POLITICS

India Should Emulate 'Homeland', Malign Pakistan As 'A Terrorist State' At The UN

The message should be loud and clear.

22/09/2016 1:30 PM IST | Updated 22/09/2016 2:19 PM IST
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Members of Shiv Sena protest against the killing of 17 Indian Soldiers by terrorists and demanding action against Pakistan, at Teen Murti, on September 19, 2016 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In one of the popular YouTube videos, India's national security advisor Ajit Doval, who is sort of a desi James Bond for his fans, makes a sensational threat to Pakistan: You do one more Mumbai, you lose Balochistan.

The attack on the army installation at Uri was graver than a Mumbai II, but Pakistan didn't lose Balochistan. Instead, it played the victim card at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. Betraying complete innocence on Uri, President Nawaz Sharif accused India of an arms build-up and reiterated his country's right to protect itself by taking "whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence". What he meant by credible deterrence was a nuclear first, which India cannot risk.

At the UN, Sharif also said that he wanted India to talk without preconditions. And what are India's so-called preconditions? Terrorism first, everything else can wait. And Pakistan? It wants to talks about all bilateral issues. What does it mean?

Kashmir, Kashmir and more Kashmir.

It's one and the same. When Pakistan talks Kashmir, India hears nothing else but terror, because that's precisely what Pakistan has been doing. Kashmir, for India, is its internal issue and most of it needs to be settled within India. What India needs to talk with Pakistan is not Kashmir, but terror in the name of Kashmir, which the latter doesn't want to listen to. Instead, its terror factories send money, arms and mercenaries across the border. It's been happening for the last 27 years.

When Pakistan talks Kashmir, India hears nothing else but terror, because that's precisely what Pakistan has been doing.

India was absolutely right in its response to Sharif at the UN through a statement in which it called Pakistan "the global epicenter of terrorism". The Uri attack was "part of a trail of continuous flow of terrorists trained and armed by our neighbour", Eenam Gambhir, senior Indian diplomat at the UN reportedly said.

India's biggest support came from Afghanistan, a country whose existence itself is in danger because of Pakistan's terror. Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danish said that the "world knows where Taliban leaders live". Danish also accused Pakistan of fostering terrorism and not acting against it, a line that India has repeated a million times. And Afghanistan has been saying this ever since a democratic government was established in Kabul after dismantling Taliban.

India's official response from the UN General Assembly podium later today should focus only on this: malign Pakistan as a terrorist state that threatens the stability of not only South Asia, but the entire world because it's here where the Taliban originated, it's here all anti-India and anti-Afghanistan terrorists are manufactured, and it's here where the biggest official terror indoctrination of Muslims happened.

What began as the US- and Saudi-funded support to anti-Soviet "freedom fighters" about 30 years ago has long since metamorphosed into Taliban, then Al Qaeda, and the next natural transformation will be ISIS. That too in a state with nuclear bombs. In the US, which still funds Pakistan about a billion dollars a year, unnerved analysts have been asking for sanctions against Pakistan army.

Jayanta Dey / Reuters
School children hold candles and placards during a vigil for the soldiers who were killed after gunmen attacked an Indian army base in Kashmir's Uri on Sunday, in Agartala, India, September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

India's dilemma, however dangerous Pakistan towards it is, is that it cannot go on a hot pursuit of the terrorists into the enemy territory because it might trigger the nuclear button. And firing from across the border would never be enough.

With a military response more or less ruled out, what India should do is malign Pakistan as a rogue nation, a terror state that's a possible breeding ground, if not already one, for the ISIS. India's efforts should be to cut American funding and support to Pakistan Army, which, as Pakistani journalist Ayesha Siddiqua's book, Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy, has illustrated is a military-industrial complex with both strategic and business interests.

As many Pakistani elites living in first-world cities would agree, military is the only stable institution in Pakistan and the state cannot let it fail. It's the only successful conglomerate in Pakistan that runs hotels, shopping complexes, banks, insurance companies and so on. And their strategic business is also fostering terror in India and Afghanistan. For the terror complex to fail, the business conglomerate should fail first.

Americans know, far more than Indians, that Pakistan has been playing a double game of fighting the Taliban while arming them, which in turn has killed tens of hundreds of Americans that included both soldiers and civilians, and that in the name of Kashmir it's forever fomenting trouble in India. For instance, Hamid Gul, the ISI middleman who handled US/Saudi money and arms in Afghanistan while converting himself into a bigot, was in America's rogue list when he died. Now the state itself has turned rogue.

Still, America is unable to cut funding, although compared to 2011, it has come down by two-thirds. The most credible postulate for this dubious American strategy is that it's worried that without its support, the country might disintegrate into a lawless nuclear land of Islamist terrorists. Just like its strategy of pitting pliant narcos against the unmanageable ones in its neighbourhood, America is trying out its distinction of good terrorists and bad terrorists. Unfortunately, all of them are bad. They are bad for India, bad for Afghanistan and bad for the rest of the world.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
JAMMU, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Army soldiers carry the coffin of martyr Ravi Paul for his last rites with full military honour at his village Sarwah on September 19, 2016 in Samba district about 35 km from Jammu, India. Ravi Paul was killed in militant attack on the Indian Army Base in Uri. (Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Strange enough, America would continue with a billion dollars a year even as Pakistan would hide terror masterminds such as Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Akhtar Mansour on its soil and despatch destruction squads to India and Afghanistan.

India's war should be propaganda that will hurt. The fourth season of American TV series Homeland was scathing on Pakistan and made the country look worse than Somalia or South Sudan. The worst reference to Pakistan came in the second episode itself, in which the CIA director asks the main protagonist, who lobbies for the station chief's post of the agency in Islamabad, "Pakistan? Why do you even want to go back to that shit-hole?" "It's not even a real country, it's a fu***** acronym," is his parting shot in the scene.

Every episode of the series featured Pakistan's alleged duplicity in vivid details with well-etched characters and incidents. The seemingly ruthless Pakistani intelligence official Tasneem, who spearheads the deceitful offensive, is presented as an epitome of diabolique. In the extensive scenes of negotiations between the Americans and the Pakistanis for the release of a former CIA director from the custody of Haqqani, the latter are indeed in cahoots with the terrorists. At one stage, the CIA director says to his colleagues, "Let me go and look at the fu***** in their faces," referring to the ISI officials.

India, should amplify these images. A country that people are scared to visit, a country that can play its national sport of cricket only on overseas pitches, a country that openly harbours anti-Indian, anti-Afghanistan and anti-American terrorists. A country whose main export is terrorism.

We, the civilians, from both Pakistan and India, can meanwhile extol the virtues of people-to-people camaraderie across the border. The good manners between us don't mean anything, except the feel-good moments of shopping in Rawalpindi markets, buying exquisite chikan and antique carpets, watching cricket matches with Pakistani elites in Lahore, participating in literary festivals or exchanging pleasantries on Facebook, as long as the Pakistani state cannot get over its fratricidal sibling rivalry.

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