Event ReportsPublished on May 27, 2011
Pakistan has been using Jihad as a grand strategy for various reasons but primarily to influence events in its immediate neighbourhood, according to Dr Paul Kapur of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
Jihad as a grand strategy

Pakistan has been using Jihad as a grand strategy for various reasons but primarily to influence events in its immediate neighbourhood, according to Dr Paul Kapur, Associate Professor, Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Initiating a discussion on counter terrorism at ORF on May 27, 2011, Dr Kapur discussed India’s deterrence problem in the face of Pakistan’s strategy of asymmetric warfare, the principal-agent problems emerging in the State-militant nexus in Pakistan and the threat of terrorism to the Pakistani state itself.

He argued that the state usage of asymmetric warfare had not happened by accident; it was brought about by a sense of acute weakness the country felt in terms of conventional military capabilities vis-à-vis India. The strategy of asymmetric warfare with the use of militants or non-state actors that went into operation in 1947 had never been given up on because it has had partial success in several areas including deepening its influence in Kashmir, destabilising India etc

However, this convenient arrangement started falling apart ever since Pakistan’s participation in the US-led War on Terror. The War on Terror and other factors had brought about severe principal-agent problems in the relationship. Gradually and over time the interests of the agent (militants and non-state actors) started diverging significantly from the interests of the principal (the Pakistani state).

However, the strategy had also yielded some very significant unfavorable repercussions for Pakistan. For instance, India responded by accelerating its own military capabilities, thereby deepening Pakistan’s insecurity and sense of acute weakness. Time and again, India responded with large scale military mobilisation. Moreover, because of its weak economy and military over-expenditure, Pakistan was unable to produce public goods such as education and health.

During the discussions, various speakers expressed that India had more or less tried almost all options possible in order to compel/convince Pakistan to rethink it’s strategy vis-à-vis India and thus Indian policy makers urgently ought to seek new ways of addressing the issue. In terms of compelling Pakistan, India had tried coercive diplomacy, war, large scale mobilisation. These have not yet yielded the desired results. In terms of convincing Pakistan India had tried engagement, confidence building measures, cross border trade.

Eventually, Mr. Kapur hard-pressed the audience to imagine the limited options Indian decision-makers would have in the face of another Mumbai-like terror attack. He predicted that in such a situation, decision-makers would be compelled to launch an all-out conventional war against Pakistan which could easily lead to a nuclear combat. The discussion ended with suggestions regarding exploring options of bringing Saudi Arabia on board for negotiating with  Pakistan and trying to convince the United States to realise that Pakistan still relied on them significantly enough to help the latter steer away from the path of implosion.

(This report was prepared by Sidharth Raimedhi, Research Intern at  Observer Research Foundation)

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