Talk of India-Pakistan war

There are feverish talks happening here in India about going out for a war with Pakistan due to last week’s terrorist attacks in Bombay.

Here is my analysis (first 3 paras’ content are also repeated in one of my comments in the Bombay post on Agonist front page) :

Pakistan’s ISI is perhaps the worst official agency in the world that cleverly aids terrorists’ activities and has been doing so for many years. For India to put pressure on Pakistan’s current democratic pressure is being foolish. The ISI in Pakistan, closely affiliated to the Pakistani military, is a law unto itself and has to be tackled directly bypassing whoever is the Pakistani government. For this, in fact, India should shed its cowardliness and take on the United States of America that in the past and even now (discreetly though) has looked the other way if not actively coordinated with the ISI.

And if the US can attack Taliban inside Afghanistan, and if Israel can carry out operations inside its neigbouring countries including Palestine, and if Russia can carry out operations inside Georgia, then India can too carry out operations in the mountains of Pakistan where these terrorist groups receive their training.

Rajesh lives in NW Bombay. More after the jump.

Many of general Pakistani citizens do not like their country’s ISI and extremist elements. By blaming Pakistan as a country where its citizens do not have enough democratic rights is according to me not wise at all.

But what do I mean by wanting India to carry out operations inside Pakistan? I think any Indian military-led assault or aerial bombings of those training camps in the mountains of Pakistan has to, in my view, be carried out without any collateral damage whatsoever.

If that is not possible then we (Indians) should desist from carrying out any operations and instead aim, through super-efficient intelligence information gathering operation, to eliminate, one by one, the leaders of the heads of these terrorist groups including the ISI guys involved in it.

No innocent civilian life in Pakistan should be taken in India’s response to last week’s terrorist attacks in Bombay. Everyone, including the private terrorist groups the kinds of which were involved last week, has some kind of mental justification, whether valid or not, to do their violent deeds and 99% of the time their deeds involve taking the lives of innocent non-combatant civilians. India should ensure that it does not end up becoming like the terrorist killing innocent civilians. We have seen how the US-UK military has shamed itself by doing just that (killing civilians) in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should not emulate them.

Jingoism by Indians has to be avoided if we have to be considered as being fair. As I had mentioned in that same previous post terror has many forms. I would like to add that our desire for justice on such heinous wrongs should be extended to every form of terror including state terror and the terror of companies on tribals & villagers in remote places.

Many affluent Indians’ lives were taken in the Taj and Oberoi and while I pray for their souls’ peaceful transition to the astral plane for healing I must point out that the strong reactions against terrorist emanating from the affluent circles in India is a bit selfish. These same very people don’t care when their excessive materialism/consumerism or their involvement as senior/middle management in industries/companies are the causes of corporate-police-state terror in remote areas of India.

Below is a wikimapia snapshot, with a white circle added by me of the region in Pakistan where terrorist bases & training camps are believed to be (a enlarged & clearer image can be seen at

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Rajesh Gajra

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  • That area is what 500 miles long?
    And mountainous (very rocky mountains if I remember).
    And impassible in winter.

    Before you suggest militarty action in that area, please read up on the Boer War, and the difficulties of conventional miliary action in such terrain.

    Also read up on H.H.Kitchener. He is in wikiperdia, to see what has to be done to win such an action.

    Then go and consider you suggestion for India to take action again. Better for India to tell the US to get the ISI under control, for their funds come from somewhere (probably not parkistan).

  • your suggestions of violence being used in the most humane way possible–although I realize that is an oxymoron and do doubt it is possible. I also applaud your willingness to lend a voice to the mis and mal-treated Indians. Having visited you in India and seen much of the poverty and mistreatment of lower caste Indians it is good to know there are citizens looking out for the interests. I think the key thing here is that Pakistan and India have to find out a solution to this problem on their own, without outside, e.g. Western/American, interference.

    “Is not our first thought to go on the road? The road is our source, our vault of treasures, our wealth. Only on the road does the ‘traveller’ feel like himself, at home.”
    Ryszard Kapuscinski

  • Does not address root cause. Ask the Palestinians & Israelis. Or better yet, the Irish.

    As you should well know Sean-Paul. Black & Tans anyone? Oliver Cromwell? Oh those worked well…

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    And what is “humane violence”? Pray tell…

    One understands the anger in India, but as Putin was reputedly told “Do you want to be like Bush”? There is now a democratic Government in Parkistan, who seem to want to talk. That’s a better place to start. The end? Can’t tell.

  • a pacifist, never have been and never will be.

    “Is not our first thought to go on the road? The road is our source, our vault of treasures, our wealth. Only on the road does the ‘traveller’ feel like himself, at home.”
    Ryszard Kapuscinski

  • Syonia, your points are well taken about the difficulties in doing operations in those areas in Pakistan. But there is no shortcut. Otherwise, jingoist Indians and fanatical Hindu extremists in India (who can come to power in the next country-wide general elections in 2009) will encourage Indian military to attack civilian areas in Pakistan.
    True, Sean-Paul, humane violence is an oxymoron but is far less worse than random, senseless violence. And it is high time someone gathers wits and courage to teach the Pakistan’s ISI/military a lesson or two. And, yep, there are enough internal problems within India’s society where equal and forceful action has to be taken, but for that to happen, the Indian military can do nothing. Only the courts of India can do something but unfortunately most of the judges are corrupt or biased.

  • Appears to be a spoiler. I’ve never really understood the differences between the Government’s agenda and ISI.

    We’ve fought Muslims for over 1,000 years. Some elements are provoking us to attack again. To fight an Asymmetrical war to bleed us to death. My reference to Kitchener was not flippant, he laid out a process to win an asymmetrical war — “Depopulate the countryside, and the support will collapse”. This was modified in the Malaysia Emergency, by building fortified villages, and taking control village by village. The Aden campaign failed, and the British had no desire to do anything but leave. Cyprus was a civil war between Turks & Greeks, a different class of war.

    While diplomacy is slow, we need a consensus, or a consensus building process, to lay out the options publicly, and do what was not done in the invasion of Iraq. In may be a version of the Kitchener/Malaysia approach. It would be best done by improving the lot of the people who live there, water and sanitation are good investments, as Kitchener’s direct methods make no friends, for a long time, as we found out in South Africa in 1948.

    And yes, I’m slow to rush to war. I clearly remember the imprint of WW II in my home town, twenty years after the end of the war. I’m from Europe. We have some experience of war. More, I believe, than those in the US, and those in India.

    “Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread” Alexander Pope.

  • It’s crucial to properly define the concept of “defense” first – this has been an appalling botch for far too long on so many levels.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Unfortunately it doesn’t exist in isolation, and you may well find yourself rethinking the wisdom of this approach at leisure when Pakistan decides what its response will be. And then when India decides what its response to Pakistan’s response will be. And then when Pakistan decides what its response to India’s response to its response will be – as the whole thing starts spiraling out of human control.

    Given the history of your nations, you might want to think long and hard before lifting the lid of that Pandora’s Box.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • he said he was talking to a former head of ISI and asked him if Mushy really had control of ISI? The general replied, “it’s to his advantage to act as if he doesn’t.”

    That quote, imo, speaks volumes about the ISI.

    “Is not our first thought to go on the road? The road is our source, our vault of treasures, our wealth. Only on the road does the ‘traveller’ feel like himself, at home.”
    Ryszard Kapuscinski

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