Boss, let's forget the "ji" business...
>>The question is what political geographical vision should one lend to the region, to facilitate, indeed precipitate the break up of Pakistan.
Depends on what you mean by “lend”. If you mean we should have a policy articulation of any sort, or any indication that such is our goal, it is bound to make it harder to achieve. As such, it is best to follow the advice of the late Mr. Kao, i.e. to let “Pakistan stew in its own juice”. Left to its own devices, Pakistan’s existential and fundamental contradictions will ensure a slow but certain death – UNLESS, it abandons its founding principles and vectors towards what we would consider normalcy; in other words, it is no more an “Islamic” state but rather a country where the majority are Muslim, and which is accommodative, inclusive and pluralistic in every sense. Given the current configuration of the state and its internal dynamics, I don’t see that happening.
In the meantime, we will have to absorb violence as the dying beast lashes out, and as it does, it is hitting out at others as well, not just India. So we must stand aside and allow others to do our dirty work, fight with the shadow sword. We must let someone else become the Predator, let someone else play the role of the grim Reaper. To the extent we can, while continuously reiterating our desire for a stable and sane Pakistan, we will provide guidance and support to these forces while quietly accumulating our own leverage with them and learning from their expertise and actions. That is the best and most cost-effective way of dealing with the monster at our doorstep. Because remember, our overarching strategic objective is to steadily increase our own strategic autonomy and space, and that is best accomplished through an ever-growing economy.
>>As long as we bundle the Pushtuns into an Afghanistan,
>>- Pakistanis will continue to claim the Durand Line as their international border on the one hand,
This is not entirely accurate. Pakistan had many chances to demand formalization of the Durand line. It has shown less enthusiasm for this than some might think. It had a couple of chances when it could have pushed for it and “maybe” secured it. The reason is simple: it wanted to have the option of crossing over. So long as the line is “informal” – so to speak – Pakistan’s strategic depth option would be stronger. Typical tactical brilliance based on unfounded bravado. They assumed that they would be the ones going over, never seriously considered the possibility that the tables would be turned – even though the Pashtuns have been yelling for their own homeland for a while. It is another matter that no Afghan leadership, including the Taliban, has agreed to the line.
>>- continue to treat Afghanistan as their strategic backyard,
The Pakistanis think that Afghanistan is their strategic backyard. But what does that mean really? What is it for America then? Or for the other countries present there. “Strategic depth” or “strategic backyard” and so on are just terms which really mean nothing. What Pakistan is doing is straightforward. It is actively destabilizing a neighbouring state in a way that has seriously undermined its own interests and stability. What it has done is turn Pakistan into America’s latest war technology testing ground. It has turned India into a considerably more respected power in the region for its forebearance and strategic perspective, and pushed China into a corner in terms of soft options. Massively foolish. Only a Pakjabi could come up with something boneheaded like this. Pakistan is being turned into a Pashtun playground.
>>- Afghani Pushtuns would remain Pakistan's pawns there in exchange for help in the domination of politics in Afghanistan
The Pashtuns will dominate in Afghanistan anyway – Pakistan or no Pakistan. They don’t need Pakistan’s help. What Pakistan has been doing, through the Taliban, is to try and stir the Pashtun clan and tribal mix to create a kind of flux whereby their own nominees will usurp ascendancy from traditional Pashtun tribal leaders. That’s why maybe hundreds of Pashtun elders have been killed in the past few years. This, too, will backfire on Pakistan, rest assured. There will be a reckoning.
>>However if Pushtuns claim a different identity, separate from that of Afghans, claim a different land, separate from that of Afghanistan, then the Pakistani textbook lands in the dustbin.
That’s a possibility I suppose, but as far as India is concerned, I’m not sure that this is something that needs to be stated by anyone. Things might evolve in that direction, and there are pros and cons as far as we are concerned. We can optimise in any environment that might develop. The precondition for that, of course, is not to be seen to be over-involved in Afghan politics in the meantime. We should stick to improving the general welfare of the people, supporting the elected government, handing out aid without favour, etc... SOP for us.
>>….instead of gaining strategic depth, this will lead to a break up of Pakistan itself.
Perhaps it is better the other way around, the break up of Pakistan should create the conditions for the emergence of a Pashtun state. In the meantime, like that evil swine Zia used to say, let the pot keep simmering but it must not overflow. Karma, as they say, is a beaaaaatch.