ShauryaT, I do not know with what new lenses, other than those of Islamism and the perfidious Pakistani behaviour, we can look at that wretched country. If anything, only these two behaviours are becoming increasingly prominent in that country. I do not have to repeatedly say, because everyone knows that too, that Pakistan is by no stretch of imagination even a third-rate nation state. We can shape the opinions of only decent nation-states through diplomacy, dialogues, reasonableness, give-and-take and generosity. I do agree that there is no clean satisfactory solution to Pakistan but that does not mean we walk into a minefield with our eyes wide open and with full knowledge of what is in store without trying less dangerous options for a prolonged period to satisfy ourselves that a change is 'uninterruptibly and uninterruptedly' in place there (to borrow from Mani Shankar Ayyar). Siachen cannot be the first step in testing waters with Pakistan. Why this rush ?
SSridhar: I recognize that you are an expert observer of matters TSP. Also, not expecting you or anyone to change your views overnight but will share my perspective.
On Islamism, it is a long term battle, a battle in which we have to strengthen ourselves first, in all aspects of power and ideology. I have always said the solution to the issues of Islamism in the subcontinent goes through the Hindu heart. Without this strengthening, it would be premature to take on the Islamist battle head on. In context, it will be best to recognize the right of TSP to exist as an Islamic state but in practice do everything to promote that goes against the ideology of the Sunni theologians. Only engagement with their society and polity allows for it.
Every time Pakistanis open their mouths, the food they eat, the dresses they wear, the social systems they live in, the political systems they live in, what they do for entertainment, how they celebrate festivals, marriages, the music they dance to, their attitudes on family and relationships, behaviors, everywhere - they were and are far more closer to the Indian cultural milieu than Arabic or even Persian – at least the bulk of Punjabis and Sindhis and certainly Mohajirs, these aspects need to be strengthened.
TSP has been desperately trying to move the populace towards an Arabic cultural milieu since 1947 under the ideological guidance of luminaries starting from Sirhindi, Shah Wali-ullah, Abd al-Wahhab, Sayyid Ahmad Khan and of Iqbal and Jinnah along with the ideas of the Tablighi Jamaat. These ideas of Islamism have to be defeated. Their success is a threat to Indian interests. Cannot do this watching from the side, and no risk taking ability. When it is more profitable and secure enough to be a liberal, Islam can be paid lip service to, bringing them closer to the conditions of Muslims in India and this is achievable only through an engagement.
It was because we lacked enough ideological strength that we have lost in a strategic sense to the Islamism agenda in the subcontinent. It is no surprise that a weak leadership, who lacked core convictions allowed the partition first, then the crippling decisions of 1948 and then the compromise on national security by allowing TSP to acquire a nuclear arsenal, and India knew of ongoing TSP efforts, at least since 1979. I consider the above three events as crippling acts to the power of the Indian state with lasting damage, in order of precedence as listed above.
The continuing failures of our polity to not be able to maximize Indian potential and strengthen our civilization roots has led to a further compromise. The prime compromise for this generation being the non-fulfillment of the 1992 resolution on Kashmir and tolerating an unconventional war, without severe costs on the enemy. The above leads us to adopt a conciliatory posture.
My response to ramana, essentially underscored the point that in order to have meaningful dialogue, Pakistan’s military will have to be marginalized. If not through War then through peace. Both involve risks.
A failed Pakistan is not in Indian interests, IMO, and have not seen much meaningful arguments on how it can be and indeed what does failure mean? So, unless this aspect is articulated by someone, I will not know, how it can possibly serve Indian interests.
On the question why the “rush”? The question is not one of rush but one of being meaningful and doable. If we recognize that PA military concerns are something worth addressing and can work in our larger interests, then the question becomes, what type of military CBM can be worked upon, which is the least risky for India. From PA’s perspective, what is it that becomes a meaningful CBM, which will address their central concern in a meaningful manner. It cannot be Neti-Neti.
I am with Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (retd) on the matter of Siachen. Will not repeat all that has been said on the matter already. The big question for me is, what are we asking for in return. I have a huge laundry list of demands that am not seeing anyone talk about. Hope the defense secretaries did better.
I think it will be helpful, if you can put another military CBM on the table as an alternative to Siachen. I have walked through the length of the LoC, could not find one. There are some other military CBM’s that both should work on but they are not areas of disputes. Another view I have received is go aggressive on the civilian side but do nothing to accommodate the military, but then this is what we did at Lahore. One way or the other we need to be able to start influencing events within the TSP between these groups but the PA holds key cards and hence need to be addressed.
Put yourself in the PA’s shoes, if you are convinced that India is not going to negotiate anything and given the geo-political realities of today or 10 years from today, what are your options? What will you do? They still have viable options to survive and give us more shocks and further detoriate our interests and ambitions, jeopardizing our security and economic interests. If India does not address their concerns, then we better be sure that they have no other option but to negotiate and climb down. I fear they continue to have options, not those that serve them best but nevertheless options.
Co-option is the other lens from which, we can look at Pakistan.