue state and a problem state. Its democratic apparatus is just a sham. It is a military ruled state where the military machinery has understood the need for allowing supposedly free and fair elections to be held periodically to install civilian governments to pander to Western donor countries and prevent economic sanctions by them. In reality, no civilian government has the courage to overrule the generals and all major foreign policy decisions pertaining to the immediate neighbourhood are taken by the generals. At times when a particular civilian government refuses to toe the military line, the Army seizes power under Martial Law. No serious observer of Pakistani politics is in doubt about where the real power lies in the country.
Pakistan follows a disruptive policy
Its policy vis-à-vis India is clear and well defined. Raising the bogey of the Kashmir dispute, Pakistan has always provided moral and financial support to separatists in Kashmir. Despite the Shimla Agreement spelling it out that Kashmir would be resolved through peaceful means and bilateral talks, Pakistan has always raised the issue at international forums. When bilateral talks are scheduled, it insists on talking to the Kashmiri separatists first, making the talks trilateral for all practical purposes. Despite objections from India, its High Commissioner in New Delhi has made it a habit of publicly inviting the separatists for discussions.
Supporting terror wholeheartedly
It has overtly violated the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) repeatedly and with abandon. Covertly, it has raised an army of fidayeens, or allowed such armies to be raised by terror outfits patronized by it. It has provided finance, arms, training and logistical support to these elements and has periodically let them loose on Indian territory by making them infiltrate the LoC. It has sleeping terror modules present in India and activates them as per the time and place of its choice. It has made these fidayeens strike in Kashmir and other Indian cities, notably at the Indian Parliament in New Delhi and multiple strikes in Mumbai. Pakistan has been indulging in this proxy war for long, regularly denying that those committing these terror strikes are its citizens and calling them non-state actors. It has never been serious in talking across the table by not wanting to discuss cross-border terrorism and instead wanting to focus only on Kashmir.
Escalating the proxy war
The attack on the Pathankot Air Force station some months ago, the continued disturbances in the Kashmir valley after Burhan Wanis encounter killing and the recent attack on the Army HQ at Uri must be seen for what they are: a signal by Pakistan that it is now taking the proxy war a notch higher and that it can strike at will at any place near the LoC. It has shown that there are glaring shortcomings in the Indian security and intelligence apparatus which it can use with precision and to its advantage. It has also shown that it can mobilize massive public support for long periods in Kashmir through its agent provocateurs this side of the border.
Cutting edge counter-terrorism is the answer
All these are dangerous escalations and call for serious introspection by the Indian government and the security forces. They also call for a rethink on the Pakistan policy. War at this juncture is not an option. But counter-terrorism is. India cannot remain a mute spectator to Pakistani intransigence and covert attacks. It cannot let the terrorists dictate the terms. It cannot always be seen to be acting after they have struck. Of course the security and intelligence apparatus does intercept and neutralize terror modules. But it seems that the efforts are not bearing fruit. There is a need to acquire cutting edge expertise in counter-terrorism to outthink these miscreants and their handlers. As long as the Pakistani generals think that they have a free run in India, these attacks are not going to stop. In fact, they will become more frequent. Only when the Indian side will counter their moves will the opportunity cost for such strikes sink to a level that will make it unviable for the Pakistanis. This is one game of chess that calls for the wiliest of thinking and one that India cannot afford to lose.