Just putting down a few thoughts that have been going through my mind for some weeks. I have mentioned them in passing on other threads.
If India has any sympathy for the Baluch people and wants to have better relations with them, we need to do that via land or sea. The sea route has serious disadvantages. Ideally the land route to Baluchistan would be usable.
If India wants to develop and renew its relations with the Pashtun people of former Northwest India and Afghanistan, we have no sea route. Only a land route exists, but unusable by India.
If India wants to have healthy trade relations with Afghanistan and renew its connection with the Afghan people our only choice is a land route.
If India wants to have relations with more distant lands like Iran and the central Asian states, a land route would only add to the value of the regional economy
In every case the single common barrier to achieving perfectly peaceful and honorable goals is the Pakistani province of Punjab, a.k.a "Pakjab".
Now a few notes about Pakjab
- Pakjab (Pakistani Punjab) has the largest population in Pakistan
- Pakjab is the wealthiest province of "Pakistan"
- Hatred of India is highest in Pakjab (and among mohajirs)
- The people of Pakjab are dominant in the Pakistani army
- The Punjabi dominated Pakistani army dominates Pakistan's domestic politics and foreign relations
- Due to the dominance of Pakjabis in the army officer cadre, relations with the US are best among this class
- The Pakjabi dominated army has been responsible for the murder of Shias in Gilgit, East Pakistanis, Baluchis and Pashtuns
- Pakjab has benefited most from US aid.
The Paki army and Pakjabis know very well that they sit between India and Afghanistan, India and Iran, India and Baluchistan and between the US and Afghanistan. This is exactly what they intend to leverage. They also openly threaten to turn a war nuclear if Pakjab is attacked. This may be a bluff, but few people (India or USA) will want to call that bluff unless push comes to shove.
Pakjab has one weakness - it is one of the most highly radicalized with Wahhabandi radicals. Also, loss of US aid will specifically hurt Pakjabi officer cadre the most
Ideally, I would like to see Pakjab specifically isolated. I repeat once again that getting the US to stop aiding the Paki army will go a long way towards staring the salwars shivering in Pakjab. But in the long term, Pakjabis must be made to find it advantageous to deal with India and allow India access to Baluchistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Kashmir and terror in India are too high a price to pay - easier to punish Pakjab that is just next door to us within Smerch/Prahaar range. But if they kowtow to Indian demands we will have to look at what we can allow them in exchange fro free access to Baluchistan. Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. Prosperity of Pakjabis may be a "given" in thsi scenario, but that price may have to paid in exchange for no terror, no Kashmir and free access to all the outlying provinces. The punishment should be that Pakjab loses out all chance of prosperity if Indian overland links with Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Iran and central Asia are severed. They get paid only for protecting the route.
If Pakjab fails to join such a scheme and decides to continue terrorism, then the province must be made to feel pain. Will look at this in more detail in a future post.