Saturday, March 9, 2019

Indo-Pakistan Escalation 2019 - What Next?


The recent escalation between India and Pakistan due to Indian incursion of Pakistan air space that finally resulted into shooting down of two Indian aircraft ad capturing of an Indian air force pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, de-escalation appears underway between India and Pakistan. The aftermath of Pulwama incident in Indian occupied Kashmir was a steep climb on the escalation ladder. Pakistan’s release of India’s pilot as a peace gesture was meant to scale down the war mongering from across the border. Concurrently, the global diplomacy for restraint and peace is also on going to restrain the two atomic wars from any further misadventure that may escalate into a full scale war with no end. This escalation round can be claimed as Win Win by both sides. On Pakistan side performance based and on Indian side make believe – Bollywood style!

Pakistan can feel gratified that it won the round and Indian aggression didn't intensify. Yet complacency can be counterproductive. In 1965 war, Pakistan claimed victory, went to sleep and awoke in 1971 war to lose East Pakistan. Indian perfidy and duplicity can be taken for granted, therefore watch word for Pakistan "Eternal vigilance on Eastern Frontier”_ against existential enemy India.

But that was for now. But what next? This opium of friendship with India must end. There is no doubt that there cannot be no peace ever between India and Pakistan unless the Kashmir issue is resolved for Kashmir is part of Pakistan, tacitly snatched away by India at the time of independence in 1947 with support of the leaving British. And this goes without saying that India will remain an enemy state unless it amicably resolves Kashmir issue.

Here are some guidelines for future ties with India and to remain vigilant for an misadventure from the war crying Indian prime minister and his militant BJP:
  • Policy -'Cold Peace’ is suggested, not friendship.
  • Kashmir - Pakistan should call for withdrawal of Indian military, security tyrannical forces from Kashmir. Need to globalize Kashmir freedom struggle.
  • Geopolitics - The world treated both India and Pakistan equally in this crisis. Pakistan geopolitical value compensates for India size advantage. A Prudent Pakistan geo-strategy of balancing ties with USA, China, Russia and Saudi GCC, Turkey, Iran and others has paid dividends. Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa deserves most credit for that.
  • Diplomacy - The government and FM Mr. Qureshi worked strenuously for Pakistan’s cause. Yet years of foreign policy neglect, Indian demonetization of Pakistan, and meek Pakistani diplomacy took its toll. No nation openly supported Pakistan in the coming war except Turkey. People of Pakistan had great expectations from China. Yet USA under President Trump helped diffuse. The Chinese may have supported quietly, but the Pakistani nation expects overt support. _Present global diplomacy is to defuse but if war breaks out who will support Pakistan?_ Pakistani diplomacy should build alliances which can prove supportive during crisis or war times.
  • War with India will be neither 1965, nor 1971 nor even War On Terror. It includes all facets, all spectrum. It could be sub conventional, conventional hyper intensity, nuclear total, economic, cyder, media, social media, diplomatic, and geopolitical. LOC Kashmir to global capitals the battles will be raged and waged.



As for Pakistan, we have come up with a resilience that neither India nor the world ever expected:
  • Nation in crisis- Pakistan emerged united, ready to fight a defensive war of national survival. India began to disunite as crisis deepened.
  • Pakistan strengths and war needs*
  • Pakistan Air Force is supreme but India will strike back. Already Modi was lamenting the absence of Raffle fighters in IAF. PAF deserves better planes and Pakistan needs long range SAMs like S-400, HQ-9 etc. Pakistani pilots’ pride of the nation proved their mettle. If the PAF achieves air superiority earlier on then Cold Start or any other Indian land or sea offensive is doomed.
  • The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan played a silent but pivotal role in Pakistan defense. It is indeed Pakistan’s Great Equalizer. 
  • Conventional Balance- Pakistan military balance deters India. India is absorbing Raffle fighters, S 400 missiles, Apache Attack helicopters and other high tech equipment for the next round. Pakistan must not allow conventional military balance to tilt. Since China opted not to threaten India. It should help arm Pakistan to the teeth with latest hyper tech. Pakistan should demand that from China. Conventional military balance will also delay the penchant for first use and obviate a nuclear holocaust. 
  • Geo-economics and Geo-strategy: My first book Gwadar on the global chessboard is on geo-economics which is the buzz word but second book Geopolitic Pakistan is on geostationary. Balance of development and defense needs to be maintained, since India remains eternal enemy. 
  • Nuclear and Missile Deterrence: Pakistan nuclear deterrence both tactical and strategic is the ultimate retribution. Pakistan’s full spectrum nuclear response is inclusive of tactical usage, counterforce and counter value strikes. Conventionally armed missiles come earlier on the lower rung of escalation ladder, as the great vulnerability of Indian cities has been exposed. The specter of even a few conventional missile strikes on a dozen Indian cities would drive away all investments and bring the Indian economy tumbling down many fold. 
  • Media, Social Media and Cyber war: The DG ISPR performance was exceptionally good. Pakistani media nationalistic yet balanced and Pakistan’s social media came of age. Indian media stood discredited. In peace time and in war media in all forms is the key to victory besides the success of armed forces.
  • Civil Defense and Preparation for War: While Pakistan India armed forces clashed and were alert, there was scant preparation for civil defense on both sides. Pakistan political elite instead of talking friendship with India should prepare the nation for a high intensity, extremely lethal war which will result in tremendous civilian casualties. The military being prepared is not enough since the entire nation will be at war and facing the brunt.
Following are my concluding remarks:
  • Besides supporting Kashmir Pakistan should also support the Concept of Khalistan as a neutral buffer state between India and Pakistan. This is the geopolitical requirement of peace and will be elaborated in a subsequent article.
  • And while preaching peace, deterring war Pakistan should also prepare the nation in case Indians cross the Rubicon next time
  • Mere teaching peace may not bring peace but preparing the whole nation for war may bring peace.
Author: Brigadier Nadir Mir (R)Chairman (Pakistan National Reform Movement (PNRM), soldier, scholar, reformer. Author of books: Gwadar on the Global Chessboard, Geopolitik Pakistan
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