Tough US Stand on Pak: Implications

Panel discussion aired January 8, 2018 on Rajya Sabha TV programme ‘India’s World’, with former Foreign Secretary Shashank, ex-High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan, and yours truly.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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9 Responses to Tough US Stand on Pak: Implications

  1. Abhi says:

    It’s ‘cute’ for a lack of a better word, how Shashank thinks that India could obtain parity with China. China has the luxury of pursuing hard national interest because of the non-democratic nature of government. There is no notion of bipartisanship when it comes to implementing policies, since there only exists one party. In India, there will always be a debate about national interest due to the pluralistic character of the population, represented by the parliamentary democratic system. If (not when) a consensus is reached, there is even more delay leading with regards to action/implementation. This is slow, inefficient and non-deterministic way of achieving strategic objectives.

    It seems like even if the political will were to manifest itself today, there is so much catching up to do, that we will always be insignificant. The influential lead China has over India will only grow (and if we do our due diligence, perhaps stay constant ).

    China can match India dollar for dollar, bullet for bullet. The only ace we have up our sleeves are that of soft-power (cultural roots with South Asian neighbors).

    Why do you see the glass half full?

    • sanman says:

      Using your analogy, Pakistan has used its “soft power” (cultural affinity) with Pashtuns/Afghans to inject guerrilla militants to take over its neighbor and to liquidate those opposing its political agenda. In India’s case, our “soft power” with neighbors is literally softer than a baby’s bottom — it’s a featherweight softness, which is quite ineffectual. In Sri Lanka, we previously tried supporting a militant movement, who quickly turned against us because apparently they didn’t feel enough cultural affinity with us to overcome political differences. In Bangladesh, after we liberated them they quickly came under a foreign-assisted military coup which again took a hard line against us all over again, and it’s only relatively recently that they’ve emerged from that, so that the memories of the liberation war are unfortunately faded. In Nepal, China has been able to generate affinity overnight purely by injecting Maoist ideology and class warfare, now followed up by economic investments, while our “age old shared cultural ties” seem to look antiquated and quaint by comparison. Now it’s happening to Bhutan, too.

      I personally believe that the carrot must always be accompanied by something else – call it the stick if you want – since you can never be only carrots, because that quickly becomes an appeasement policy. However as Pakistan and China have shown, sometimes the hidden injection needle is more effective than even a stick.

  2. sanman says:

    Zalmay Khalilzad has come out with his article on what US should do about Pakistan:

    So he wants targeted sanctions against specific people in the Pakistani state, along with their family members. That would provide a much sharper level of pain that Pakistanis have never experienced before.

    • that’s right, the thing is that we have sen on Ukraine issue via a via Russia, Sanctions don’t hit the Polity & Demography of a country as you wish that they SHOULD,when you impose sanctions blindly, all these Paki Jarnails are migrating to Canada after retirement & enjoying money laundering routes via shell cos which they had invested through land deals in pakistan for over a period of time when they were in uniform,now the point is that if those people are sanctioned in the first place for their medical tourism & their children entering the west,not as a patient or a fullbright scholar,this will bering them down to their KNEES,BUT again if Washington does that, it will lose their influence over GHQ & eventually beijing will gain the elbow space & the thing is that most of the people in India don’t beleieve that ,apart from Lip Service,USA will never pursue Indian National Interests at the cost of ruining their own contacts in South Asia,they are already cut-off with Iran.

  3. sanman says:

    Nextly, regarding Mr Bharat Karnad’s comment that India must focus more on China and less on Pakistan, then the only solution I can prescribe is that India must change its laws in relation to J&K, so that we can permit people from the rest of India to settle in J&K, thus ending Pakistan’s hopes and designs on that area once and for all. Once that is accomplished, we’ll have less need to occupy ourselves with Pakistan over the Kashmir conflict, and can instead focus more on China. The ability to end the Kashmir conflict is easily within our means, but we have yet to avail ourselves of these obvious choices.

    • Which is what I have suggested. Abrogation of Article 370 is the first necessary step that I have been advocating for quite some time now. Once this is out of the way and J&K merged fully into the Indian Union, citizens from outside the state can buy property, reside there, and vote.

      • sanman says:

        Agreed, Mr Karnad – change of J&K’s status in relation to Indian Constitution must be achieved, and there should be no hesitation in including national security among the reasons for this. And yet we can see that India’s various non-nationalist parties are guaranteed to immediately obstruct this. So then it becomes a matter of the ruling party and its allies gaining enough seats to pass such a change over the objections of the obstructionist parties. Unfortunately, it’s the Congress Party and Socialists who are the dens of obstructionism (the caste-based parties are increasingly sidelined and are no longer the players they used to be). While the Article 370 arrangement was rooted in India’s desire to settle the territorial dispute over the entirety of Kashmir through diplomatic means, those conditions no longer exist, and therefore India should cut its losses and remove the Kashmir card from the deck.

  4. No, unfortunately, it will also require concurring vote (with a Resolution to be passed) in J&K Assembly.

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