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.
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
EASTERN FLEET SHIPS ON OVERSEAS OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT
In pursuit of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and to enhance military cooperation with friendly countries, a Task Force of Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet is scheduled to proceed on an Overseas Deployment to South East Asia, the South China Sea and Western Pacific from early Aug 2021 for over two months. The deployment of the Indian Navy ships seeks to underscore the operational reach, peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and countries of the Indo Pacific.
The Indian Naval task group comprises Guided Missile Destroyer Ranvijay, Guided Missile Frigate Shivalik, Anti-Submarine Corvette Kadmatt and Guided Missile Corvette Kora. The latter three ships are indigenously designed and are equipped with a versatile array of weapons and sensors, and are Made in India by Defence Shipyards.During the deployment in the Indo Pacific, the ships are scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises with Vietnamese Peoples’ Navy, Republic of Philippines Navy, Republic of Singapore Navy (SIMBEX), Indonesian Navy (Samudra Shakti) and Royal Australian Navy (AUS-INDEX). Further, they would also participate in multilateral exercise MALABAR-21 alongside the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy in Western Pacific.
The Indian Navy undertakes regular deployments to friendly foreign countries and Indian and the Pacific Ocean regions in furtherance of the Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region – SAGAR’. Further, such engagements build ‘Bridges of Friendship’ and strengthen international cooperation. These maritime initiatives enhance synergy and coordination between the Indian Navy and friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and commitment towards Freedom of Navigation at sea. Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies, to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations.
BORDER ROADS ORGANISATION CONSTRUCTS HIGHEST MOTORABLE ROAD IN THE WORLD IN EASTERN LADAKH
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and black-topped the highest motorable road in the world at 19,300 ft at Umlingla Pass in Eastern Ladakh, creating a record in high-altitude road construction. It has constructed a 52-km long tarmac road through Umlingla Pass, bettering the previous record of a road in Bolivia connecting to its volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 ft.The road now connects the important towns in Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh. It will prove to be a boon to the local population as it offers an alternate direct route connecting Chisumle and Demchok from Leh. It will enhance the socio-economic condition and promote tourism in Ladakh.
Infrastructure development in such harsh and tough terrain is extremely challenging. During the winter, the temperature dips to -40 degrees and the oxygen level at this altitude is almost 50 percent less than at normal places. The BRO has achieved the feat due to the grit and resilience of its personnel who work in treacherous terrain and extreme weather conditions.The road has been constructed at an altitude higher than the Mt Everest Base Camps as the South Base Camp in Nepal is at an altitude of 17,598 ft, while North Base Camp in Tibet is at 16,900 ft. The road has been constructed much above the altitude of Siachen Glacier which is at 17,700 ft. The Khardung La Pass in Leh is at an altitude of 17,582 ft.
INS TABAR ENTERS PORT STOCKHOLM
INS Tabar, as part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment, entered Port Stockholm last week. This is the first visit of an Indian Navy Ship to Stockholm in nearly two decades. The ship was received by Brig Gen Peder Ohlsson, Deputy Chief of Royal Swedish Navy and Group Captain Pankaj Mittal, Indian Defence Attache (DA) at Sweden. Subsequently, Deputy Chief of Royal Swedish Navy visited the ship and was presented a Guard of Honour onboard. During the walk around, he was explained about the key functionalities of the ship. While extending a warm welcome, he conveyed that Tabar visit to Stockholm would only consolidate the long standing ties between the Indian Navy and the Royal Swedish Navy. Captain Mahesh Mangipudi, the Commanding Officer (CO) presented him with the ship’s crest on completion of the visit.
The Commanding Officer, INS Tabar accompanied by DA, called on Mr Tanmaya Lal, the Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia at the Indian Embassy in Stockholm. The CO briefed the Ambassador on the ship’s current deployment and presented him the ship’s crest. The Indian Ambassador during his visit to the ship on 31 Jul 21, conveyed his appreciation for the role played by the Indian Navy in safeguarding the maritime interests of the country, diplomacy through Port Visits and in undertaking HADR tasks as and when needed. The CO also called on the Commandant of Stockholm, Col Thomas Karlsson at the Royal Palace. He was accorded a ceremonial welcome with a Guard of Honour by the Royal Guard. The Commandant and the CO held discussions regarding the current deployment and other issues of mutual interest. A reception for limited guests, adhering to all COVID protocols; was hosted by INS Tabar. Maj Gen Jonas Wikman, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations of the Swedish Armed Forces was the Chief Guest. He was appreciative about the Indian Navy Ship visit to Stockholm and added that the two Navies have considerable potential to partner in combating common maritime concerns.
SEA TRIALS OF INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT CARRIER ‘VIKRANT’ BEGIN
The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1,700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’ designed by Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design(DND) is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited(CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under Ministry of Shipping(MoS). IAC is a leading example of the nation’s quest for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ with more than 76% indigenous content. This is the maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part and height of 59 m including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure. The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers. The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, ‘Vikrant’ has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate an assortment of fixed wing and rotary aircraft.
Most of the ship construction activities have been completed and the ship has entered the trials phase. Readiness of ship’s Propulsion and Power Generation equipment/ systems was tested in harbour as part of Basin Trials in Nov 20. Progress of construction of the Carrier was reviewed by Raksha Mantri during his visit to the ship on 25 Jun 21. Though the commencement of Sea Trials was delayed due to the 2nd wave of COVID, with concentrated and dedicated efforts of large number of workmen, OEMs, engineers, overseers, inspectors, designers and the ship’s crew, who had put their heart and soul towards the ship’s readiness for sea trials. This is a major milestone activity and historical event. Reaching this milestone is significant as they have been achieved barring the current pandemic challenges and imponderables. During the maiden sailing, ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, PGD and auxiliary equipment would be closely watched.
With the delivery of IAC, India would join a select group of nations with the capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier, which will be a real testimony to the ‘Make in India’ thrust of the Indian Government.The Indigenous construction of Aircraft Carrier is a shining example in the Nation’s quest for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India Initiative’. This has led to growth in indigenous design and construction capabilities besides development of large number of ancillary industries, with employment opportunities for 2000 CSL personnel and about 12000 employees in ancillary industries. Over 76% indigenous content towards procurement of equipment, besides work by CSL and their subcontractors is being directly invested back into the Indian economy. Around 550 Indian firms including about 100 MSMEs are registered with CSL, who are providing various services for construction of IAC.Indian Navy’s ship building programme is rightly poised to provide requisite ‘Economic Stimulus’, with 44 ships & submarines on order being built indigenously.
AIR MARSHAL SURAJ KUMAR JHA ASSUMES CHARGE AS AIR OFFICER IN CHARGE PERSONNEL
Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha has assumed the appointment of Air Officer in Charge Personnel at Air HQ. The Air Marshal was commissioned in the Fighter stream of IAF on 08 June 1984. In a career spanning 37 years, the Air Officer has flown over 2900 hours, including operational flying on a wide variety of fighter aircraft in the inventory of IAF.
During his career, the Air Officer has held numerous important appointments. He was the Commanding Officer of a front-line fighter squadron and has also commanded a premier fighter base. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the coveted appointments of Air Officer Commanding Advance Headquarters, Commandant of College of Air Warfare, Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff at Head Quarter IDS and Joint Secretary (Air) at the newly established Department of Military Affairs under Ministry of Defence. As an Air Marshal prior to taking over the present appointment, he was Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ. The Air Marshal is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College Wellington. In recognition of his service, the Air Marshal was awarded Mention-in-Despatches in 1999 for Kargil Ops and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2021.
INS KHANJAR MAKES MAIDEN VISIT TO GOPALPUR PORT
Indian Naval Ship Khanjar becomes the first Indian Navy ship to call at the heritage coastal port of Gopalpur in Odisha. The two-day visit which concluded on Monday was organised as part of Aazadi ka Amrit Mahotsav as well as Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Independence and the 50th anniversary of the 1971 War. The maiden visit of the Naval Ship was aimed at enhancing ties and spreading awareness with the local populace on aspects of coastal security and maritime operations.
During the visit, ship’s officers interacted with Port Officials and discussed aspects related to berthing facilities for OTR of Naval ships and security overview of port infrastructure. The ship’s team also undertook a cleanup drive at Gopalpur beach and tree plantation in the port premises. In addition, books and dry provisions were distributed to Samarth Orthopedically Handicapped Welfare Association, at Chatrapur in Ganjam district.
Opinion10 months ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports1 year ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News1 year ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking12 months ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News1 year ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports1 year ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Legally Speaking1 year ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Royally Speaking11 months ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur