sudeepj wrote:The loss of Aksai chin is a very different story than what happened in Alaska, but thats a digression. Alaska is much more hospitable territory as compared to Siachen. It has tremendous stores of timber, fishing, hunting and minerals. These resources were well known at the time the Czar sold the land to pay for his wars elsewhere. No such thing can be said about Siachen. If resources are a concern, let us do a survey there and figure out whats available for exploitation. Lastly, even if there is something there, it is not exploitable without peace.
sudeepj, I am well aware of the Alaska story and that of Aksai Chin too. When one talks of examples, it should not be micro analyzed unless one wants to argue for the sake of argument. I believe that you knew why I referred to them and yet decided to go tangentially off on irrelevant things. The larger point behind the comparison was on the notion of how wastelands need not be defended and how woefully short-sighted that fallacious thinking was. In any case, your sense of history on Alaska is inaccurate. The Tsar did not sell Alaska just to pursue war elsewhere. He sold it because he did not want to spend money defending the 'desolate' place of Alaska, the same process of thinking that moulds some of our approach that 'desolate peaks and crags' can be vacated even when the enemy is most determined to occupy them, irretrievably inimical towards us and has a proven history of occupying features we temporarily vacate along the border in good faith. There were many Americans who thought that buying a region where only polar-bears lived was foolish and worthless too. At the time, Alaska was sold off, nobody knew of its gold and oil potential. The Russians were unaware of even the overt riches it possessed. Let us not kid ourselves that we will be able to figure out through a survey today what is available in Siachen. We have not even surveyed the plains of India completely yet and we may not even have the technology to survey Siachen. Alaska's riches were found out only more than a century later. A time might come later for us too regarding Siachen but we need to possess that area till such a time. As for peace as a pre-condition for exploitation of riches, who doubted that ? But, peace is not going to come through appeasement. Appeasement only makes the appeased demand more of the same especially when they are the fanatical Islamist jihadis of Pakistan. If we consider appeasement as investment, then we have appeased enough with absolutely no return on investment to speak of. In fact, it has led only to a great worsening of the situation for us. India must resort to no more such useless exercise.
Ill have to disagree with you here. The definition of EEZ (not borders) was to preclude wars for underwater resources, which would result if technology to extract these resources was available, but rules were not. I dont understand how this agreement can be used to reach the conclusion that modern nation states are irredentist.
Of course, the Continental Shelf or the EEZ are not borders in the sense that land borders with enemy counties need to be protected because the sea is uninhabited. They are still patrolled. Yet, the extension seaward of a country's interests is to exploit the vast hidden resources. Irredentism refers to 'recovery of territory' from somebody else. In that sense, the subterfuge of UNCLOS is to enable powerful countries to claim large areas of the sea by a certain date so that less technologically endowed countries could not do so and the unclaimed areas become common area for mankind also susceptible for exploitation by the powerful later on. It is something like Heads-I-win-and-Tails-you-lose.
Also, Kargil happened because no one was watching. Siachen will be watched.
Kargil happened because India trusted that Pakistan will not surreptitiously occupy these salients and features during winter and hence no watching was needed thus proving for the *umpteenth*
time that Pakistan was untrustworthy. It even claimed that these areas were not well demarcated thus proving for the *umpteenth*
time that Pakistan was a liar and one which does not respect treaties signed by its own President. The story will be repeated at Siachen too. We retrieved Kargil at enormous cost to precious human lives. When war will eventually be thrust on us, the voice of those who now advocate withdrawal from Siachen citing human costs, will grow shriller demanding that there should be dialogue and not a war because their stand otherwise would be untenable and contradictory to their earlier stance. And Siachen will permanently fall into Pakistani hands and possibly even slip into Chinese possession. The Chinese could be breathing down us at Nubra and Shyok.
I really do not know how Siachen will be watched. Eye-in-the-sky can be deceived as we did in 1998. Unmanned sensors on the ground will be very quickly buried in mounds of snow making them worthless. For days together aerial surveillance can get delayed due to weather and even when they fly, they may fail to detect intrusion. These blind periods would be enough for PA to crawl into our land. It will then become impossible to dislodge them. At this point of time, only boots on the ground are our only real defence.
No, it is not.
It s a chicken and egg quesiton of what will happen first.. Pakistan giving up Islamism first, or peace facilitating a transition in Pakistan.
Pakistan always wanted to destroy us, even before it was formally
born as a nation. Our (or any civil) definition of 'peace' is at total variance with Pakistan's definition. I do not want to go into that now and here because there is a separate thread running for ages in the Strat Forum.
What large areas have been ceded other than Shaksgam valley, which is another impossible/indefensible place anyway?
Many are aware of the Chinese PLA soldiers, estimated at about 11000, having occupied portions of Balwaristan. On April 5, 2011, the Northern Area Commander of the Indian Army, Lt. Gen. K.T.Parnaik said that Chinese troops were now seen stationed along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. A few days later, American Intelligence agencies independently confirmed, through technical intelligence, the presence of PLA along the LoC in PoK. The presence of the PLA has spread from the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) area which they entered in c. 2009 to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) now (though technically GB is part of POK as well as far as India is concerned).
You put 'desolate peaks and crags' in scare quotes, as if my statement is an exaggeration or somehow misleading.
Am I to understand that you disagree?
After having seen a very, very close family member posted twice
in these very same 'desolate peaks and crags', I cannot disagree to its physical, geographical and topographical description. My frequent reference to these 'desolate peaks and crags' is conditioned by my allergy to the 'not-a-blade-of-grass-grows-there' line of reasoning which unfortunately this 'desolate peaks and crags' reminds me.
There is neither a prospect of a two front war, neither is the tri junction of any strategic importance.
Many think otherwise but you have a dfferent opinion. You are entitled to it.
Safety of Colaba is hardly impacted by a brigade sitting at Siachen.
It is similar to your Alaska argument. I did not say that the brigade at Siachen would stop terrorism in India. Please.
1. Stop cartographic aggression to be followed by physical occupation by the Pak Army, at a time when two major powers (and perhaps Britain) were ready to go with the Pak interpretation of the border.
2. Show political determination to guard all parts of Indian territory, by force if necessary. I.e. we would not shy away from fighting salami slicing operations by Pakistan. This at a time when the Indian economy was not doing great, while Pakistan's was, and they were the most allied ally of USA.
For (1), Today, the situation is reverse. All major powers, will gladly (except China) go with whatever agreement is reached between India and Pakistan about the AGPL. Saltoro is in our possession, and possession being 9/10s the law, any demarcation here will be more or less along our interpretation of the border.
For (2), Pakistan is internationally isolated while we are in G20 and powerful world bodies.. This will become even more so, as the NATO withdrawal takes place and the weapon of Nato supply lines vanishes. Our political determination is amply demonstrated via Kargil and Siachen operations, and the Narsimha Rao sponsored unanimous Loksabha resolution about Kashmir being a inviolable part of India.
IMHO, we have lost sight of these political goals, and instead (in Gen Hoons words) have invented the strategic significance of Siachen.
This was how we lost the rest of J&K. We had an Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharajah who was the sole person who could take the decision on behalf of his state. As an additional matter of caution, Nehru wanted the principal antagonist and the then popular people's leader, Sheikh Abdullah, to endorse the decision too. Even the not-so-friendly UN passed a resolution asking Pakistan to withdraw its troops and hand over POK to India to conduct a plebiscite after establishing a peaceful environment. I don't need to ask the question what happened since then.
This excessive and unnatural reliance on 'major powers' is our greatest undoing. Why should these so-called 'major powers' dispense justice in the disputes of other nations ? Why should we even expect that they will keep aside their interests and be neutral ? They after all practice realpolitik for their and only their benefit. We have been and continue to be a victim of their realpolitik for decades now. These are too obvious and too basic to be even debated any further.
Gentlemen, I hate to break it to you, but we have won the Kashmir war, and Pakistan has lost, and its time to start thinking about what the eventual peace with Pakistan will look like.
But, a little later you said, "Please remember, we are not in the position of having defeated them in war.. so cant exactly dictate terms."
. How do the two square up ?
Peace will be impossible, if any concessions to Pakistan are opposed with such vehemence. Please remember, we are not in the position of having defeated them in war.. so cant exactly dictate terms. Also, the last set of people who talked about ".. square inches of land" were not exactly paragons of virtue.
So, you accept that we have to 'concede'. At least, it was not said that Pakistan's claim on Siachen was legally right. Thank God for small mercies. BTW, who were these 'last set of people' and why are they not exactly 'paragons of virtue' ?
Lastly, its incorrect to cast Pakistan in the image of one monolithic Islamist horde. Its correct that the nation was born of quixotic notions, but within the Pakistani system, there are serious fault lines and a full spectrum of Islamism, from the coy, harmless Najam Sethi, Hasan Nisar version, to the full blown jihadi Zaid Hamid, Hamid Gul version.
Oh yes. You take any country or any situation, there will be some 'for' and some 'against'. How many such coy and harmless people you can count in Pakistan, what is their influence on decision making there and what is their perception of India ? The serious fault-lines do exist in Pakistan but for entirely different reasons such as sub-nationalism, water sharing, sectarianism etc. I hope that you did not mean, even inadvertently, that serious faultlines exist on account of some powerful and mass-based influential groups wanting overhaul of six decades of Pakistani approach to India and others opposing that.