Here is something that I have believed for a long time and have stated repeatedly. I still stand by it.
- Pakistan is anti-India - that includes military, jihadis and people
- The US and the Pakistan military are allies
- The US gives military aid and other aid predominantly weighted towards the Pakistan military in exchange for services
- provided by the Pakistan military
- The Pakistan military and jihadis are allies
- The US and the jihadis are not allies. Not because the US won't tolerate them, but because jihadis don't like the US
The Pakistani military recruits from the Paki people. The military brass cannot go totally against the sentiment of the people. The anti-India stance of the Paki people has to be channelled into visible action against India. The policies of supporting terrorist groups, harboring criminals and printing fake currency are all aimed at the goals of
1. Keeping pressure on India
2. Keep India "bleeding"
3. Hope that Kashmir/India will fall into their hands by some magic some day.
Why doesn't the Paki military attack India directly? They do. They tried that in 1965. They expected to be able to weather 1971 against India. They tried again in 1999. Each time the policy was costly for the army causing internal political turmoil in Pakistan. So terrorism is considered the safest bet.
Why is terrorism the safest bet? Because it is cheap, it hurts India and is deniable, but is seen by Pakistanis as "victorious Islamic jihadis hurting the kafirs of India"
Why should Pakistan deny terrorism? Why not openly admit that they are sending terrorists? Because that would be the same as the state declaring open war, and open war with India has proven to be costly to the army. So the terrorism is covert.
Is the Pakistan military not afraid that India will figure out this game plan and attack anyway? The Pakistani calculus in this regard has been stated quite openly. If India attacks and hurts Pakistan beyond an unstated red line, they will use nukes. But the Pakistan military has also stated that because of the threat of nukes, the international community will step in early and vigorously to stop the war long before the use of nukes becomes likely. Believe it or not, the Pakistani military have actually stated as much in several articles - which some of you may have read.
Is the Pakistani army right in believing that the "International community" has the power to apply pressure and stop India if push comes to shove? Aren't they playing a dangerous game where they are threatening to provoke a war that may turn nuclear? Well, this is what is called as "negotiating with a gun held to your own head
". As long as the US can be relied on the support the Pakistan army, I suspect that the Pakistan army can rely on the US to apply all sorts of pressures on India to lay off Pakistan?
is this an absolute certainty? Can the Pakistan army be absolutely certain that the US will get India to lay off? They are taking a risk, but they believe that as long as the US is dependent on Pakistan, the US will have no option other than to support the Pakistan army. In other words the Pakistani army is using the US for more than the US is getting from Pakistan.
For the first time in 60 years, 26/11, the Headley trial, Adm Mullen's accusation, the bin Laden raid and the NATO airstrike have made the Pakistani army worry that they cannot rely on the US to support them against India. The US too has openly said "India may retaliate if there is a repeat of Mumbai" (Whether India will do that is a different issue)
For these reasons the Pakistan military is actually "on the back foot" now.
The point I want to make is that the US is crucial to Pakistan's calculations. Pakistan has hinged its entire anti-India policy since 911 on the US. Prior to that the anti-India policy was based on "Freedom fighters of Kashmir" who were trained in the same camps as the Taliban. Pakistan was pretty much in control of Afghanistan from 1989 to 2001. Without US aid or the strategic depth afforded by Afghanistan, the Pakistan army will find war with India costly business. The US for its part was living on Cloud 9 from 1989 to 2001, patting itself on the back and saying "The end of all conflict. We are the world's only superpower
" And Pakistan was allowed to control the Taliban. Naturally, terrorism in Kashmir from 1990 to 2001 was no skin off the US's nose.
After 9-11, the Pakistan army lost Afghanistan, but regained US support. Until last year. The Pakistan army will now do things to regain support of its population and the support of the US, or alternatively it will want the US out and try to control Afghanistan again.
In my view the key thing at this time is to expose the Pakistan army and try and reduce US aid to the army and at the same time offer support to anyone who is against the Pakistan army. It is my suspicion that this is India's policy.