Part I — Tackling Terrorism and Pakistan
Sitting on judgment is easy. As I have been doing this for long, slamming governments and leaders alike, I thought it was time for me to throw criticism to the dogs, get practical and proffer alternative paths I may have adopted.
So I decided to don the mantle of Prime Minister of India (with due apologies to Dr Manmohan Singh whom I respect from the bottom of my heart). This is particularly because some recent developments have had me boiling.
What difference will I make to India if I usurp the authority to do so? Here are my USPs.
1. Adopt China’s “Indo Chini, Bhai Bhai” strategy: Soon after the Mumbai massacre, I will have cosied up to Pakistan instead of pointing fingers at them and trying to win the sympathy of the world. Singing some “India, Pakistan bhai bhai” refrain without overdoing it, I will have convinced them that we mean well and want nothing but warm ties with them. “After all,” I will have told them, “both of us are victims of terror.”
2. Even as Pakistan savours the stupidity of India, I will catch them completely offguard by using the ballistic missiles and all delivery systems in our arsenal to unleash a nuclear attack on the enemy so potent that it would have no opportunity to counter it or recover from the shock. I know this is easier said than done, but why should I limit my imagination!
3. They may have anti-ballistic missiles to counter such attacks just as we do. This is precisely why we have to act on the sly – in a manner similar to how china fooled India amid all the friendly rhetoric between Zhou En Lai and Jawaharlal Nehru and attacked India in 1962 to purse their border claims over Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Ladakh. Nehru was naïve enough to believe the Chinese then and did not recover from the shock until his death two years later.
4. It thus makes sense for us to master the Chinese ploy by being sly, selfish and anything but trustworthy. I think the youth of the day have already embraced such “values”.
5. My recipe for disaster (on the enemy side) will prove wrong Jane’s Intelligence Review that believed India has a nuclear arsenal that is “strategically active but operationally dormant.” I hate India’s spineless inaction on terrorism from across the border with all the anger I can muster, so why will I want our nuclear capability to lie dormant. I see no other way to tackle the menace.
6. Surgical raids on inimical sites within Pakistan could be an alternative to nuclear strikes, but I doubt our intelligence agencies have had the strength to map them out. Also, that has the risk of dangerous repercussions.
7. This brings me to a recent piece by Tunku Varadarajan wherein he analyses the Israeli attacks on Gaza and assesses if India should do likewise. His simple conclusion: “India does not because it cannot.”
8. Pakistan’s trump card, he argues, is the fact that any attack on its territory carries an apocalyptic risk for India. Also, he goes on, India is not a military goliath vis-à-vis Pakistan in the same way Israel is to the Palestinians. It is a nice piece well worth a read. Check it out at http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/04/israel-hamas-india-oped-cx_tv_0105varadarajan.html?partner=popstories
9. The bottomline is that it is not an easy situation to be caught in. After testing a nuclear explosive in 1974, India did little in terms of consolidating its military might, holding meaningless peace talks in an attempt to foster good neighbourliness. With such dilly-dallying, we even enabled Pakistan to become a nuclear power.
10. Pakistan will never ever get tough with terrorists. It will not stop its state-sponsored terrorist attacks as well. Importantly, it will continue to have the backing of China, the U.S. and all its European cronies. None of them will want to see India emerging as a superpower.
What are we waiting for then? But then it is too late for India to do anything now as its preposterous efforts to win the world sympathy got Pakistan fully geared for any eventuality. That is tragic for India. No harm hoping though that better sense will prevail in Pakistan and make them act to prevent their soil from being used to promote terrorism worldwide.
I will nonetheless seek to make Pakistan a part of India once again, but this time without all the vermin within there.
I intend to keep this series alive. More posts on “If I were Prime Minister…” can, therefore, be expected although this is no promise.
— G Joslin Vethakumar