Modiji, shake Bajwa’s hand (Augmented)

All that remains for Pakistan now is to hope Gen Bajwa doesn't turn out to  be Gen Ayub Khan
[General Javed Qamar Bajwa, COAS, Pakistan Army]

On his return from Dhaka, where he’d be immersed in Bangladeshi goodwill that comes from the flowering of very good relations with an adjoining fellow-South Asian country, Modiji should contemplate the equally good returns that are there for his taking if only he shakes the hand of friendship proffered by the main man in Pakistan, army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and ends, once and for all, the intra-mural and squably India-Pakistan relationship — an ongoing absurdity.

Just how absurd is reflected in the fact of two Punjabi Jats, a Bajwa leading the Pakistan Army, and a Sidhu (Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar) the Pakistan Air Force! While not rare, it is uncommon, in Pakistan for Punjabis converted to Islam however long ago, or recently, to retain their original family names. That the families of the current Pakistani COAS and CAS have managed to do that suggests the resilience of old social identities even under pressure to conform to newer realities. And should someone care to dig deep enough these two broods would, I reckon, find their Sikh cousins across the border. [Could the General, I wonder, be related to my best friend from school days, Harjit Singh Bajwa, a brilliant engineer officer who, but for brain cancer cutting him down in his prime, would almost certainly have made it as one of the youngest to reach Rear Admiral rank in the Indian Navy?]

Cousins of different faiths living side-by-side was not uncommon in old India. My late mother-in-law originally from West Punjab — a ‘Malik’ and native of Miani, Sargodha District, was fond of recalling from her childhood days the ‘Malika-da-darwaza’ (Gate of the Maliks) beyond which lived the community of Maliks — Hindu families on one side of the mohalla street, Muslim Maliks, on the other side, with children running in an out of homes on either side and adults doing the normal to-ing and fro-ing while preserving prejudices and practising their respective religious restrictions! Thus, it was quite normal during each other’s festivals for the Hindu and Muslim Maliks — keeping in mind mutual sensibilities –to exchange gifts of food in the raw form — wheat, rice, vegetables, dry fruit, etc., to allow the usually same dishes to be cooked and eaten according to different norms. She remembered Hindu Maliks having a separate set of crockery for when their Muslim relatives visited them!! This may seem ridiculous, but that was the way it was.

Such snatches of sentiment cannot, however, figure, other than tertiarily, in the calculation of national interest, in which respect, the India-Pakistan tangle is an especially hard nut to crack. Still, as I have argued in my books and other writings, the recovery, even if in a loose form, of the unitary subcontinental space for longterm strategic stability and economic progress is an inescapable geopolitical imperative, whatever the naysayers among the religious right, the military and strategic enclaves, and the media commentariart, on either side may say.

Except, Gen. Bajwa has indicated his willingness to take the Pakistan army out of the nyet camp and give peace a chance! In his March 17 address on the second day of the first ever International Security Conference in Islamabad — which the Pakistani policy establishment hopes to see emerge as counterpart forum to the Raisina Dialogues in Delhi, made a straight forward pitch for peace and why India and Pakistan need to go beyond the mindless hostility their relations are mired in.

But what did Bajwa say? And why shouldn’t what he — at the apex of the singularly powerful army and central pillar of the Pakistani state, said be taken seriously as it needs to be? The good thing is that the Modi government has eased up on its relentless demonizing of Pakistan, a process begun with the UAE, as mediator, urging the two sides to talk out the differences. Modi visited Dubai and was feted, and I had written then that the special consideration shown him — permission to build a temple, promise of investment in India, etc. — were a means for the Emirates to develop leverage, and which lever was now used. The Directors-General, Military Operations, of both sides talked in late February and agreed strictly to keep the peace on the LoC, and Modi then made conciliatory moves (Covid vaccine, etc). This was the appetizer.

Then Bajwa followed up with the first course — his speech, the text of which is available at . Other than stock items — importance of peace, prosperity through extended regional connectivity, etc he made four really significant points that do, in fact, advance the process of rapprochement.

One, while deeming the resolution of the Kashmir dispute as central to peace in South Asia, and asking Delhi to “create conducive environment” in J&K he, unlike Prime Minister Imran Khan, made no mention of the restoration of Article 370 and the status quo ante as pre-condition.

This leaves the field clear to revive General Parvez Musharraf’s scheme that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh almost accepted in 2007 as template for an amicable agreement. It will, in effect, freeze the existing territorial division of the erstwhile princely state of Jammy & Kashmir, with the fig leaf of a joint mechanism to oversee Kashmir affairs put in place. It will be a salve for Pakistan’s amor propre but not change the reality on the ground in that while Kashmiris on either side will be free to travel to the other side, they will require their identity papers to be stamped/registered at the border posts thereby reinforcing the territorial separation and sovereignty principle. Pakistan benefits because it gets to keep, besides Pakistan-occupied Kashmir across the Neelam River, the “Northern Areas” — Gilgit, Hunza, and Baltistan, now crucial to CPEC, and India retains Jammu, the Valley, Ladakh and the Saltoro Ridge. There was no talk of “self-determination”, perhaps, because a referendum in Baltistan could see the shia majority opting for India!

The chief positive of this Musharraf scheme is that the Pakistan army is fully on board, which fact, minimizes the value of such opposition to this compromise as may be voiced elsewhere in the Pakistani society

Two, Bajwa extolled “rule-based” order, one that, he said, may help India and Pakistan to escape “the acrimony and toxicity of the past”. Because the rule-based order mechanism most agitating Pakistan is the UN FATF (Financial Assistance Task Force), which tracks money flows to terrorist organizations and outfits — a great many of whom are located in Pakistan. That country has been on the FATF Grey List for a long time and barely avoided being heaved into the Black List which would have automatically triggered killer economic sanctions — the one thing Pakistan simply cannot afford to have happen. True, Pakistan has been protected by the US and the West, but should Islamabad fail to end its financial and other support to the terrorist gangs masquerading as social welfare organizations, its protectors may feel compelled to bring down the boom. That could write finis to Pakistan’s trade and attempts at economic development. A shrinking economy will mean a bigger slice of a progressively smaller economic pie for the Pak military, or a smaller slice of a flatlining economy — in either case, the Pakistan army takes a hit. What this means is that the Pakistan army will err on the side of extreme caution before deploying terror — an asymmetric means of warfare it has had considerable success with against India in Jammu & Kashmir. In other words, Pak-sponsored terrorist incidents may no more be on the Pakistan army’s menu. At least for the nonce.

Three, Bajwa said that Pakistan intended to leverage its geostrategic location to become “a bridge between civilisations and connecting conduit between the regional economies.” Note, he thus implicitly acknowledged India’s standing as a civilizational state, along with China, and how he expected Pakistan to be the medium, a way station, for transactions of all kinds between “West Asia” and “East Asia”.

And finally, and most importantly, the General stated that “despite the rising security challenges” Pakistan was not involved in an arms race and its “defence expenditures have rather reduced instead of increasing”. It is an indication that GHQ, Rawalpindi, now believes that Pakistan (1) has conventional and nuclear capability sufficient for any contingency featuring India, and (2) does not need to react to India’s military build-up against China, even though some of these new dual mode capabilities can be switched to the Pakistan front. In other words, the Pakistan army has reached satiation in terms of the national expenditure directed to service the military’s needs.

Incidentally, the basic point underlying Bajwa’s offer of peace is the fact that the Pakistan army no more considers India potent, primary, national threat. Relying on China to back it materially in an unexpected crisis with India, GHQ, Rawalpindi is more sanguine and at peace with itself than ever before in terms of dealing with India. But Bajwa’s predecessors — Generals Raheel Sharif and Ashfaq Kayani had repeatedly declared to the media that the danger to Pakistan was not anymore from India but from terrorists operating inside the country. That this was not iterated by Bajwa suggests the Pak army thinks it is beginning to get the better of such unfriendly outfits as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and the Baloch freedom fighters roiling the internal security situation within the country. This from Pakistan’s point of view is a great improvement.

But to revert to Bajwa’s desire for amity, the main course in the rapprochement process will ultimately be the deal hammered out by the diplomats. A lot of the negotiating work has already been done, and the MEA and the Pakistan Foreign Office need only dust off the notes, memoranda and files from 2007. The dessert would be Modi and Imran meeting, ideally, on the occasion of the first match, in Delhi or Lahore, in a resumed cricket series when the entire subcontinent would have tuned in, signing the peace accord, then proceeding to the stadium for a little “chai pe charcha” as the ball is bruited about. Thereafter, the two leaders can repair to their respective corners to await the announcement of the shared Nobel Prize for Peace which last (per this script), is certain!

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.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific, Asian geopolitics, Central Asia, China, China military, civil-military relations, Culture, Decision-making, Defence procurement, Geopolitics, geopolitics/geostrategy, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's Pakistan Policy, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Politics, Indian state/administration, Indo-Pacific, Iran and West Asia, Islamic countries, MEA/foreign policy, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Pakistan, Pakistan military, Pakistan nuclear forces, SAARC, society, South Asia, South East Asia, Terrorism, Tibet, UN, United States, West Asia, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Modiji, shake Bajwa’s hand (Augmented)

  1. Amit says:

    While much is to be gained by India from peace with Pakistan, the situation now is quite different from the situation in 2007. We have the CPEC which is a security threat to India as it will have Chinese control. This is a new aspect that has to be negotiated by India with Pakistan. India played hard ball and this has impacted Pakistan’s attitude and led to this change of heart by it’s Army (still early days IMHO). But minimising CPEC’s security impact is a new dimension that India must consider in any deal with Pakistan. And with China being a player involved, this makes it more complicated than in 2007. I hope there is no half assed deal here.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Amit- Well, if India and Pakistan settle on the present border, (which btw is the only realistic solution between these two nations) then CPEC shouldn’t be an issue for India.

      It depends on China whether they wish to see peace between India and Pakistan or wish perpetual tensions between these two South Asian neighbors.

      • Amit says:

        Well, China controls the CPEC corridor and this is a dual purpose project. How is China controlling a major land route to the Arabian Sea and the Gwadar port not a security threat to India? It might even have a naval base at Gwadar – this is a major security threat to India! If India does not negotiate terms which impact India’s security due to the CPEC, it would be a long term disaster. I don’t think therefore, anything much will happen with Pakistan on peace, as India’s interests have changed since 2007 and it is more complex now than in 2007 (of course it is still possible that India does a sub optimal deal with Pakistan).

      • San Mann says:

        Pakistan never honours any agreeements it signs. They simply wait until their position is more favourable, and then discard the agreements they previously signed. If they want to honour their agreements, they should start with the Shimla Accord which they already signed. They don’t care about living up to anything they’ve signed their names to – they’re an irredentist rogue state who don’t care for international law.

  2. Sir, my theory with regards to recent China episode is that they did this for three gains—

    1. To crush Modi’s strongman image

    2. To force peace with Pakistan, with India recently showing intent to cross border.

    3.To push India out of the concept of ” strategic autonomy” and into the lap of Americans.

    What is your take on this?

  3. We have also heard ( don’t know If these are rumours) in the public domain that when Morarji Desai came to power, he literally shut down all our spy assets in Pakistan and basically axed Research and Analysis Wing.
    We know Modi is a big time hugger and appeaser.

    1.Will this result in Modi forcing RAW to do the same again?

    2. And is our RAW any competent?

    I highly doubt any organisation’s professionalism whose chief (Rabinder Singh) defects

    I know my comments are sometimes unrelated but its just that I am curious.

  4. Ram says:

    @ Prof Karnad,

    This will not materialize with the present Indian regime. There has to be an enemy at all times (or invented if none exists) to keep the population engaged in fireworks now and then, less they become aware of other burning issues. This also helps in winning elections, politicizing the armed forces (who will be forced to confront China instead, otherwise excessively focussed on a weaker Pakistan) and ofcourse the bribes made for defence purchases.

    A peace settlement may put a gradual end to all of these at a most inopportune time for a party that finally has had a stint at power after a long wait of 70 years.

    Moreover, if there is peace and stability on the western front, the focus of discussions could shift to the eastern borders which the government is desperately trying to avoid.

    • San Mann says:

      You and Mr Karnad seem to be die-hard shills for the Congress Party. Therefore all you can do is make every topic into another Modi-bashing festival.

      • Congress is not in power. When it was & Manmohan Singh was PM I was among the handful in the country leading the charge against the civil nuclear cooperation deal that formalized the policy tilt towards the US that I have all along opposed and which was initiated by the Vajpayee government in the new millennium Look up my books, other writings and posts on this blog. Modi is now ruling and his policies are necessarily the object of scrutiny. Wish Indians harboured a healthy scepticism about government, any government, rather than being led by the nose by the leader of the day.

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        @San Mann- You yourself are a Modi toady that’s why you always drag Congress in the debate.

        Anyone, who is a regular reader of Professor Karnad’s blog can easily see that he is politicially neutral genius and isn’t a sycophant of any political party.

  5. Edelbert Badwar says:

    Hardly had Bajwa finished with his peace overtures when a terrorist attack took place in Kashmir.The Pakistani Army is feeling the pinch of relentlees Indian fire across the LOC.That is the main reason for the ceasefire offer.And yet ,the Indian leadership both military and civilian ,fell for this bait hook,line and sinker.Instead of keeping up the barrage.There should be no peace until PoK is restored to us

  6. BHASKAR says:

    With your proposal, India stands to forgo Gilgit , Baltisthan and with Chinese interests over there we find China on both sides viz. Depsang & Gilgit considering Pakistan is already in Chinese lap, at least economically.

    Is that a wise thing to do? Consider what strategists have been advocating(including yourself) for an analogous situation in Burma as far as Chinese presence is concerned.

  7. Rohit Sharma says:

    Hi Bharat:

    It is just happenstance that I happened to be here at this gold mine. I just wish that you had a stronger media presence, at least something like

    Hope you give it some thought.

    Best regards,

  8. Muhammad Aryan says:

    ** ||| “India played hard ball and this has impacted Pakistan’s attitude and led to this change of heart by it’s Army (still early days IMHO).” ||| **

    What ‘hardball’? How did it ‘impact’ Pakistan’s attitude?

    – India desires a slot on the Afghan chessboard which is not possible without Islamabad’s greenlight. India’s road to West Asia goes through Pakistan.

    – Pakistan has reached out to Panjshiri Tajiks and Uzbeks. The Central Asian capitals plus Tehran are on board. What are New Delhi’s options now?

    – Pakistan Army is responding to Beijing’s de-escalatory postures vis a vis India.

    – Both are members of the SCO, and hence there are regional and multilateral concerns to consider.

    – There is lesser resentment in Dhaka today with regards to Pakistan. And Colombo, as always, remains deeply connected to Islamabad when it comes to Sri Lanka’s national security.

    – ‘Diplomatic isolation of Pakistan’ couldn’t take off.

    ** ||| “But minimising CPEC’s security impact is a new dimension that India must consider in any deal with Pakistan.” ||| **

    – It’s too late now. Interoperability between China and Pakistan is in quite an advance stage.

    From across the Radcliffe

    • Amit says:

      @Mohammad Aryan,
      For the past few years, India has stepped up military actions along and across the LOC and has put relentless diplomatic pressure on Pakistan, e.g., through the FATF. Article 370 was also an aggressive move. This is what I mean by saying India has played hardball. I’m not saying that this is the only thing that made the Pak Army change its mind. Pakistan is realising that it is going to lose the US as an ally after it withdraws from the US – or at least Pakistan’s usefulness goes down. With China trying to cultivate Iran, my hypothesis is that Pakistan may become less useful to China as well in the future. Pakistan has to hedge its bets. Better to make peace with India now so that it is not at the beck and call of China completely in the future.

      Regarding CPEC, while it is too late to roll it back now, India will seek some form of security guarantees from Pakistan… that’s why I don’t see a deal happening so easily. China has put itself in between now.

      • Muhammad Aryan says:


        Thanks for a replying.

        FATF has been used more to corner domestic opposition in the name of ‘money laundering’ and ‘corruption’. Pakistan Army and its strategic hold over various State sectors remain as firm as ever. However, I must add that continuous unrest (Nawaz Sharif) in the Punjab province could force the the highest echelons of the Establishment to reconfigure its political management. Nawaz Sharif is the most formidable civilian piece on our political chessboard. If the Army does not desist from strangulating his base, there would be a reaction within the Army.

        Secondly, Pakistan’s geography will keep it useful. Iran has been very careful not to project Chabahar as a rival port to Gwadar. A Pakistani coastline unfriendly to Tehran would severely undermine and restrict Iranian naval maneuverability.

        Lastly, the recent high profile developments on the Iran-China front should be seen within the context of the sanctions regime. Besides, a land route through Pakistan is still the best option for Beijing which the latter would not abandon that easily. Interestingly, there are forces (definitely pro-US) in Pakistan which have been deliberately sabotaging CPEC projects by subjecting them towards bureaucratic dead ends.


  9. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Respected Professor Karnad,

    I would highly appreciate your comments on the following statement of Subramanian Swamy;

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        That’s what I think as well. India is the only country in this so called QUAD, which can confront China militarily.

        USA cannot even dream of kicking out India from the aforesaid group.

        This man Subramanian Swamy is just an attention seeker even his own party BJP doesn’t take him seriously.

        A man who harbored ambitions of becoming the Indian Prime Minister has ended up with a mere Rajya Sabha berth. At the age of 81 he seemed to have turned senile.

  10. Tony says:

    A pure sentimental gibberish which should have no room in dealing with Aurangzeb-Babar-Ghori loving Pistanis. Kautiliya would have seen these Paki overtures as biding time with India having 4th largest foreign currency reserves. Even Sri Aurobindo recommended complete and absolute end of that evil that calls itself country. Privithraj syndrome serves no good to aryavarta.

    • Sankar says:

      @prabhakaran — Absolutely. I could not agree more. It is a marvel that you refer to that great man Sri Aurobindo!

      After the 1962 debacle when the US and UK sent their military personnel to investigate what went wrong with the Indian Army and work out a program to prop up the Indian army’s firepower, the administration in Washington and London clamped down on Delhi that India must work out a plan to resolve Kashmir issue with Pak. On that point, Nehru put his foot down firmly that India would never hand over Kashmir on a silver platter to Pak. On that stand, the Anglo-American program to assist India militarily came to a screeching halt in the 1960s. Kashmir has been saved for India in history by repeated vetoes by the Soviets in the UN.

      Pak tried to wrest Kashmir out of India militarily by waging wars that failed. When the political climate was getting hot in East Pakistan, a number of times Pak sounded Delhi that they were willing to exchange East Pakistan with Kashmir. But point-blank Indira Gandhi refused to budge.

      Then they worked out a plan to get Kashmir by unleashing terrorism. That was the main motivation of Pak joining America’s Afghan war and learning the methodology of Islamic jihad. After the end of the Afghan war, they gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden for carrying out jihad in Kashmir. When bin Laden failed due to resolute counteraction by the Indian intelligence and army, they just passed on bin Laden at the end of his “use-by-date” to the Americans to eliminate him.

      At present Pak is in dire financial trouble and terrorism is financially a drain on the State. So, Pak needs some respite and get out of its financial quagmire. You do not need to be a great genius to work out why Pak wants a rest from its jihad in Kashmir and hence Bajwa’s olive branch.

      And what is there for the Hindu Kashmiris in POK? All the Hindu temples and other records have been destroyed by Pak’s connivance there. In 1949 according to records in Delhi, Hindus were in majority in Muzaffarabad district (in POK). They have been all driven out by Pak’s policy of hate Hindu!

      In sum, I see MMS’s plan to solve the Kashmir issue is disastrous for India. As Manekshaw once commented, that India needs to be ever vigilant on Pak (and China). The birth of Pak was on the premise of hate Hindu. So as long as Pak is there, India will have to cope with that evil.

  11. veeman prabhakaran says:

    Dear Sir,
    Very disappointed to read this. As I get older in life, I realize how bankrupt our societly is with regard to the knowledge of its past. Our so called great intellectuals and strategists are also in the same boat. The real issue is not about India and Pakistan but the magnitude of violence and genocide against our civilization that was carried out. It is obvious you have no idea about that. There is no culture/civilization left in North India (just compare the temples in the south and north and it would be obvious ), as it was all but destroyed. What remains are survivors and collabarators of that genocide which for some reason no one talks about. All that remains to be done is settling the score with the Mohammedans no matter what the cost. I know I have wasted my time on this comment.

    • Veeman Prabhakaran@ — Understand your pain. But undoing history is a quixotic and ultimately futile exercise. Pakistan is reality, which a strategic adversary such as China can only hope becomes India’s all-consuming obsession that fritters Indian resources.

      • Always says:

        No matter all ties that you suggest they nurse hostile intentions who knows they may be following the trope of bide your time and build capabilities. A strong Pakistan doesnt serve India interest. Its a geopolitical bully which aspires to lead Islamic countries.The only kind of relationship we can have with them should be similiar to what china has with them currently.If they sense any weakness any laxity they will definitely strike like in Kargil.The hate they have for lallas and Hindus wont just go away.Just look at the way they treat our diplomats who are deputed in Pakistan do we do the same.We shouldnt base our relationship with Pakistan based on some feel good pappi jhappi and be always willing to retaliate by hitting below their belt they respect bigger bullies and strength.

    • Amit says:


      A lot of Indians live in its glorious mythical civilised past without really knowing what is true and what is fiction. India was never great at recording its history and whatever history we may have recorded was probably lost in the fiery carnages at Nalanda, Taksha Shila etc. instead of living in the past, it would be better if Indians recognised their current shortcomings and fixed them so that it becomes a top global power again. Not much point in harping about its glorious past or lack of knowledge of it, feeling victimised and criticising the present lack of civilisation (let the Chinese do that, thank you very much). It’s a terrible waste of energy. Better to use that energy to identify and fix flaws we have, creating new knowledge along the way.

    • Mr. Guy says:

      Veeran Prabhakaran@ — “All that remains to be done is settling the score with the Mohammedans no matter what the cost.”

      Lol!, famous last words! Now, what exactly are you going to do about it?

  12. From Joydeep Sircar,, Sun, 28 Mar at 11:40 am, by email

    You are as gullible as IK Gujral, who thought his ‘insights’ gave him the key to a lasting and equitable peace. Bajwa is squirming because he is feeling choked by the Chinese collar and financial woes. India has stood off China, and the realization is sinking in that this death by a thousand cuts business is bleeding Pakistan more than lndia. The Quad business has sent shivers down Xi’s spine, who is dreading the steady rise of lndia’s international profile, and realising that being shackled to the rotting carcass of a dead dog like Pakistan move may not help, and GHQ Rawalpindi may not deliver CPEC. The prospect of keeping the stupid Americans in play by the Afghan carrot is a strategy of diminishing returns. Providing comfort to Pakistan should be the least of our concerns : just enough incentive to keep the LOC quiet should be enough.Kashmir will remain a minor nuisance, like a case of eczema. Giving statehood to that nest of traitors would be a retrograde step.

    What we need are new strategies and weaponry to defeat China in the sub-military conflict space, neuter the domestic enemies, and ensure our survival in the age of global warming.

    • Never seen the point of the endless, indecisive, India-Pakistan hostilities. Can’t imagine the opportunity costs of the Indian military’s Pak fixation and of the proportionate weakening of the Indian front with China.

    • whatsinitanyway says:

      Joydeep ji you’re spot on. These heathens from across the border deserve a beating, before they even aspire of peace and tranquillity. Something like a treaty of Versailles should be offered to ridicule them. Atleast from their reaction after such an offer, we can assess how much are they willing to make ‘peace’.

  13. Prabal Rakshit says:

    Prof Karnad,
    You have always advocated that Indian policy establishment look beyond Pakistan and focus on China as the biggest threat, which thanks to Galwan etc. is becoming true. To this end, even it means us proactively pitching for peace with GHQ, Rawalpindi.

    However don’t you think, that it would not be ‘business as usual’ for any Indian government, till the cross border terrorism tap is turned off? Irrespective of the quantum of goodwill s/he has, no Indian PM can afford to look soft when incidents like Uri/ Pulwama take place.

    And CBT is an extremely helpful tap for Pakistan (and in extension China) as it keeps the Indian armed forces tied down. (For example: as you mentioned in ‘Staggering Forward;, it costs almost 7 times to groom an Army soldier vs a paramilitary jawan).

    In this context what can India do to ensure that CBT is accompanied by a prohibitively high cost, so that turning the tap on is no longer an option for Pakistan? You have mentioned options like snipers and sleeper cells, but how realistic do you think they are? I feel if this is not donw, we will never be able to have peace that is based on a lasting foundation.

    Would appreciate your thoughts.
    Prabal Rakshit

    • Prabal Rakshit@ — Bajwa’s offer is indication of the Pakistani deep state’s conclusion that the country has wrung all the advantage it could from a confrontationist stance, and that an honourable peace be negotiated with India. Both govts know the 2007 solution is practicable. One only hopes Modiji will have the strategic sense to incentivize Indo-Pak trade and build up economic stakeholders in Pakistan for enduring peace with India — the only way to begin minimizing China’s role in Pakistan and, thereby, South Asia.

  14. Sir, I have read almost all of your articles. They are disheartening but insightful.

    Please write one on domestic threats, for a change.

    Any topic of your liking or expertise.

  15. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Representatives of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand attended.

    It means that the aforesaid countries support these Myanmarese Army Generals therefore unfortunately they will stay in power.

  16. ranjith says:

    It is better to lose Kashmir in a war rather than allowing a trojan horse called “Joint Mechanism” with Pakistan. Within a decade the entire Kashmir will be turned into an extension of Pakistani Punjab with generous help from our own secular cabal. “Joint Mechanism” will not be the end of the Kashmir problem, it will be the beginning of another.

    • Not sure why you think the joint mechanism will not work. The same thing was said about the Indus Water treaty. Hasn’t India pretty much had its way there?

    • Ram says:


      What’s stopping us from declaring a war and perhaps “winning all of Kashmir” and possibly “winning all of Ladakh” as well? Didn’t China just offer us the opportunity for the latter last year?

      Perhaps the Indian military (and the devastated Indian economy) is fully prepared now than at any other point of time in history for a two front war.

      For all the bravado and chest thumping , why do you think the Indian government is engaged in “endless rounds of talks” when as per your suggestion, the desired results can be easily achieved with a war?

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        @Ram, Excellent point made by you. Listen folks stop living in a fantasyland. Wake up and smell the coffee.

        India can never take so called POK by force. Pakistan can never capture Indian Kashmir by force and last but not the least China can never claim Taiwan by force.

        All these talks by the ultra nationalists in the aforementioned countries is just to fool the masses.

        Last year, China gave India an opportunity by initiating aggressive move at its borders with India.

        It was a golden chance for Amit Shah (India’s Home Minister) to transform his words, (which he uttered in the Indian Parliament regarding taking back the whole of Aksai Chin from China) into action.

        Why didn’t GOI and the Indian army took up the challenge?

        Wars are fought when economies are in dire straits. Nobody fights during prosperous times. Indian economy has been severely impacted due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. The country is witnessing record figures of unemployment.

        Every unemployed person from the age of 18-50 can be drafted into “Modi Sena”. One month of army training and this force will get back POK & Aksai Chin.

        All of you on this forum, who are in favor of military action to reclaim the lost lands should volunteer for this “Modi Sena”

  17. krishna soni says:

    Sir why not adopt a strict stance against the pakistanis and break Pakistan into 4 states without fighting an actual war as Ronald Reagan did with USSR, I agree with your views that China is the primary threat,but agreeing on the joint mechanism is giving Kashmir into the hands of radical Islamist terrorists.

    • Nation states, once they come into being, are hard to breakup. Bangladesh was a one-off thing; Pakistan faced a perfect storm there, which is hard to replicate.

      • Sankar says:

        What happened to Yugoslavia? Or for that matter the erstwhile Soviet Union?

        Well, in my reading of events, “Pak” was not facing a storm, to begin with. To recall history briefly, the Bengali Muslims created “original” Pakistan in 1947 – population-wise they were more than twice in number in the 1940s in the count with the Muslims in western India Punjab and the rest. The Bengali Muslims started their movement for a Muslim nation.

        In fact, the Sikhs were the first to stake claim to form their own nation (remember Patiala?) when the independence of British-India raised its head in the political arena a century ago in various forms. The Sikhs did not have the numbers, so their proposal fizzled out. But the Bengalis could make a case when the western Punjabis were taken into account.

        Jinnah of the Muslim League with the connivance of the Colonial Power (British) took control and hijacked the case for a Muslim Nation over the head of the Bengali Muslims. I doubt Pakistan would have been created if the Bengalis were not for it in the first place. As the former British Prime Minister observed some time ago, the policy of approving an independent Pakistan out of the British dominion of India was the biggest blunder of the Empire in its history.

        Once the independent ‘Muslim’ nation (Pakistan) took its birth under the command of Jinnah, the tyranny of the minority (West Pak) unfolded on the majority (East Pak). There you have it. The Bengali Muslims refused to accept their position as ‘inferiors’ in the nation and all hell broke loose after twenty years.

        I should note that according to recorded history, the Baluchis did not want to be part of the Pakistan state – they wanted to be part of India. I do not know why Gandhi-Nehru Congress refused to accept their case. I think they still are eager if any opportunity arises. In fact, by some accounts, Baluchis are giving hell to China in its belt-and road program there. And Baluchis are supported by RAW covertly. It could be that China has put pressure on Pak to cool down with India so that Delhi also keeps its lid down with the Baluchis. Hence, Bajwa’s olive branch.

        It is worth noting in the context Indira Gandhi’s policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. This was simply “Hit hit, talk talk, hit hit , talk talk …”. It paid a huge dividend for India by raising the Mohajir issue in that era, Karachi was a burning tinder box. Nobody knows what would be the outcome for Pak’s sovereignty now had that movement continued.

        The Mohajir movement in Karachi was halted when Gujral withdrew India’s support for it – strange in my understanding. Gujral and MMS are displaced families from West Pakistan. And they should have been well-versed in Pak’s perfidy, but not. They were the two very retrograde PMs India had. In my understanding, it is not certain to assume Pak to survive in its present form – it could break up again due to its internal contradictions.

  18. Kunal Singh says:

    But for GHQ the threat from Ind. is a tool to remain in dominance. They own fertilizer plants, real-estate, infotainment etc. & swaying people. Why would they want to reduce their repertoire. Isn’t the best option is to corrupt their elites i.e. military there, like USSR and US did to Indians during cold war btw they still do that.

  19. krishna soni says:

    Sir@Professor Karnad ‘The Indian Navy has reportedly clarified its stance to the federal government that the construction of six nuclear-powered attack submarines would take precedence over the third aircraft carrier, to counter the rapid expansion of the Chinese military activity in the Indian Ocean’ is this a good development and the GOI deserve praise,you had mentioned the need of nuclear-powered attack submarines over aircraft carrier in your articles.

  20. krishna soni says:

    Respected Sir @ Professor Karnad is Turkey a threat for India,if yes what should India do to deal with it.

  21. ashraf jehangir qazi says:

    The Kashmiris have an internationally recognized legal right to resist. Pakistan has an internationally internationally recognized legal right to assist. India does not have a similar right to threaten the Kashmiri right to exist. But as a big power it can ignore law and morality as none of the still bigger powers will compel it to desist.
    This conundrum cannot be resolved until the national narratives of India and Pakistan vis a vis each other begin to find room for each other’s perceptions and priorities. This appears impossible today. But well before 2050 current justified and science-based fears about the 21st century being the last century for human civilization and organized human survival are, as of today, overwhelmingly likely to be irreversibly confirmed. Unless countries around the world can come together in historically unprecedented and comprehensive cooperation. If the leadership of both Pakistan and India cannot or will not recognize this common existential challenge and its policy implications and imperatives they will be committing the ultimate crime against their peoples both respectively and collectively. They are fated to be either partners in crime or partners in wisdom and transcending virtue.

    • For those who may not be aware: Ashraf Jehangir Qazi is, perhaps, Pakistan’s best known diplomat of recent times. Besides a stint in Delhi as Pakistan’s High Commissioner (1997-2002) , he was ambassador to the United States, China, and Russia, and UN Special Representative to Sudan and to Iraq.

    • Sankar says:

      Ashraf Jehangir Qazi@ —
      Thank you for your moral lecture.
      Are you also extending the same “legal right to resist” to the Baluchis?

    • Marco A Ciaccia says:

      Ashraf Jehangir Qazi@ –Respected Ambassador, living in Italy and in a failed geo-strategic environment (EU crashing within), I full-heartedly support your broad vision that South-Asian appeasement and ultimately federalism centred around Pakistan-Indian detente is and will be the geostrategic task of regional diplomacies in the decade.

  22. Vivek says:

    Any comments on below

  23. Sankar says:

    PS. The British PM I have referred to in my previous post was Tony Blair!

  24. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    The aforesaid article is from September 2020 but it’s quite well written and factual.

  25. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    It seems normalization of Indo-Pak ties will just remain a pipe dream;

  26. Amit says:

    @Always…well said! It is unlikely Pakistani attitudes will change. The only way to manage Pakistan is to keep up relentless pressure and let it disintegrate through its own actions or keep up the pressure so that it is compelled to meet India’s strategic interests. Good relations are beneficial to both countries but India should develop alternatives and minimise Pakistani value while keeping up the pressure on Pakistan. The reason they are willing to reach out to India is due to extreme internal and external pressures. India is the bigger power and any solution must ensure Indian strategic interests. No pappi jhappi required. Only hammer and tongs.

  27. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    An excerpt from the above news link;

    “The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Khan on Thursday rejected the proposal of the high-powered committee to import cotton from India, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asserting that there can be no normalisation of ties until New Delhi reverses its decision in 2019 to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir”

    If Modi Government reverses its 2019 decision on Jammu & Kashmir then the BJP government will face loads of flak from the opposition as well as from within its own ranks. So, the status quo will prevail no restoration of normal ties between India and Pakistan.

    • Sankar says:

      “If Modi Government reverses its 2019 decision…” –

      First, it carries no sense legally or politically to make a case of reversing the steps taken regarding Art 370 in 2019 which has been hotly debated in the parliament on that occasion – there is no parallel here with the “cotton import” case in Pak.

      To recall the history of Art 370, it came into existence in sometime in1953 (?) – it was not there in 1947. So, Art 370 did not exist for the period 1947-1953. Maharajah’s accession was not subject to any condition – he had signed up the same document which all other Princes did for the rest of India, albeit a delay.

      The clause “temporary and transient” for Art 370 stands as a “sunset clause” that implies it automatically expires after a certain date although that date was not explicitly entered at the time. It cannot have legal standing as a “permanent clause” as the opponents have clamoured and raised the false impression in the public mind.

      As Amit Shah argued in the parliament debate, in my view very correctly, that more than half a century has elapsed now, so how could the provisions be still valid for something which was set as “temporary and transient”. If the procedures for nullification as set for the relevant representatives have not been taken for half a century, the Presidential decree could be applied as defunct now. This article came into existence in 1953 by a Presidential decree, and hence no debate or votes were taken in the parliament at the time also.

      In legal terms, the provisions in Art 370 are defunct for a long time. If the Delhi parliament wishes, it can introduce some other Article for sure, but it cannot resurrect something which is already defunct!

  28. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Professor Karnad, a write up of yours on the Naxalite issue in India would be highly appreciated especially in light of the latest massacre;

  29. krishna soni says:

    ‘PM Modi’s recent speech at the Combined Commanders’ Conference, the most vital annual meeting in terms of India’s defence, there is one aspect that deserves attention and critical analyses — Modi’s reference to an indigenous military doctrine’.
    Respected Sir @Professor Karnad could you explain what is an indigenous military doctrine is it similar to the articulated national vision which you had mentioned in your articles and writings.

  30. Shivam says:

    I think we are reading too much of it. Pakistan’s “ONE UPMANSHIP” mentality will never let India to emerge as a regional power. So the Bajwa’s claim regarding Conventional capabilities and Arms Race, have more to deal with the Economy of Pakistan rather than Change of threat perception.Threat buildup focusing India caters Pakistan Army old obsession of treating India as a “Hindu” state, and their responsibility to defend ” Ideological Boundary of Islam” along with cementing Pakistan population devotion toward their army as a “Savior”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.