Author : Sushant Sareen

Originally Published 2019-09-30 11:00:15 Published on Sep 30, 2019
Declaration of war

If ever any evidence was required on the appropriateness of the monikers  ‘Im the Dim’ and ‘Taliban Khan’ attached to Pakistan's ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan, his speech at the UN General Assembly should do the trick. Full of bloopers, bamboozle, belligerence, and blackmail, the only thing new in the speech of the erstwhile ‘flannelled fool’ – the flannels are off, but the fool remains – was the stage, not the state of mind of an unabashed Islamofascist who is deeply influenced by the mumbo-jumbo whispered in his bird-brain by his wife, ‘Pinky Peerni’, and the instructions dictated to him by his handlers in the GHQ, Rawalpindi. Otherwise, virtually everything he said was a compendium of his unhinged rants since August 5 when India announced the end of the anachronistic constitutional sops given to Jammu and Kashmir seven decades ago.

The litany of lies and the thinly disguised threats of a nuclear holocaust are again old hat. These threats were pretty de rigueur in the 1990s. Back then the Pakistanis also spread the most lurid, if also ludicrous, stories about J&K in the hope of inviting some sort of external intervention. The same tack is being repeated again. Only, this time, even the pretence of diplomacy and decency was absent. While Imran certainly makes for a very poor advertisement of Oxford University, his attitude is but a reflection of the culture of his manufactured ‘nation’ and the poor upbringing of even the elite in what is now seen as ‘Terroristan’. But the mental meltdown of Taliban Khan who justified Jihad against India, needs to be seen in India as a virtual declaration of war. Ignoring it as the rantings of a deranged mind would be a mistake, nay a blunder.

Although India has been in a state of undeclared war with Pakistan for the last thirty years, now it is a declared war. It will be fought at both the non-kinetic and the kinetic level. The kinetic level will be mostly sub-conventional – using jihadist terrorists and all other tactics of dirty warfare to bleed India. Although the Indian security establishment anticipates this, it needs to be prepared for new, innovative, even audacious, tactics from the enemy. One example of this was the recent weapon drops in Punjab using drones. The Pakistanis, because of their links and involvement with terrorist groups which have been actively engaged in other global jihadist wars, will certainly use the tactics of terrorism deployed elsewhere. India will really need to up its game and think out of the box to pre-empt, prevent and punish the terrorists.

More importantly, the dirty war will not remain limited to only the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir but will extend into rest of India as well, something alluded to by Taliban Khan and other Pakistani officials when they referred to Indian Muslims rising up against the Indian state. What remains to be seen is whether or not Pakistan calibrates the dirty war to try and keep it from crossing the threshold of an inevitable retaliation from India like after the Uri or Pulwama attacks. Asides of the fact that there is no fail safe mechanism for ensuring terror attacks don’t cross the threshold, it is also quite likely that Pakistan would pull out all stops to provoke India to go up the escalation spiral, which Pakistan hopes will bring the rest of the world rushing to the region.

The chances of miscalculation by the Pakistanis leading to an all-out conflict cannot be entirely ruled out. For all the bluff and bluster of the rabid Islamists ruling the roost in the Islamic State of Pakistan, they know that wars aren’t fought with empty treasuries and that even a stalemate in a conventional conflict will be ruinous for Pakistan's already on-the-ropes economy and unstable polity.

While India is braced for handling the kinetics of the declared war, it needs to get over its inexplicable reluctance to take this war into Pakistan. So far India has played by the book. This needs to change. The sort of unspeakable crimes that are visited on the religious and ethnic minorities by the functionaries of the Islamic State of Pakistan should  be exploited by India to mount a campaign and force the world to hold Pakistan to account. The occasional reference by Indian officials to some of these crimes against humanity isn’t good enough. These are more in the nature of socking it back to the Pakistanis and not part of a sustained campaign.

Pakistan making a human rights case against India is akin to Daesh or Islamic State preaching the virtues of secularism. Because there has been no real push back from India, such is Pakistan's chutzpah that on the day India changed J&K’s constitutional status, the Pakistanis imposed a law in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which makes the AFSPA look like it has been drafted by Amnesty International. And yet, no one bothered to raise this issue on the world stage or before the international Human Rights mafia.

From Gilgit to Gwadar and from Waziristan to Wazirabad, Pakistan has vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited. It will take time and patience, but most of all perseverance to bring Pakistan to heel. But now that war has been declared, India must join it and finish the evil that Pakistan represents.   

This commentary originally appeared in Mail Today.      

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Sushant Sareen

Sushant Sareen

Sushant Sareen is Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. His published works include: Balochistan: Forgotten War, Forsaken People (Monograph, 2017) Corridor Calculus: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor & China’s comprador   ...

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