Long back, when the erstwhile Soviet Russia invaded Afghanistan, the US was worried that Pakistan could be rolled over next and join hands with India. The US would then lose not only its base but the region also; having lost Iran and being inimical to India. In 1979, the Carter administration panicked. It offered a $400 million military and economic package, to beef up Pakistani defences. Zia-ul-Haq famously turned down the offer as ‘peanuts’. Later, the Reagan administration gave in. It parted with about $3 billion in economic assistance and $2 billion in military aid. It also gave $3 billion to Afghan jihadis. These funds were funnelled through the ‘sticky hands’ of the ISI. This tee-d off the signature Pakistani strategic behavior where ‘it negotiates with the world by holding the gun to its own head: Give me what I want, or I will blow my brains out. You then handle the mess’. A combination of nuclear Poker and Russian Roulette. It also learnt to divert funds to arm itself against India, build nuclear weapons and start its military business empire. The third trend line was to hunt with the hound and run with the hare through its Military Jihadi Complex ably created by the very funds given by a naive US to fight the jihadis. Zia invented the process and Pervez Musharraf fine-tuned it later. Now they distribute PhDs on this subject.
Through all these years their whisky drinking generals, their ranting mullahs and greedy befuddled politicians consistently blackmailed the world through imaginatively crafted and horrific doomsday scenarios. ‘We are also the victims of terror . If you do not help us, our nukes will fall into the hands of terrorists who will blow the world apart’. ’If you do not stop India from attacking us, we have no option but to use our nuclear weapons and cause a holocaust’. To India–‘if you attempt to destroy terrorist camps or attack us we will use nukes’. Periodically, they reminded us about their deadly capability through ghastly demonstrations. Bringing down the Twin Towers, an attack on the iconic Taj, the shoe bomber and more were just some public examples. Everyone succumbed to Pakistani blackmail with a gun to its head. Money and patronage kept flowing. As the flow increased so did the businesses of their Generals and the arsenal of their terrorists while emptying the coffers of the state. This process was interrupted only twice. Once when the USSR collapsed up to the time Twin Towers were brought down. Secondly, when their nuclear bluff was called after the cross LOC surgical strikes (2016) and Balakot air strikes (2019). The US finally stopped serenading Pakistan. President Trump along with FATF pulled the financial plug. Pakistan promptly rolled into the waiting embrace of the Chinese while going down the path of impoverishment. Ever since then only one item of Pakistani exports has gone up—Pakistani brides for ‘Horny Hans’.
With the new administration in place in the US, an article titled ‘Pakistan Could Make or Break America’s South Asia and China Strategies’ appears in National Interest… The US needs to pay more attention to how Pakistan has become virtually the sole strategic partner of China in Asia. Pakistan is not only serving China’s interests in South Asia but also enabling it to side step the US-India Pacific Strategy. US policy on Pakistan, created a vacuum happily filled in by China. The USA seriously needs to rethink its Pakistan policy. China’s greater involvement in Pakistan may advance US’ own interests as long as it also remains engaged. In sum, Washington’s Pakistan policy should reflect a South Asia strategy that balances US geopolitical competition with China, regional interests, and bilateral relations because all are interlinked. How does it sound?
Very simply, Pakistan is back with a gun to its head. It is clearly telling the US that unless you play my game I spoil your Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific and India-US strategies from China’s lap. Implicit in this is the hidden joker: The nuclear wild card; which will be released through its terror minions. Who are the terror minions? ISIS, which is the latest threat to radical Islam in Pakistan but operating in conjunction with the Afghan Taliban which has links with the TTP and is supposedly sponsored by India but actually listens to ISI. My My! The pious leaders of LeT and JeM are supposedly jailed, and Daniel Pearl›s killers are set free in this land of the pure! Pakistan is a victim of terror as much as Brutus was a nobleman in Mark Antony’s speech. Pakistan’s next demand–taking it off the FATF grey list and IMF compensation for its suffering! Other demands later.
What will Pakistan tell China? The US and India are bearing down on us. See the pressure we are under. You want to be a superpower and want an alternative to Malacca? Don’t you want access to the mineral wealth of Afghanistan? Don’t you want our silence on your atrocities on brother Muslims in Xinjian? Do you want Uyghur terrorism to commence? ‘All weather’ means all this. Enable us by giving more military ware. Convert our loans into aid. The Chinese will also have no option soon. They will also learn as the US did. What did General Mattis say? …something about… the most dangerous place on earth?… Hmm.
Of course to India the standard line will be …attack us and we will use the nuclear option. Oh yeah! We have heard it all. We heard their prime minister promising the world a nuclear holocaust during his crisp half a day waffle at the UN. Spare us you buffoons.
Should we buy into this? Of course not! What should we do? First, we should have a frank talk with the US. We should decide if we are strategic partners or not. It cannot be that for one purpose we are and for another we are not. The Indo Pacific includes Pakistan and China does it not? We must gently remind the US what its own commentators say. Seven decades back, the US became Pakistan’s benefactor and poured billions of dollars into its economy, military and intelligence services. It hoped for an ally—reliable, modern and democratic. The country it spurned was India. The irony is that India became what the US wanted Pakistan to be. Pakistan became what USA dreaded—a toxic, radical Islamist ‘militrocracy’ which sponsors terrorism with support from a repressive, revisionist communist autocracy. The ‘militrocacy’ developed nuclear fangs when the US winked willingly. Those nuclear fangs will bite the US if not defanged. I hope the US does not make poor choices once again. If it does it might as well shoot itself in the head rather than Pakistan shooting itself in the head.
If that is not to happen we should have an India-US strategy for this region respecting each other’s interests, capabilities and constraints. While there are many devious options available to upset the Pakistani apple cart, I will highlight only a few. At the outset, if Pakistan puts a gun to its head again, we must load it with bullets and press the trigger. If that is made clear, it will stop throwing tantrums. Next. The best Pakistan is one which keeps looking inwards. It will then stop meddling in Afghanistan, Iran and India. Also the better Pakistan is one which becomes China’s Afghanistan. How can that be achieved? Turn the screw on the joint Sino-Pak mega inter-test—CPEC. The CPEC is the vulnerable third front of Pakistan. It is an open wound which needs some salt to be rubbed into. The common man of Pakistan does not benefit from it. The local businessmen are being kept out by the Chinese. The infrastructure is of no use. The Baluchis, Sindhis, Baltis, Gilgitis are up against arms. There is all round corruption. Fertile ground for disruption. China cannot leave. Pakistan cannot swallow it. Focused action on CPEC will be very good. I am sure the US knows how to do the needful.
Complement this with targeting the military business empires and the riches of Pakistani Generals. An expose like the Panama papers is in order. With the developments in the Gulf, all properties of the Pakistani elite can be appropriately dealt with. Also their tawny flats, pizza joints and niche carpet and antique dealerships in the UK and the US are adequate collateral for good behaviour. Look I am only pointing a finger. Finer details can be worked out. Very soon the Pakistanis are going to get into their Narco business which flourished in the 1990s. As it is drugs are flowing into Punjab from Pakistan. Breaking this ring will go a long way. Durand line politics is a good antidote. We just have to kindle the embers.
No vaccines. No oil. No money. Pakistan realises where they are heading. That is why their COAS has started talking with an olive branch. Desperate times? We should not swallow the bait. Let them stew in their own juices. In one sense it will be good if Pakistan shoots itself in the head. It will contribute to cooling the environment, reversing climate change and would help by making others also look inwards.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read onwww.gunnersshot.com.
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INS Sardar Patel to conduct workshop on coastal security
Gujarat boasts of a long coastline of about 1,640 km which is one of the longest amongst the Indian states. Additionally, the state has 102 major notified landing points. Fishermen form the largest community of ‘seafarers’ outside the regular organised seafaring community and therefore they are rightly called the “eyes and ears” for coastal security.
Owing to sensitive geographical location of Gujarat and periodic inadvertent crossing of IMBL by fishermen, a need was felt to sensitise fishermen about the dos and don’ts while they are out fishing. Also, in order to bring synergy amongst all stakeholders and to provide a platform for fishermen to interact with security agencies and to give a boost to the coastal security of the state a Coastal Security Workshop (CSW) will be conducted by Indian Navy at INS Sardar Patel Porbandar on 9 March.
This programme will have participation of all major stakeholders of Coastal Security, viz. Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Police and Customs in addition to the local fisherman, the primary target audience of this programme.
The event will showcase various measures in force by all agencies in maintaining security in coastal region of Gujarat. It will be an interactive programme to discuss difficulties faced by local fisherman in collaborating with security agencies in disbursing/receiving the information in a timely manner.
RAJNATH SINGH RECEIVES RS 92.56 CRORE DIVIDEND FROM MAZAGON DOCK SHIPBUILDERS
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh received an interim dividend cheque of Rs 92.56 crore for Financial Year (FY) 2020-21 from Defence Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in New Delhi on Wednesday. Chairman & Managing Director (CMD), MDL, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad (Retd) handed over the cheque to the Defence Minister in the presence of Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar. With this, MDL has paid a total dividend of Rs 138.73 crore to the Government of India during FY 2020-21 including final dividend of Rs 46.17 crore for FY 2019-20. The company has declared interim dividend of Rs 109.11 crore @ 54.10 per cent of equity capital for FY 2020-21, Government share being 84.83 per cent. The CMD also briefed Rajnath Singh about the delivery of 3rd Scorpene submarine Karanj, due for commissioning on March 10, 2021 and commencement of sea trials of first ship Visakhapatnam of Project P-15B which is due for delivery later this year.
Rear Admiral Vatsayan assumes charge as Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of NDA
Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan has taken charge as Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of the National Defence Academy (NDA). The Admiral is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Pune (1986), Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, Naval War College, Mumbai and National Defence College, New Delhi. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 Jan 1988 and specialised in Gunnery and missile systems in 1994.
He has done his specialist tenures on frontline ships of the Indian Navy, including as the commissioning crew of Guided Missile Destroyer and INS Mysore. He has also served as the Executive Officer of INS Mysore.
His Command assignments include a Coast Guard IPV, Missile vessels INS Vibhuti and INS Nashak, missile corvette INS Kuthar and Guided Missile Frigate INS Sahyadri (commissioning crew).His important staff assignments include Joint Director of Personnel, Director of Personnel (Policy), Director Naval Plans (Perspective Planning), Principal Director Naval Plans and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Policy & Plans) at Integrated Headquarters Ministry of Defence and Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Vishakhapatnam, before assuming charge as Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor at the NDA.
INDIAN AIR FORCE CHIEF VISITS SRI LANKA
Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff, arrived at Colombo on Wednesday on an invitation from Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF). SLAF celebrated its 70th anniversary on 2 March and presentation of the President’s colours to two of its units on 5 March.
As part of his visit, the CAS attended the inaugural ceremony, during which a Flypast and Aerobatic Display is scheduled. The air show at Galle Face Colombo will see participation by an IAF contingent comprising of Suryakiran & Sarang Aerobatic Display Teams and Tejas LCA. The IAF contingent arrived in Colombo on 27 Feb 21. The flypast will be significant and reminiscent of the IAF’s Suryakiran Display Team performance at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of SLAF, two decades ago.
During the course of the two day visit, CAS is scheduled to interact with various dignitaries and the heads of Services of the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka. IAF and SLAF have had consistent cooperative exchanges over the years and interact regularly through Headquarter level Air Staff talks to share valuable experiences in the fields of ground and flying training, professional military education, HADR & operational best practices. Recent years have also seen the two Air Forces increase inter-personnel engagements through exchange visits of serving personnel and families to both countries.
The presence of the CAS during the inaugural day of the Air Show reinforces the strength of IAF-SLAF ties. The visit will further strengthen the existing cooperative process and open up newer avenues of mutual interest.
MULTIPLE MID-LEVEL CHANGES IN NAVY
Rear Admiral S. Venkat Raman takes charge of Goa’s Naval War College; Rear Admiral Sanjay Sharma assumes the charge of Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ship Repair Yard, Kochi; Rear Admiral B. Sivakumar takes over as Admiral Superintendent of Mumbai’s Naval Dockyard. Commodore M. Goverdhan Raju takes the charge of Naval Officer-In-Charge, Andhra Pradesh.
New Delhi: Rear Admiral S. Venkat Raman has assumed command of the prestigious Naval War College of the Indian Navy, at Goa. The Admiral took charge of the Navy’s Apex Training Institution from Rear Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh. The Naval War College conducts training for senior officers, including foreign participants, on defence planning, strategic and operational subjects, with a view to promote a culture of strategic and operational thinking.
Rear Admiral Venkat Raman is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy Khadakvasla. Commissioned on 1 January 1990, the Rear Admiral is a specialist in Communications and Electronic Warfare and has tenanted various appointments onboard frontline warships of the Indian Navy. His sea tenures include command of the stealth frigate Tabar. Prior to taking over command at Goa, the Rear Admiral was heading the Directorate of Naval Intelligence at Naval Headquarters.
He has completed several post graduate study programmes, including Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies in addition to a Masters in Management Studies from the College of Defence Management.
NAVAL SHIP REPAIR YARD KOCHI
Rear Admiral Sanjay Sharma took over as Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ship Repair Yard (Kochi) from Rear Admiral Deepak Bansal. Before assuming charge, Rear Admiral Sharma paid floral tributes at the memorial of ‘The Unknown Worker’.
Rear Admiral Sanjay Sharma was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 1st Aug 86. Prior to this appointment, the Flag Officer has held various important appointments at IHQ MoD(N), Advanced Technology Vessel Program and Headquarters Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam.The incumbent Rear Admiral Deepak Bansal, who spent fourteen months at the helm of NSRY(Koc), would assume charge as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air Materiel) at IHQ MoD (Navy).
NAVAL DOCKYARD, MUMBAI
Rear Admiral B Sivakumar, took over as Admiral Superintendent of Naval Dockyard, Mumbai from Rear Admiral Rajaram Swaminathan. Rear Admiral B Sivakumar was commissioned on 1st Jul 87 and is a Post Graduate from IIT, Chennai. He is also an alumnus of National Defence Academy, College of Defence Management and National Defence College.
In a career spanning more than thirty years, he has held various operational, staff and dockyard appointments including Commanding Officer, INS Valsura. On promotion to Flag rank, he was appointed as Additional Director General, Project Seabird and subsequently moved as Chief Staff Officer (Technical), Western Naval Command, prior taking over the present assignment.
NAVAL OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, ANDHRA PRADESH
Commodore M. Goverdhan Raju took over as Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) from Commodore Sanjiv Issar at an impressive ceremonial parade held in the Naval Base at Visakhapatnam. Cmde Raju is an alumnus of Sainik School, Korukonda and National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 1 July 1989 and is a specialist in Navigation and Direction.
He held a spectrum of highly challenging operational, staff and training appointments viz; the commissioning crew of INS Sagardhwani, specialist and executive officer appointments on frontline warships, Joint Director Staff Requirements at Naval Headquarters, Director (Training & Policy) at HQ Integrated Defence Staff, Principal Director (Training) at the premier training establishment, Indian Naval Academy (Ezhimala) and Director, Maritime Warfare Centre (Vizag). He has also carried out the duties of Fleet Operations Officer of Eastern Fleet during Dec 2014-May 2016, and he concurrently carried out the duties as the Chief Coordinator for Static Review, Operational Demonstration, Passage Exercise, etc, during the prestigious International Fleet Review-2016 and contributed to its grand success.
He is also a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Army War College, Mhow and National Defence College, Mirpur (Bangladesh).He has the distinction of commanding four Indian Navy ships viz; Torpedo Recovery Vessel-71, Ocean Going Minesweeper Ratnagiri, Dhanush OPV Suvarna and Destroyer Ranvijay, as well as two shore units; the premier training establishment INS Chilka with concurrent charge as Naval Officer-in-Charge (Odisha), and the Forward Operating Base INS Sardar Patel with concurrent charge as Naval Officer-in-Charge (Gujarat).He is a proud recipient of Nao Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) in 2014.
IAF PARTICIPATES IN 70TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS OF SRI LANKA AIR FORCE
The Indian Air Force aerobatic display teams, the fixed wing “Suryakirans’ and rotary wing ‘Sarang’, along with the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas arrived at Colombo, Sri Lanka last week on an invitation from Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF). The Suryakirans, Sarang and LCA Tejas will participate in an Air Show at Galle Face, Colombo, scheduled from 3rd to 5th Mar 21 as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of SLAF.
IAF & SLAF have seen active exchanges and interactions for a number of years in diverse fields like training, operational exchanges and through professional military education courses.
IAFs participation in the 70th anniversary celebration of SLAF is a further manifestation of the strong professional bonds that the two Air Forces share. The IAF Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) had earlier toured Sri Lanka in 2001 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of SLAF. As the IAF aircraft take to the skies of Colombo to mark the event, they will script another significant chapter in the traditionally strong IAF-SLAF ties.
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