Understanding the War
By Dr Ajay
Kargil intrusion has raised an array of fundamental questions about the functioning of
our intelligence set up, strategic thinking to political decision making.
Terms of reference of the Committee declared by the Prime Minister to go into
the various aspects of Kargil intrusion are broad enough to answer these
questions. Only if the committee applies itself with integrity and the political
leadership plays just a facilitator’s role. However the process of such an
introspection may still fall short of the desired objectives of making nation
wiser to evolve a comprehensive response to the Pak mechinations. The reason is
the reluctance which the Indian nation state has been showing in qualifying the
‘war form’ Pakistan has unleashed. The nation has to come to terms with this
‘war form’ if the aftermath of Kargil intrusion, which marked the upgradation of
Pakistani agression at all levels, is to be handled properly.
WAR FORM AND
DEFECTIVE STRATEGIC PARADIGM
The commonly used terminogologies for the Pakistani aggression of
various forms during last
decade have been ‘Proxy-war’ and ‘undeclard war’. Prox-war term, which is
more commonly used, squarely fails to qualify the nature of this war because
it creates a misleading impression about the instrumentalities
used in this war. The human factor involved through such a qualification,
becomes an element devoid of any will, conviction as well as independence of
action. Focus remains primarily on the external element.
war’ terminology is also grossly inadequate, but does at
least qualify one
attribute of the ‘war form’ which is that the initiator of
maintains a leverage of deniability and never formally owns the
responsibility for the aggression.
nomenclatures are the product of the extant strategic paradigm of a low-intensity
conflict which is neither able to perceive the gradual upgradation of
the aggression at various levels from within nor visualise and pre-empt the
quantum leap in the conflict from without. These commonly used
qualifications of Pakistani war also do not encompass the various components of the
aggression as well as its objectives long term or short term.
In the aftermath
of Kargil intrusion the experts on strategic concerns
to be getting conscious of the limitations of the existing paradigm on
security issues. They have infact become highly critical of it.
‘A Kashmir policy
must be invented supported by an operational doctrine that will persuade Pakistan
to respect the ‘sanctity of LoC’, comments major Gen. Ashok Mehta a
military expert of repute. Another analyst on strategic affairs Raja
Menon reflects similar concerns while trying to explain reasons for Kargil
intrusion. “A range of faulty signals from India created not so much by bad
nuclear strategy but absence of any strategy conventional or nuclear”.
THE WAR FORM
The deputy director of Institute of Defense studies and Analyses
C. Uday Bhaskar, one of
the best known defense experts, describes the complexity of the war by
Pakistan in Kashmir as, “Kashmir symbolises a large range of issues including
terrorism, low-intensity coflict, concept of Jehad, Islamic terror
and also the patterns of ISI’s destablising designs in different parts
of our country.”
even though a little overlapping in its content, takes into account the
broadest spectrum of attributes of the Paki-war. More
Pakistani aggression against our nation for last two
constitutes three forms of assaults-subversive, demographic and territorial. The
distinguished political scientist from Kashmir, Prof. MK Teng hits the
core of the issue when he describes the undeclared war as the -‘War of
The aftermath of
Kargil intrusion provides the defense and strategic
analysts of our
country a very conducive national environment to go into various aspects
of the failure which led to the intrusion in Kargil. It also provides a very excellant and crucial opportunity to understand the nature of the war being
waged by Pakistan in its totality.
constituted the interplay of all the three forms of
assaults-subversive, demographic and territorial. Before the intrusion we
have seen the
interplay and impact of only the subversive and demographic assaults. Inspite
of the much drummed up Shia-Sunni divide a very significant part
of the logistics for the Kargil intrusion was provided by the subversives
within. Kargil crisis had also a very significant implication of
rendering the security and manitainance of Kargil town untenable
creating the potential for a severe demographic pressure on the Buddhist majority
Leh. The territorial implications of the intrusion have been thoroughly
debated and the dangers to entire Ladakh region highlighted.
of the military operations in Kargil have been summed up by another expert on
strategic analyses Sh Sreedhar, “for the first time in post independence
India, the armed forces are fighting two types of armies of Pakistan. It
is becoming clear that Pakistan’s regular army from Northern Light Infantry
Divisiion is in action. At another level the Indian army is also fighting a
regular-irregular army raised by Pakistan during the last two decades.”
The war by Pakistan as
already discussed comprises of three main components - subversive,
demographic and territorial. However, the subversive component constitutes core
of the entire ‘war form’.
objective:- Basic objective of this war form is purely
is an ideological state with a proclaimed
with Indian nation state. This incompatibility is not
Kashmir specific as commonly believed. Kashmir is only
an alibi for
Muslim power towards east taking the entire Himayalan barrier into its fold to
ultimately overwhelm India.
The Comments of
one of the leading authorities on contemporary Islam John Laffin should
make our strategic analysts stand up and ponder, while they formulate
approaches to deal with the Pakistani aggression. Laffin says, “The Sunni Muslim
code of civil legislation according to Hanfi School of Islamic Law
expresses the matter clearly. The Jehad is the normal and permanent state
of war between the Muslims and the people of Dar-al-Harb, the code points
out. It can end only with domination over the unbelievers and the absolute
supremacy of Islam throughout the world. All war like acts are permitted on
the territory of the infidels ... As it is not feasible to fight against all
the infidel people simultaneously, Jehad allows for the eventuality of a
provisional suspension of hostilities. Such unavoidable truces constitute
another form of holy war for they serve to reinforce the military
potential of Darul-Islam.”
objectives:- This war of subversion, conditioned by its
basic objectives, has
interim objectives. The major flaw in our national discourse on security
issues is that it continues to be territory centric. For an unconventional
war we have been applying a conventional approach. This paradigm has lead
to our failure to appreciate the non-territorial objectives of
Pakistani aggresson in general and Kargil intrusion in particular.
thinkers within this country and outside have regarded Kargil
intrusion as a
high quality military operation of ‘ingenuity’. Tony Clifton
who had reported
1971 war between India and Pakistan on both sides comments, “Ironically it
has really been a brilliant operation on the part of the Pakistanis, but
they can never say so, that is horribly for their morale.”
experts have also openly complimented this operation from the point of view
of military standards. Ironically there is a simplistic generalisation
being offered in this country that the Pakistani think tank behind Kargil
Operation was surprised by the high intensity response from India.
We are spending two crores a day for defending a very remote area of Ladakh - the
Siachin Glacier, and even had successfully repelled more than a dozen bids to
capture it in the year preceeding Lahore diplomacy. Yet we tend to believe
that on the other side people were stupid enough not to judge our
reaction even when the entire Srinagar-Leh axis was being jeopardised.
time our strategic analysts accord due respectability to such
Kargil intrusion which have been articulated but only in a
way that they
appear to be incidental to the main objective of endangering the entire Ladakh
region. These objectives are essentially non-territorial from the short
example through the operation in Kargil, besides inflicting a heavy
cost on India
Pakistan has also probed various strategic thresholds.
Kargil intrusion has lowered the threshold for international
at the same time raised the threshold of Indian
reponse. But more importantly the intrusion has aimed to create a favourable
environment for Dilution of Indian Sovereignty in Jammu and Kashmir.
prelude to Kargil intrusion Pakistan’s support to district-wise
Jammu and Kashmir state and almost simultaneous floating of proposals for
reorganising the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir on communal lines with Indian
control only on three subjects of defence, communication and foreign
affairs, are perhaps not incidental happenings. During as well as after the
Kargil operation we are witnessing the veering round of the so called
moderate liberal opinion both in Pakistan and India around various variants of the
Dixon-Plan advocated vigorously by US think tanks on Kashmir.
analyst Ayaz Amir’s remarks in Dawn provide a critical insight
which is worth
consideration. He while making a critical apprisal of
operation says, “to put the most charitable construction on what is going on in
Kargil sector, if this was the opening move in a bid to liberate Kashmir by force, something could be said in its
defence. It would be seen as part
of a larger scheme of things even if this larger scheme was decried as
foolish or foolhardy. But unless there are higher secrets yet to be revealed, the
fighting in Kargil appear to stand all by itself... A war or even fighting
of a limited kind as we are seeing in theKargil and Drass sectors, must
have a political objective if the expenditure of blood and resources is to
be justified. What is the political objective of the present fighting?
be the conqest or liberation of Kashmir because we lack the
that. It cannot be the desire to internationalise the Kashmir problem because
it is a quixotic venture to risk a war for so paltry aim.”
security paradigm in India has to assimilate the fact that most
objective of ‘war of subversion’ in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan
is the Dilution of Indian Sovereignty over the state. Also what we are witnessing in
the entire state is not a territorial surgery but
dissolution. Relentless Demographic assault has considerably
Indian social base in the state. This loss of demographic
leverage is aimed
to facilitate the process of territorial dissolution to
where the front either will not exist or there will be
Control:- ‘War of Subversion’ through its subversive process has created,
sustained and perpetuated a reference frame work in our country which is crucial
for its continuance and attainment of objectives. The contradictions
between various nation building approaches in India are being used as the
operating space . Military experts in India now admit that even without
territorial gains Pakistani operations have attained a ‘strategic depth.’
With the upgradation of various components of Pakistani aggression,
assault has assumed a critical dimension which if not controlled can be
catastrophic. Upgradation in subversion has further brought about a qualitative
deterioration in the existing reference framework of Indian responses. For
example before 1989 and forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, secular approach
of various political regimes in valley was judged not by the secular
content of their politics but by their approach towards accession with
India. After 1989, the demographic composition of the exodus became the hall
mark of the state of secular affairs. In recent times the pressures of
subversion have pushed the secular paradigm to ridiculous clichés. Symbolic
return of Pandits gave away to the tourism returning to valley as the
basic parameter of the status of secularism in the valley.
of ‘alienation’ have helped in the dangerous internalisation of
Everything that happens gets attributed to the failures of the
creating more alienation.
implication of the subversive processes is their success in forcing a process
of self-disinformation upon the Indian state. Kargil
a fallout of returning tourism and normalcy in the valley. And
intensification of violence in the valley becomes a fallout of Kargil intrusion.
Massacres in Jammu
become a result of desperation of terrorists in the valley and
the massacres in valley an outcome of their desperation in Jammu.
Nation appears to have entered a vicious cycle of self-delusion and
International Environment:- The ‘war of subversion’ is operating in a conducive
international environment of unipolarity. India continues to be seen as a part of
the other pole of the bipolar era which was dismantled.
environment has restricted the healthy expression of our sovereignty.
Kargil war took place on the terms and conditions of the enemy which we could
not alter because of our continued isolation on strategic matters.
The ‘war of
subversion’ by Pakistan should be seen in complementary
than contridiction with the international opinion which has restricted the
expression of Indian sovereignity. American and western endorsement of
Indian point of view came as late as when most of the military
objectives were achieved by Indian forces at a very heavy cost. The belated support
to Indian position in Kargil has not to be visualised as veering round of
US and west to Indian view on Kashmir but only in the context of
forestalling any new regional alignments. “No less extremist ones are those who
have somehow convinced themselves that America’s abhorrence of Islamic
fundamentalism combined with terrorism, more particularly the nefarious
activities of Osma Bin Laden, the growing attraction of Indian market and the
realisation that in the Asian balance of power India matters, the US
is now ready for a breakthrough in Indo-US relations even at the cost of its
long term alliance with Pakistan”, these words of caution by Inder Malhotra
are fully justified.
objective of dilution of sovereignty in Indian Kashmir of the
subversion’ by Pakistan is in perfect harmony with the positions
taken by US and
west on Kashmir.
The vision of Asia in 21st century as
revealed by the
Pantagon Papers envisages creation of an Independent
Kashmir. There are concrete reasons to believe that
this vision has not been as yet disowned
by the US Government.
support:- The war type by Pakistan is
supported both by legal as well as
illegal economy. Overemphasis on the state of affairs of official Pak economy may
lead us to faulty conclusions. Illegal economy derived from the over all
control of drug traffiking in particular and crime Mafias in general form the
core of the support base of this ‘war of subversion’. It is mind-boggling
that equal amount of Pakistan’s GDP in 1997-98-Rs 2,750 million was
generated by the parallel economy. Sums generated by smuggling are at the
disposal of armed forces and spending Rs 100 million or so for a Kargil type
operation is not a problem.
realisation of the totality of the war by Pakistan is a pre-requisite in
it. Approaches of self mortification have lead to the
internalisation of the problems which Pakistan has created. Approaches of
externalisation have to be part of the future operational doctrine.
sensitivity to Pakistani designs should not be only territorial.
and demographic assaults are as crucial as the terrotorial one.
to develop a threshold for these assault forms as well and let it be known
to the world. There in lies the key to contain and defeat this aggression.