Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Osama Bin Laden

Peace with Pakistan

On 18/4/2012 Pakistan’s General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called for resolution of Siachen and other issues. He said the two countries cannot keep spending on defence alone and forget about development. This came after Pakistan’s 127 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried alive by an avalanche on 7/4/2012 and searches are on for them.

Kayani’s statement is welcome but India should not throw caution to the wind. India should not vacate Siachen in a hurry. We know what happened in Kargil. After Kayani’s retirement next General may have different ideas about peace with India. Nawaz Sharif wanted peace with India. Atal Behari Vajpayee took bus to Lahore. A few months later Kargil War happened. Then Pervez Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif and sent him to jail.

Pakistan’s relationship with USA has been hostile for some years. Now China is also not happy with Pakistan due to terrorism in Sinkiang. Pakistan does not have many friends. After American helicopters entered Abbottabad, killed Osama Bin Laden and dumped his body into the sea, Pakistanis have questioned their army’s usefulness. After the death of some Pakistani soldiers in an American air raid Pakistan stopped NATO supply routes in Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have made progress in recent years. Asif Ali Zardari’s private visit on 8/4/2012 helped to move things forward. Sometimes USA has played a spoiler in Indo-Pak relations. USA opposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Days before Zardari’s visit USA announce 10 million dollars bounty on Hafiz Sayeed. Hafiz Sayeed appeared on TV channels and said he was not hiding and if USA gives him 10 million dollars he will tell them of his whereabouts. USA said they knew about his whereabouts, the bounty was for evidence to prosecute him. Strange that USA declares bounty without evidence.

On 15/4/2012 there were attacks on American, British, German and Russian embassies and many other buildings in Afghanistan. Indians were not attacked. The attackers whether Taliban or Haqqani network, operated from Pakistan. They also freed around 380 prisoners in Pakistan.

Will Pakistan agree to vacate Kashmir? It gave some territory to China in 1967. China is in illegal occupation of Indian territory. Gen. J. J. Singh (Retd), Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, said India should give and take to solve border dispute with China. What does he mean? Does he mean India should give up Aksai Chin because it is in Chinese occupation? What will India take from China? China has nothing to give to India. If China claims two parts of India as its own and occupies illegally one part that does not mean India should accept China’s claim in return for China’s recognition of other part that was and is India’s. China claims whole of Arunachal Pradesh and calls it South Tibet. There are some Chinese sympathizers in India who say cartography was not correct when the maps were drawn. India did not have border with China. India had border with Tibet. China annexed Tibet. India should tell China to get out of Tibet. If India accepts Chinese claim on Aksai Chin because China occupies Aksai Chin, India will have to give up its claim on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Trade between India and Pakistan can increase and that can cement peace between two countries. Solving some issues can take a long time.

Pakistan versus USA

The death of 24 Pakistani soldiers on 26/11/2011 in NATO air attacks has further deteriorated Pakistan-USA relationship. Pakistan has stopped NATO supplies to Afghanistan through its territory and has asked USA to vacate the Shamsi air base given to it in 15 days. Its army chief has vowed effective response. Pakistan has complained to UN and has decided to skip Bonn Conference on 5/12/2011 on the future of Afghanistan. China and Russia have come in support of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s double game in Afghan War has been clear for years. In recent months Americans have openly mentioned ISI’s role in Afghanistan. ISI has scuttled peace efforts. Afghan Taliban gets support from ISI. Afghan Taliban attacked American Embassy in Kabul and assassinated Burhanuddin Rabbani. Osama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad for six years. Pakistan claimed it was fighting Taliban without mentioning it was fighting Pak Taliban hostile to it and supported Afghan Taliban hostile to Afghanistan.

NATO forces are predominantly American forces. NATO wants to quit Afghanistan by 2014. It is better if they quit Afghanistan before that and leave it to Afghans to solve their problems. Afghans take money from whoever gives them. When Hamid Karzai was asked about getting money from Iran he said they take money from Americans also. Najibullah was betrayed by his people when he could not give them money. He took shelter in UN compound. When Taliban attacked UN compound and hanged Najibullah UN did nothing. USA and other NATO forces were quiet. Economy is the problem in USA and Europe. Let NATO countries spend their money to solve their people’s problems.

India should remain neutral in this hostility between USA and Pakistan. India has nothing to gain by taking any side. Pakistan has abetted terrorism against India. When India was the victim USA was not on India’s side.

If the army takes over Pakistan there should be sanctions against Pakistan. If China and Russia veto such a proposal in UN, other countries can impose sanctions on their own.

Commando operation

Many Indians want India to send commandos to Pakistan to kill India’s Most Wanted in Pakistan. Operation Geronimo by USA is the inspiration. When asked by journalists army chief and air force chief have said that India is capable to commando operations.

The idea is fine but needs to be tested. India is not USA. India does not have the technology that USA has. In India’s case there is no room for error. Every commando operation is not a success. USA’s attempt to rescue hostages in Iran in 1979 was a disaster. Operation Geronimo was a success in that it achieved its aim of catching Osama Bin Laden dead or alive but one helicopter could not fly back and had to be destroyed. USA has inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can hit any country in the world. Pakistan does not have ICBMs. India and Pakistan do not need ICBMs to hit each other. India does not have stealth helicopters that can evade radar detection.

India can start by rescuing sailors held hostage by Somali pirates. That will test India’s capability to carry out commando operations and the probability of success. India can also carry out commando operations when various groups engage in abductions and hijackings in India.

There are various suggestions to deal with India’s Most Wanted in Pakistan. Announcing prizes to those who kill them or hiring Pakistanis to kill them are two of them.

Operation Geronimo was about one person. India’s wanted are 26. They are in different parts of Pakistan. Some lead secret lives. Others appear in public. A single operation to catch the 26 is difficult. It will need many commandos and helicopters and if something goes wrong in one place other places will be alerted. Separate operations by air, land or sea will mean each subsequent operation will be more difficult than previous one and there is danger of war after the first operation.

Americans do not give up. They get things done. They do it through UN. When UN does not oblige they do it through NATO. When NATO does not oblige they do it themselves with whoever is on their side. They persevere. Indian leaders suspend talks with Pakistan for some time. Then they give up saying there is no alternative to talks. Indian leaders do not get things done or persevere.

Some say a stable Pakistan is in India’s interest and India should not do anything that destabilizes Pakistan. A stable Pakistan that abets and shelters terrorists against India is not in India’s interest. After cricket diplomacy things were looking bright but Operation Geronimo has changed the mood in the country.

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