KV Rao wrote: in fact it may be a very clever and subtle thing to do. But when we do that, we completely ignore the overall strategic and ideological equation and the part that projection of strength and inflexibility play in it.
Strength and inflexibility on core issues are long term strategies, not to be confused with short term tactics.
If you go back to what India has faced (physically) from Pakistan you find three broad categories of actions
1) Conventional war - (1947, 1965, 1971) - border troop strength was vital for these
2) Infiltration/terrorism in Kashmir/Kargil - here again it was the border troop strength that has been important
3) terrorism in other parts of India: For this border troop strength has not made a whit of a difference.
Pakistan's actions have been aimed at
1) trying to take Kashmir
2) trying to create a communal rift between Hindus and Muslims so that Hindus start killing Muslims, proving that the Pakistan idea is correct and that more parts of India should break off and become Pakistans
None of these have had much effect on India's "core principles".
One big complaint after Parakram was that India takes too long to mobilise, while Pakistan has its troops just across the border.
Now what if (by some magic) Pakistan had its troops fighting a battle far away from the Indian border? If this happens Pakistan's much vaunted "advantage" of having ready to fight troops at the border would be diluted.
Reports in the last year or so have indicated that Pakistan has actually had to move out some troops from the border with India, but they still retain significant forces there. Now supposing Pakistan was somehow compelled to move troops far away from the India border leaving them "weak - so to speak, How would that impact on India?
1) It would be great if India decided to attack and take over parts of Pakistan.
2) If India decided "We are not going to attack Pakistan" what would be the advantage of keeping Indian troops at the border in a situation of overwhelming advantage facing Pakistan?
India has been giving subtle signals for the past 6 months that I believe we must note. The Air Chief says "Pakistan is not the problem, China is". There is a flurry of activity building infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh. Top notch air assets are moved to the North East.
These actions could mean one of two things
a) An increased threat from China
b) A decreased threat from Pakistan
Every BRF member is welcome to have his own interpretation of this, but if I combine the statements of the Air Chief and the government (regarding troop pullout) I think that there may be a definite reduction of Pakistani army assets across the border with India, and it may be prudent to "encourage" them to move away even more assets by appropriate adjustments.
An "inflexible posture" where we maintain enough troops to attack Pakistan at the border even as Pakistan pulls away it own troops to fight a civil war is a good posture if we are actually going to attack. I am certain that we have no intention of attacking Pakistan at this stage. If that is true, what is the purpose of overwhelming Indian troop strength at the Pakistan border (assuming that Pakistanis are pulling troops away and will pull away more - all to be backed up by credible intel inputs).
I believe that Pakistan must be allowed to fight its civil war without giving any of the protagonists of that war an excuse to unite using "India" as a threat. They must kill and hate each other more, and be even more angry with India for being "cowardly" and not responding to their bait. They desperately need the India threat to unite and create the "spirit of 1965". Why hand it to them by a dogged appearance of belligerence especially if we have no intention of attacking?