Yet again! This time 17 jawans lost in Uri. And this calls for a response. Let’s quickly look at the options India has on the table.
First, we could go to war. This seems hard and it would probably take a massive toll on the Indian economy. As far as I can remember, it has never happened in history that two nuclear armed nations have declared war on each other. We know Pakistanis love to die and get their 72 virgins, but we have something to live for. So, not this option.
Secondly, we could go for the so called “surgical strikes” inside enemy territory. I highly doubt we have the capabilities to carry this out. If my memory is not failing me about the Osama bin Laden operation, the United States used helicopters so advanced that their existence was unknown till the day the operation was announced to the world. Worse, one of those helicopters failed to make it out of Pakistan safely and crashed. Pakistanis claim they shot it down and we will never know which is the correct version. All we know is that the marines activated a self destruct mechanism of some sort before the advanced helicopter went down and the US was so anxious about protecting the technology that it asked Pakistan to return the wreckage of the fallen craft. If this is the level of equipment needed for such operations, it’s safe to assume we don’t have access to toys like these.
Not to mention that surgical strikes inside Pakistan would cause full scale war anyway. Not to mention that China could go with Pakistan, as they likely will, especially if they have an excuse to point to India as the conspicuous aggressor.
Thirdly, we could do nothing. We have tried this strategy for decades and I don’t think we are happy with the results.
But we have a fourth option. We bleed them like they bleed us. India should arm Baloch milita to carry out similar strikes on Paki military assets. Is that like sponsoring terrorism? Perhaps. Probably. But then, “sponsor” of terrorism is a label that really depends on your strength in the international arena. There are likely a dozen countries in the world right now where the CIA is arming militia of various sorts and sizes, but no one can dare to call the US a “state sponsor of terror”. Pakistan will squirm and scream, but so what. Our credibility and strength is far more than theirs. We are vital to US interests in Asia. As long as that continues and we maintain some plausible deniability, no one will be able to throw muck at India.
So far, India has taken one big step by openly giving diplomatic support to Balochistan. This attack in Uri is doubtless a warning, telling us to back off. But, that’s just a clue that we are on the right track. Like Ajit Doval says, Pakistan’s vulnerabilities are far greater than our own. ISIS guys killed 3 Pakistani soldiers in Peshawar just today. The new diplomatic support to Balochistan must now be upgraded to (covert) military support to Baloch liberation militia.
Afghanistan is a key aspect of this strategy. Right now, there seems to be a strong anti-Pakistan sentiment sweeping Afghanistan, or at least its ruling classes. India must get Afghanistan to seal their borders with Pakistan, pushing all the unemployed jihadis into Pakistan. Our aim must be to get Pakistan embroiled with Taliban on one part of its western frontier and with Balochi militia in the other part of its frontier.
Is this strategy fraught with danger? Yes! Can anyone guarantee that the militia we sponsor today will not turn around and attack us tomorrow? No! But tell me, does anyone see any other option?
I think part of the strategy is the realization that this war will continue for our generation and perhaps several generations to come. One of my favorite bloggers is a guy who calls himself “Greatbong” and he had this to say about terrorism:
“The Third World War is a war without end, and like diabetes and genital herpes it cannot be cured but only controlled, and that too at great personal sacrifice, like eating vegetables or, in this case, through restrictions on civil liberties.”
In fact, the Israelis have the same approach. They call it “cutting the grass”. Like grass, the crazy jihadis will always keep growing back. So, you keep cutting the grass, but accept the fact that the grass will always be there. Israel has the added advantage that its immediate enemies are not nuclear armed. A pity we don’t have that but it is what it is.
Folks, I just checked. Pakistan has 180 million people. They are not going anywhere. We have to embroil Pakistan in a bloody civil war. And we have to fan the flames inside Pakistan so that 100 Pakistanis die for every 1 Indian killed by terrorism. But it is important to accept the fact that even such a grim ratio will not make Pakistan stop. Remember that I said in a recent post that the jihadis live to die?
It’s time to break Pakistan into pieces again. Not a clean break like Bangladesh splitting away. That’s why I called this post “Break off Balochistan, sort of“. We need a messy break where Balochistan declares independence and India gives them diplomatic recognition. And let Pakistan get into an endless war of attrition with militia for territory in Balochistan. If someone has a better idea, I would LOVE to hear it.