From proxy war to psy-jihad: The futility of engaging Pak

by Aug 21, 2012

Will a hardened criminal happily plead mea culpa just because you offer him proof of his guilt?

Unfortunately, this is what India has been doing time and again – whether it is 26/11, or the July 2011 Mumbai blasts, or the most recent attempt by Pakistan-based groups to spread hate propaganda by circulating morphed images of alleged atrocities on Muslims in Assam and Myanmar to local co-religionists.

Google and Facebook have confirmed that the images and objectionable materials were uploaded outside India – meaning mostly Pakistan. Union Home Secretary RK Singh offered to give Pakistan proof of this, an offer summarily rejected by Islamabad. This is one of a piece with former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir’s dismissal of 26/11 documents as “mere literature.”

It is time we stopped debasing ourselves by offering Pakistan proof after proof on its support to terror targeting India. If at all we think they are going to take some action, it is best to do so quietly, since there is a greater possibility of their doing something if there is no public spotlight on it.

As we have stated often before, India’s anti-terror and anti-communal actions must flow from our own internal vigilance and preparedness, not from expectations of cooperation from across the border. After 65 years of living with a toxic neighbour, we don’t seem to be willing to accept that the Pakistani establishment – especially the Army and radical jihadi groups – are not interested in peace with India.

Let’s be clear how Pakistan’s strategy has evolved.

First, they tried war and aggression – in 1948, 1965 and 1971. It didn’t work.

Next, they opted for death by a thousand cuts – insurgency in Kashmir and Punjab. The latter was stamped out, and the former will take time to stamp out. But, increasingly, stoking trouble in Kashmir directly is yielding diminishing returns since the world is not ready to buy Pakistan’s story anymore. Not even China will buy it, though it continues to support Pakistan to keep India off balance.

Then, it tried to overawe the Indian public by random bomb blasts. Nothing happened. India is too large to be beaten into submission this way.

Now, Pakistan has changed strategy once more. Even while the option of sending deadly jihadis and bombs remains on the table for the ISI and the Pakistani hate-groups, the strong restraining hand of the US after  the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the drone attacks in the Pakistani north-west has circumscribed its ability to manoeuvre in this regard. Pakistan knows that the US may be sharing intelligence with India – and has to be careful on this score.

The new strategy runs something like this. One prong involves painting itself as a victim of terror (which is easy to do, since the snakes it bred in its backyard have now started biting the hand that fed them).

But the most important prong is to use any means to shift the focus of attention to Indian jihadi groups. There may not been too many Indian Muslims willing to do the ISI’s dirty work, but you don’t need more than a handful to create fear and chaos.

politics trump card game

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