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Suspicions, Indo-Pak relations

Afshain Afzal

Amid forthcoming visit of United States President, Barack Hussain Obama’s visit to India, the Indian Army Chief General V.K. Singh has expressed his concern our the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. He said, “Probably Pakistan also has and they are taking extra measures….” He said that this would remain a concern … the way internal dynamics are.” However, he balanced his statement when he said, “I don’t think, there is any reason to say things are not secure. Things are secure.” The Indian Army Chief further added that that both Pakistan and China are nuclear armed countries “who uses (nuclear weapons), we don’t know. As armed forces, we should always keep this in mind that there is somebody who can use it.” He pointed out that Pakistan had done “sabre-rattling” on behalf of nuclear weapons and “we, as a force, are prepared to fight anytime.” One really wonders how the prominent newspapers in Pakistan are able to interpret that India has given a certificate in favour of Pakistan that its nuclear weapons are safe.

The statement of Indian Army Chief has been rightly termed as “jingoistic,” because New Delhi is well aware of the fact that Pakistani nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. However, in case India tries to impose war or try to attempt any surgical strikes challenging the sovereignty of Pakistan, limited nuclear attack would be an ultimate answer. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are for the balance of power and the facts remains that till the time these weapons are with Pakistan Army, India would never dare committing a mistake of any misadventure. It is a fact that General V. K Singh is one of the most capable, honest and officer of high caliber India Army has so far produced and such statement were not expected from him. His statement that Pakistan and China are major irritants and India was ready to fight a conventional warfare in a nuclear scenario was uncalled for. His clarification that “I only said what the whole world is saying” was also not expected from an officer of such a caliber. India must use its own mind before reaching any conclusion. One wonders if he commits a mistake of listening to half cooked self-engineered intelligence inputs furnished by the intelligence agencies of United States especially, Defence Intelligence Agency and CIA, the results would be horrifying. India has complaints about Pakistan that it has India-centric posturing.

However, New Delhi should not forget that the responsibility of failure of talks between Indian and Pakistan, in most of the cases, is due to stubborn, non-flexible and high headed attitude of Indian leaders. If we examine the latest statement of Indian Defence Minister A K Antony, during the Inauguration ceremony of the five-day Army Commanders Conference, he said that though India was not unduly concerned (about Pakistan), its Armed Forces would have to keep “a constant vigil” on the developments in Pakistan. It is interesting to note that the Indian minister in his statement confessed that Jammu and Kashmir had shown signs of abating but he did not give any credit to Pakistan, maintaining that it was the result of constant vigil by the Indian Army. He said, “The Army has been quite successful in countering the proxy war and in minimizing the incidents of terror. Still, as long as the terror infrastructure across the border continues to flourish, we cannot afford to drop our guard.” One wonders after giving such irresponsible statements by Indian top leaders, New Delhi still feels that Pakistan has India-centric posturing.

The anti-East nations, especially United States, Britain and Israel are bent upon weakening and destroying institutions in both India and Pakistan. In a recent development, in the name of Defence and Intelligence collaboration, United States has successfully strike on the back bone of Indian defence system and procedures. The recent changes introduced by Indian Defence Ministry in the Defence Procurement Procedure to increase private participation are a matter of concern. In the name of public-private partnership, those who have been offered kickbacks have made major changes in defence procurement procedures. Shield of research and development is being used to bribe foreign and fake offshore firms to legalize invisible spending on research. India is unfortunate that due to high level corruption in almost all ministries, especially in Ministry of Defence, every other day there is a new scandal on front pages of Indian media.

By the new changes in Defence Procurement Procedure, the crimes and corruption would be legalized to a great extent. These developments might not be anything new for the Indian public as what can be expected from those who even got kickback on the purchase of caskets meant for Indian soldiers killed during Kargil operation?

It is true that Pakistan and India are not going to enjoy any comfortable relation unless the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, Runn of Kutch, Siachen and other minor issue are resolved. Despite everything that happened to be undesirable, both the countries have better prospects to be friends in the future than the western adversaries. New Delhi and Indian Army must also realize that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is a “Black Act” which must go. The statement of Indian Army Chief that the Act is being used as a “beating stick” by the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir is probably not his own words otherwise every Indian is well aware that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed area. Had it been part of India, Indian constitution would have been pronounced by now. Since mid fifties, India is claiming the Jammu and Kashmir has become its part, projecting that democratic representatives have given their verdict. One wonders India is in fact deceiving itself and its people, otherwise the voices of majority Kashmiris in Indian held Kashmir are audible even today that they want freedom from India and join Pakistan. It is in the interest of both the countries that instead of looking for a third party to resolve their difference they should sit down and hold unending talks till the time all issues are resolved. To achieve this objective, both countries should come out of their preconceived suspicions and mistrust about each other and look for long term goals and benefits in the resolution of pending issues.

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