Xijinpingistan is why India should co-opt Pakistan

Rules of the new game: Can India do business with an Imran Khan-led  Pakistan? - Cover Story News - Issue Date: Aug 13, 2018
[Imran Khan with Prime Minister Modi, 2016]

It is my perennial lament. I pen it again, with sorrow, on the country’s 73rd Republic Day. (Yea, I watched the parade — but what’s with the marching columns with .303 rifles of World War I vintage, or the 60-year old Centurion tanks on carriers? And, how come every imported flying object was featured in the massive fly-past but not the home grown Tejas LCA?)

The lament is about the Indian government being so addle-brained it still doesn’t know which is its one true enemy — Xijinpingistan, a fact that, in one sense, is at the root of all our external problems and the country’s subordinate status. [The suffix ‘stan’ to denote the orientalizing of the Communist Chinese state as a cult along Stalinist lines!]As a people, we are so blinded by traditional prejudices and cultural bias, rational strategizing goes out the window. I am referring to the anti-Muslim sentiment, of course.

This factor has shaped India’s foreign policy, undermined vital national interests, and shrunk the country into a dependency and a pawn in the global chessboard of power politics. It offers an object lesson for other well endowed states on how not to screw things up and connive at one’s own reduction. The real tragedy, however, is that no one — not the people at-large, not the government, and not the policy establishment, has learned from this still unfolding fiasco, because no one thinks anything is seriously wrong!

Antipathy to subcontinental Islam, Muslims, anything remotely local Muslim-related (and even Urdu language, aka Hindustani — a mellifluous hodge-podge of Arabic, Farsi, and a host of dialects of the Gangetic Plains that Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was barely able to mouth it but imposed it as state language on Pakistan where it was alien to both its western and eastern wings!) is real, and a horrendous liability. Externalized and cemented into India’s Pakistan policy, this antipathy has diverted the country from taking on Xijinpingistan by criminally frittering away national resources and effort. If, as I keep saying, New Delhi misperceives Pakistan, which is at most a military nuisance, as a full-blooded threat, then it is no surprise it gets very little else right in the national security sphere either. The result is the Indian government and the Indian military have saddled the nation with the problem of a menacing Xijinpingistan which, frankly, they seem incapable of handling but, curiously, makes them more determined to beat down Pakistan!

Xijinpingistan (also known previously as Dengxiaopingistan and, still earlier, as Maozedongistan) is, however, doing India and Indians a favour. By clubbing the slumbering, lumbering and slow-witted trimurti of Indian government, Indian military, and the Indian foreign policy establishment, on their heads with ceaseless military moves to grab more and more Indian territory, disadvantage Indian forces in-theatre and on every dip in the terrain, and consolidate the disputed border along its desired lines in eastern Ladakh it has, sort of, wakened India and, possibly even the Indian government, to the mortal danger that it poses. But still nowhere enough for the country finally and irrevocably to orient itself strategically, militarily, economically and diplomatically to take on Xijinpingistan.

The latest frictive development is the bridge nearing completion over the sort of elongated boomerang-shaped Pangong Lake, to connect its Moldo garrison on the southern shore with its stronghold on the Khurnak Fort on the northern bank. Khurnak marks nearly the mid-point of the lake and was under Indian control until the 1962 War when the Gurkha unit — 3/1, I think, posted there was swamped by the PLA. The fact of the Khurnak area as Indian territory was not contested by Maozedongistan in the numerous meetings the two sides had in the period leading up to the ’62 hostilities. As always and in its usual reactive mode, MEA is all aflutter about this new construction, reminding the world just how casual and negligent the Indian government has been since 1947 about losing territory and more, how it has lacked the guts militarily to vacate the creeping annexation by the adversary on the Line of Actual Control. Aware that the Modi regime is as noodle-spined as the earlier Indian governments, and will do nothing no matter what the latest outrage or provocation, the Xijinpingi official rag — Global Times, editorially advised Delhi to stop making a “fuss” about that bridge.  (https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202201/1246411.shtml )

An obedient GOI is bending over backwards to not make a fuss about developments in Ladakh. It is important to gain perspective though: Maozedongistan succeeded with its 1962 hostilities to strip India of its military big power pretence. Dengxiaopingistan nuclear missile-armed Pakistan and, at a stroke, strategically crippled India by tying it militarily to a hapless and flailing state on the flank which move, incidentally, only reinforced New Delhi’s predisposition to mistake a cat for a tiger, and then crowned this strategy by making it all cost-free and economically profitable for itself by getting the appeasement-minded-Indian establishment to accept heavily unbalanced bilateral trade. So, hey, can Beijing be blamed for believing that the Indian political leadership across parties is a “confederation of dunces”?

In this context, Xijinpingistan’s capture and formal absorption of the Indian Aksai China region of eastern Ladakh, vide its new sovereignty law, is by MEA’s debased reckoning, a mere blip! And it will so remain even when a yet more adventurous Xi orders a new round of territorial grab come this Spring and summer. Once again, the Indian army will be “surprised”, will get quickly on the backfoot, and scrounge around for reasons to explain why it neither anticipated, nor resisted, the PLA.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan in Islamabad filled a hall with government officials and the like to announce in the first week of the New Year a National Security Policy [NSP-1, 2022-26] that’s been in the making since 2014. News reports about its contents suggest that the only new thing in it is its discovery of “geoeconomics” at a time when Xijinpingistan’s bullish, one-sided, economic profit-mongering policies have turned the rest of the world against the idea of economic interdependence. Of course, there’s the obligatory mention in the NSP of India needing to reverse the abrogation of Constitution Articles 370 and 35A conferring special status on Jammu & Kashmir, before a dialogue can be initiated to realize the fruits of normalcy. Except, without normalcy in Indo-Pak ties any tilt by Pakistan towards geoeconomics is nonsense.

But, most noticeably, this document heralds Islamabad’s inward turn, its principal focus shifting to the revival of a plunging economy by increasing trade and export revenues, attracting foreign investment, and somehow riding out the economic crisis engulfing Pakistan. Pakistan is in a dual debt trap and is obliged to service debts owed the International Monetary Fund and China. Debt servicing will take up some 70 percent plus of the budget into the forseeable future. Because the Pakistani currency is expected soon to fall to 200 rupees to a US dollar level, and because Pakistan imports just about everything what people buy by way of esentials grow pricier by the day with neither China nor IMF in a mood to cut Islamabad slack. It is forcing the Imran Khan government to take on still more debt to payoff current creditors, and willy-nilly to push that country deeper into “circular debt” — a vicious cycle it cannot easily escape.

To add to Imran’s troubles, his regime’s main prop — the Pakistan army, accustomed to living comfortably off some 16% of the budget, is uneasy. With some 70% of the budget sequestered for debt repayment, 16% of the remaining 30% in absolute terms leaves the Pakistan government next to nothing to spend on health and social welfare, after other government expenditures — in the main, the salary bill of government employees, the railways, P&T, and the public sector industry, is met. The international pressure to generate more revenues to payoff these spiralling debts means increased taxes on petrol, grain and foostuffs, gas in the kitchen stove, and such, until now when the Pakistani people have their cup of woe runneth over. Their discontent stoked, the Pakistani people are sliding into a rebellious mood, a terrible situation exacerbated by rising sectarian and terrorist violence unleashed by several well-armed, well funded and highly motivated outlier elements.

Among these are the extremist Tehreeq-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) fighting to obtain strict sunni salafi rule. In October last year, it dug up arterial highways (the Grand Trunk Road) and held the country hostage until the Imran Khan government capitulated (which ending mirrored the farmer agitation on Delhi’s borders). Then there is the Tehreeq-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) whose disregard for the Durand Line is reflected in its aim to wrest FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province away from Pakistan for a Greater Afghanistan either for the Taliban regime in Kabul or, more ambitiously, to spin off into a twin Sharia-run emirate. Soon after ending the ceasefire agreement with the Imran govt on January 23, a bunch of explosions rocked Pakistani cities TTP took credit for. Then there are the freedom fighters of the Baluch Liberation Army (BLA) and the Baluch National Army (BNA), who are accused of getting support from India, and the embryonic sub-regional nationalist movements in Sindh and the shia-dominated Gilgit-Baltistan. All these groups are insurgent in nature and the Pakistani state has failed to quell them.

The Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) find they are hoist with their own petard. Having at America’s behest originally spawned, nursed and deployed jihadi terrorists to oust the Soviet occupation forces from Afghanistan in the 1980s, they find they cannot distance themselves from the various orgs that have splintered from that mujahideen whole, including the Afghan Taliban, al-Qaeda (recall that Osama bin Laden was among the mujahideen ranks fighting the Soviet troops) and Daesh (Islamic State) and its Khorasan variant, or prevent a blowback in terms of the more rabid sections among them turning on their one-time benefactors — the Pakistan army and state. The ISI, on its part, has resisted shutting down these terrorist/mujahideen gangs because of their utility as coercive instruments to target India and, as trouble-making leverage, to extract monies and policy concessions from the US and the West. Hence, the Pakistan army wants nothing to do with anti-terrorist/counter-insurgency ops, like the one it mounted in FATA some years back. The Pakistani paramilitaries and the police are left facing the brunt.

If the internal situation is beyond alarming, the external milieu isn’t less onerous for Pakistan. With the US distancing itself, Islamabad is minus the surefire option of relying on Washington to douse any startling Indian military reaction to terrorist incidents that ISI-nurtured Kashmiri militants may engineer within Kashmir or elsewhere in India. The Arab states in the Gulf find India a more promising partner and have all but abandoned Pakistan. Firming up the nexus with China only heightens its strategic dilemma without easing the debt-trap, even though most of the infrastructure associated with the China-Pakistan Economc Corridor (CPEC), including the Gwadar port, will mostly serve Xijinpingi interests. Also, Xijinpingitsan is not convinced Pakistan can stop sunni mullahs from Pakistan and Afghanistan from infiltrating through the Wakhan Corridor into Xinjiang and there radicalizing the restive Uyghur Muslim majority population, or that the Pakistani state can protect the Chinese staff and labourers working on CPEC projects. The $11.4 million extracted from Islamabad by the Xijinpingi state as recompense for the six or so Chinese killed in the terrorist attack on the bus carrying them to project site, may have made the Chinese CPEC employees in Pakistan more attractive targets. Worse, a Taliban-run Afghanistan has worsened Pakistan’s position on the frontier because the fate and the future of FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa now depend on how hard the powerful Taliban Afghan defence minister Mullah Yaqoob (son of the emir of the first Taliban regime, Mullah Omar) will push to recover these once Afghan territories.

With just about everything that can go wrong going wrong for Pakistan, the COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has almost thrown up his hands, and left the floundering Imran government to its own devices, to make peace with India if it can. The desperately difficult straits Pakistan finds itself in is an obvious prompt for the viscerally anti-Muslim/anti-Pakistan elements in the Indian society to rejoice. But for them to see this as the beginning of the end of Pakistan is delusory. Whatever happens, Pakistan will no more fall apart than India will for any reason.

Incidentally, Bajwa is the third successive Pakistan army chief, after Ashfaq Kayani (2007-2013) and Raheel Sharif (2013-2016) to publicly declare that India is not a threat to Pakistan, but that armed militants of all kinds active within that country are the primary threat. This even as the Indian government and the Indian armed forces hyperventilate about Pakistan, which is less credible as a threat than as a joke.

I have repeatedly challenged senior military officers over the years to prove how Pakistan, whose GDP is one-thirteenth that of India’s, and whose total annual budget is less than India’s defence budget, can realistically be a threat. And have argued in my writings and books — see Why India is Not a great Power (Yet), that generosity will cost India nothing. That the Indian army can safely and unilaterally remove all forwardly deployed field units from the western border, and the Strategic Forces Command can do the same with nuclear-tipped short range ballistic missiles. And that, these two steps in tandem, I contend, will be the ultimate security and confidence building measures to induce GHQ, Rawalpindi, into sort of trusting India, and to feel somewhat reassured that India will do nothing to imperil Pakistan.

Taking such “de-militarization” steps, moreover, will free scarce financial resources, manpower, and war materiel that currently sustain a wasted aggressive forward posture on the western front symbolized by the three strike corps on the Gujarat-Rajasthan-Punjab front. And as I have detailed, it will help rationalize the three strike corps-based force structure into a single composite armoured corps for Pakistan contingencies while shifting the bulk of the now freed resources into the raising of two additional offensive mountain corps (OMCs) to augment XVII Corps now almost fully formed. Hopefully, the three OMCs can take the fight to the PLA on the Tibetan Plateau, and not just get locked down defensively on the LAC, or in bases on the plains (like XVII Corps in Panagarh).

Once the above moves eliminate its sense of insecurity, Islamabad will reconcile to reality and gladly grab at any figleaf of an “honourable” accord. The draft Musharraf-Manmohan Singh agreement is on the table. It can be tweaked to accommodate the new reality of separate Jammu, Ladakh and Valley administrative jurisdictions post-removal of Articles 370 & 35A.

But is it too much to expect some strategic soul within the vast edifice of the Government of India, just one person with clout in the Modi dispensation, to see such strategic opportunity not so much to push Pakistan’s head under water but for the Indian army as the senior service to take the lead in aligning the armed forces and the country more centrally against Xijinpingistan?

Even as the new military orientation and alignment is being implemented, the more urgent twin prong of this policy should be to rescue Pakistan from the abyss of economic disaster, domestic turmoil, and further encoilment in Xijinpingistan’s CPEC design. The Modi regime did the wonderfully good and right thing of providing Sri Lanka, which is in hock to Beijing and has just $1.5 billion as usable reserves, a billion dollar credit line. It has initiated the process of drawing the ruling Rajpaksa family away from the deadly lure of easy Xijinpingstani credit. It has already fetched India the strategic oil farm and a potential naval presence in Trincomalee that Lord Nelson called the finest deep water port in Asia. This is the blueprint for slowly but steadily diminishing the dragon’s footprint in India’s backyard. The hectoring and arm-twisting of neighbouring states have to be replaced by offering substantive deals which they cannot refuse and which will end up benefiting India strategically. Pakistan, like Sri Lanka, is ripe for co-optation, and should be given immediate economic assistance — a billion dollar credit line? At the other end, efforts need to be enhanced to bring Bangladesh more rapidly into the subcontinental fold, because Dhaka seems lately to be slipping into Xijinpingistan’s grasp. In this respect, why not provide all the adjoining countries free access to the Indian market for their wholly produced commodities and manufactures? This is economically feasible because the Indian economy is large and rich enough to afford and absorb such intra-subcontinental trade.

In any case, India is in a better place now to realize something it has not so far attempted — a pacified neighbourhood with all the adjoining states, including Pakistan, plugging naturally into the Indian economy, riding the connectivity infrastructure (railways, roads and communications networks) radiating outwards from India towards the subcontinent’s extremeties, producing peace and loads of common good in, what I have in my books called, the “Greater South Asia co-prosperity sphere”. This goal is entirely achievable. It is a nice thought to end the day with.

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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92 Responses to Xijinpingistan is why India should co-opt Pakistan

  1. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    The day any politician/political party in India as well as Pakistan stop the bogeyman theory of the next door neighbor being an existential threat to the other, that politician/party will lose its support base, clout and influence.

    India and Pakistan relations will never improve since, the status quo suits both the establishments. None of them will ever initiate any military move to claim back POK/IOK.

    Fear of the devil is bigger than the devil, this principle suits the elites in the power plus the military of both India and Pakistan.



      There are 3 separate schools in Indian political establishment that opposes the good relations with Pakistan.

      1. Identity school : This school believes that an Indian can only be an Indian when he/she is virulently anti-Pakistani. This is probably the most strong school of opinion particularly in the North Indian mainland.

      2. Mercantile school : This school believes that since India does more business with China than it does with Pakistan why not become more cozy with China ?

      3. Chanakya school : This school believes that since Pakistan is already a failed- state , there are no needs to make better ties with Pakistan. This school even opposes good relations with Pakistan thinking that if Pakistan becomes much better economically, it can become bigger nuisance to India. This is probably the most strong school of opinion particularly in places like Bengaluru and Chennai.

      Apart from all the above schools there is also another popular dimension which I would prefer to call as a cultural pattern.

      4. In India, people tend to view violence against their close neighbors as some sort of cultural superiority. Two biggest epics in India which are Ramayan and Mahabharata do glorify civil wars. Even in India we all tend to glorify 1971 which by Dr Karnad’s own words are nothing but “civil war between two different groups of the same British created Punjab regiment”. This cultural scenario ensures that it is not conducive for close neighbors to cooperate.

      Regarding integration of other South Asian countries’ integration into the Indian economy, this is something we need to discuss and debate further and compare with China.
      1. In my view, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh export more to China than they do to India. This has been a very consistent pattern over the last few years and since not easy to change it suddenly.

      2. Another factor here is Pakistan and Bangladesh want good trade relations with those border states with whom they have closer cultural affiliation like Punjab and Kashmir for Pakistan and West Bengal, Assam and Tripura for Bangladesh. What these two countries would love most is that New Delhi offer a complete free hand to these bordering states when it comes to doing trade with Pakistan and Bangladesh, respectively. But will this be possible at all ?

      3. Most neighboring states would welcome greater economic engagement with their bordering Indian states however they resent very much any political hegemony or “Greater South Asian co-prosperity sphere” or “Akhand Bharat” just look at how even tiny Nepal opposes Indian advise on its constitution. Most neighboring countries would love an outside power to balance against India. Hence China can use this very opportunity to increase her space within the region.

      Based upon above points, I believe it is unlikely that neighboring countries would accept Indian hegemony over their affairs. I would love your viewpoint here.


      @Tyagi you are right. The biggest example of the same here is how Mr Advani was shunted out of the party itself after he went to his paternal house in Karachi and praised Mr Jinnah.

  2. whatsintanyway says:

    You mentioned Chinese striking again in spring. Os it possible a lot of political calculations are involved in the upcoming elections, any actions on the border by China could play a significant role in future elections as well. Does elections increase the chances?
    Another questions to you Bharat Ji is even if India were to put out a hand through the thorny bushes …. will the Pakistanis accept, their whole point of existence was anti-India. On the other hand presntly there is this global trend to reclaim lost lands Russia Ukraine, China Taiwan, why shouldn’t we join the club and take back PoK taking advantage of the very situation you have described about Pakistan.

  3. Amit says:


    How to deal with Pakistan is one area I’m not yet buying your views as I feel there are still some unanswered questions and additional facts on the ground that need to be considered (even after reading your book WIINAGP(Y).You have a much superior understanding of the workings of the Indian, Govt., Bureaucracy and the Military, but sometimes an outside in view can also be useful.

    Would be great to hear your views on the following:

    1. Radicalisation of large sections of the Pakistani society and the brainwashing of the population for at least a couple of generations against India – you don’t talk about this much in your book and how this impacts any deal with India

    2. Ability of the Pak Army and ISI to control the jihadi network – will they be able to sell a peace agreement to the jihadi network without a favourable Kashmir outcome? This network is more virulent now than 15 years back

    3. How to handle the CPEC – this is a new fact on the ground, not relevant during the Singh-Musharraf times. India can never agree to CPEC without some kind of joint security, which China will oppose

    4. Ability of Pakistan to take aid from India when it gets substantial aid from China for the CPEC. China can easily turn the screws on Pakistan if it tries to normalise relations with India. This is also a difference in the ground situation from 15 years back.

    There are some good ideas you suggest, which could be tried out to test Pakistan. Like a further reorientation of army divisions towards China and potentially a bail out package like Sri Lanka’s. However, India should get something in return for this. It has tried the unilateral route in ‘71, and suffered for it (retuning 93+k POWs and territory for no significant gain).

    But all this also depends on how the above issues will pan out. Would appreciate your comments.


      I believe the most crucial issue in this country is that hatred towards Pakistan is the only glue that is now left to bind together the Indic civilization. Without this , this civilizational entity will fall apart like so many empires before. Henceforth I believe this country cannot make peace with Pakistan.

    • Deepak says:

      @Amit,you missed the most important point.Ending enmity between India and Pakistan is going to make Pak army and ISI irreverent.Is Pak army and ISI ready to close their successfully running profit making business.

  4. Email from Lt Gen, Ajay Singh (Retd):
    From Ajay Singh
    Wed, 26 Jan at 7:56 pm

    Dear Bharat ,
    I have written earlier that we need to re-initiate a dialogue from a position of strength that we have always been , but have failed to optimise.
    Am in agreement that this is a good time to reach out & put the ball in Pak’s court . Let them decide if they are serious . In any case it’s a good strategy for nuclear armed adversaries to have communication channels open .
    Apart from a Pol dialogue, an Army to Army dialogue is long overdue,, I had proposed this way back in 2008-09 as DGPP but there were no takers,, maybe it’s time has come .
    Internal political compulsions should not constrain our strategic direction .
    Infact you pre-empted me,, was plg to write a piece on the same.
    Best Regards,

    • AK@ — It is a pity your PP initiative did not gain traction. You may be interested to know that in April 1996 ‘The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs’ published a research paper of mine — “Key to Peace in South Asia: fostering ‘social links’ between the armies of India and Pakistan”, online now at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00358539608454306. A version of this paper was also published in the USI Journal around that time. Among other things, it recommended regular meetings between the armed services chiefs of staff, cross-border sports engagements at the regimental level, and the cross hosting of young officer-scholars interested in researching the history of “partitioned” army regiments.
      The important thing is that among Pakistani politicians who visited me at the Centre for Policy Research, it was a copy of this article that most of them had heard about and asked for.

    • Deepak says:

      Sir, do you think Pak army whose survival and budget allocation is based on selling the dream of taking Kashmir and always maintain importance by showing threat of India is going to loose this hold over the country so easily by ending enmity with India.
      If enmity between India and Pakistan ends then biggest looses will be Pak army and ISI.
      They will never let it happen.Indian policy makers should permanently come out of dream of friendly Paksitan which is not possible realistically.

  5. Email from Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd)
    ARUN P
    Wed, 26 Jan at 7:24 pm
    For once – I am in agreement.
    Both Sun Tzu and Kautilya would approve of your suggestion, especially since it
    could be the single stone that kills many birds; i.e.,
    eliminate one ‘front’; create a cleavage in the hostile axis;
    and (given adroit diplomacy) even split the adversary alliance;
    and most importantly, engender domestic harmony.
    O’ for a Bismarck + Metternich/Castlereagh.
    But little to be lost & much to be gained by trying.
    Arun Prakash

  6. Email from Rear Admiral Raja Menon (Retd)
    Raja Menon
    Wed, 26 Jan at 7:05 pm

    I entirely agree with your views. But as a matter of interest who is skewing our foreign policy. Is it Jaishankar or Doval or He who must not be named?
    Warm regards

    • Raja Menon@ — Policymaking, insofar as I can make out, is PM-centered with Modi as the fount of all policy ideas and directions. This may not, however, mean every foreign policy idea and initiative is Modi’s. But it does mean, as in any severely top-down setup, if something works Modi takes the credit; if it fails, Doval and Jaishankar fight to blame the other!

  7. Email from Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha (Retd):
    Arup Raha
    Wed, 26 Jan at 6:23 pm

    Your analysis has merit & deserves the attention of the strategic policy makers.
    Our fixation with Pak is changing progressively & to work on a bold plan we need Statesmen at the top who would not buckle under the conventional mindset of various institutions & the majority. South Asia & SAARC has so little in common with China but as a big neighbour India needs to have a big heart as well to strengthen the regional cooperation & bonding. China would remain a distant force & influence to reckon with.

    Arup Raha

  8. Email from Lt Gen Kamal Davar (Retd)
    Kamal Davar
    Wed, 26 Jan at 6:00 pm

    Bharat, absolutely brilliant thinking. Will circulate to some of my concerned friends. Please send one copy of this by post to the EAM, RM and NSA. Shorten this and send it directly to the PM who will be happy to hear of your views on Indian efforts towards Sri Lanka. A first class piece. Thanks for sharing. God bless, Kamal

  9. Lt Gen Kamal Davar@ — All these and other ideas to obtain a single front were in a 6-page note I handed over to the PM at the end of a session with a small group he had called in for consultation in November 2014. I was never contacted again.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Professor Karnad- A six page note to ‘Vishvguru’ ? If you get the same opportunity again then please hand him an abridged version of around 6 lines. Please get them translated into Gujarati beforehand.

    • Hsh says:

      The risk averse nature is because of bad execution.Taking such a risk with incompetent military incapable of formulating a response to even parliamentary attacks will be a political suicide in case Pakistan plays something similiar like kargil or uses terrorist groups to mount attacks in hinterland which our security apparatus has no counter.The current internal strife and hatred is because our armed forces failed to retaliate and deter Pakistan and let Pakistan get away with 26/11.This insecurity in public can be fixed by only having rapid retaliatory capabilities and robust internal law and order.Nutcases like zakir naik were allowed in India shows how effective our law and order machinery is of this is the cost to be paid for peace with pakistan than this is a bad deal.The public has no appetite for this nonsense. Basically our incompetent armed forces are just good at handling insurgencies forget china they cannot deter Pakistan.

    • V.Ganesh says:

      @BharatKarnad Why don’t you try giving this 6-page note of yours to pro-RSS and pro-BJP folks like Organiser, Panchajanya, India Foundation and Vivekananda International Foundation and others to name some? Maybe through them, Narendra Modi might see this note of yours and think about it.

  10. Deepak says:

    Sir,I do not believe Pakistan which was born due to hatred towards Hindus is going to be friend of India no matter what friendship you offer.Official motto of Pakistani army is “Jihad fi Sabilillah”.You cannot befriend these Jihadi’s.
    It is better Indian policy makers consider Pak/China duo as a single enemy instead of ranking them enemy number 1 and 2.
    India should do wait and watch for inevitable disintegration of Pakistan due to its own mistakes and Concentrate on handling China in a better way.

    • Amit says:

      @Deepak, you hit the nail in the head. At best India can further reorient it’s army divisions towards China for some short term relief on the western front. While it builds capacity against China. I do not believe conditions in Pakistan favour peace with India. They really have an identity problem (like you mentioned earlier). Plus what are we going to do with CPEC? Allow China to run it after we have made so called peace with Pakistan?

      • Deepak says:

        @Amit, Pak army men are officially self declared proud jihadis in uniform with business interests more than anything else.They are permanent rulers of Pakistan from the beginning no matter which party in power.Under any circumstance they are not ready to reduce their power by making friendship with permanent enemy who has given them this clout.
        This is the main reason why all earlier attempts for friendship with Pakistan failed.Kashmir is just bogey used by Pak army to serve their interests. Even if civilian leaders in Pakistan want good relation with India,Pak army and ISI always sabotage it from within.
        There is nothing much any leader/party in India can do to end enmity with Pakistan due to resistance from Pak army and ISI.


    Dear Dr Karnad,
    As usual an wonderful article from your mighty pen. However in this country the common people do identify themselves as Indians simply because they hate Pakistan. I believe there are no other glue left in this country now but this antipathy/hatred towards Pakistan to ensure the binding together of this humongous entity called India. In that scenario it is impossible for the establishment to accept your ideas.

    Do you really believe it will be realistic from you to expect this country of 1400 million to change its DNA from being anti-Pakistani to Sinophoebia so easily without any consequences ?

    • Reorienting the country and the people against China will be less difficult than you think– God knows, Xijinpingistan has given enough reasons! Modi, with his oratorical skills, can do that. All that’s needed for any Indian leader is that he be consistent and strong in his public messaging, and begin realigning the military, starting especially with the manpower-intensive army with its soldiery with roots and reach into the farthest corners of India. And the armed services too do their part by hammering away ceaselessly at the China-threat.

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        Modi’s oratorical skills!!! The man reads and speaks by looking at a teleprompter.

        He cannot take any question from journalists that’s why in the eight years since, he became the Prime Minister, he didn’t hold even a single press conference.

        In my opinion he speaks in a highly annoying nasal tone.

        BJP/RSS whole existence revolves around Hindu-Muslim polarization. Anything other is ‘out of syllabus’ for them.

        As other readers like Debanjan and Deepak have also pointed out there will never be any peace between India and Pakistan.

      • Amit says:


        Agree with you that Modi has the power to change the narrative given his 71% approval ratings in India (highest amongst 13 leaders globally) and his Hindi oratory skills. But your peace strategy with Pakistan has many unanswered questions, which make it difficult to be accepted.

      • Lkj says:

        @Gaurav going up the ladders from strictly hierarchical organisation like rss to reaching the position of PM with a majority govt in times of coalitions is remarkable feat he may not be a visionary like nehru but he knows his profession very well he is a damn good politician. It takes a certain degree of ruthlessness realpolitik to maneuver oneself to position of PM when he had a lot of opposition within his party itself with many PM contenders.Regarding the Hindu muslim issue other politician and parties were exploiting caste faultlines so how is it any different they were no holier than thou they just got outmaneuvered.

      • Ayush says:

        Dr karnad,as per a joint analysis produced by some retired top ranking military-intel officers,just 70-80 A-5s armed with the standard issue,reliable,respectable 500 kt FBF warhead is enough to reduce eastern Han china into radioactive slag,including crippling EMP attacks.It’s quite reasonable to assume that we have already achieved this figure as it’s been under serial production since the past four odd years.What we need is not tested megaton nukes but the willpower to use, or atleast the threaten the usage of what we have.Forget about evaporating Beijing,Shanghai just the threat blowing up the western theatre command HQ in chengdu with low yield warhead from Agni-prime will be enough to silence them.This is the same as Kim jong-un silencing Trump with the threat of “enveloping strikes” against Guam and EMP attacks against US west coast.But fortunately for Xi, his MSS assets in MEA ensure that none of the happens.

      • The additional megaton weapon tests apart, this is the case I have been making for over 20 years now, as also pointing to the the political will deficit.

    • Qwe says:

      Well Pakistan have worked very hard to cultivate this image.Hating your enemy or adversary is not necessarily a bad thing it gives clarity about oneself.


        @Qwe well so do you agree with me that hatred towards Pakistan is the only thing that keeps this country united since we cannot agree on anything ? The question is how can you convince people that instead of Pakistan they should hate China ? How can you make hatred towards China the identity of the people in this country like as you have made hatred towards Pakistan the identity of people in this country ?

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        @lkj- Nehru was no visionary. He rose to prominence largely due to his family’s wealth and influence.

        Ambani and Adani’s financial might is the main driving force behind Modi’s rise to the PM’s chair.

        Nothing has changed since 2014. Has any government office in India stopped taking bribes since the ‘chosen one’ assumed office?

        All his schemes are vague, rhetorics. What was the point of demonetization?

        A Modi Bhakt said that it destroyed Pakistani economy since, it was largely based on printing fake Indian currency. Well, if that’s the case what stops the ISI now from printing the fake versions of new Indian currency?

        Re: free gas. There are no free gas cylinders, only the initial connection fees has been waived off. If someone is too poor to afford a gas cylinder, how can they get a refill? In that case connection fees or no connection fees, doesn’t make any difference since, the family doesn’t have the financial resources to shift to gas cylinders.

        Opening up bank accounts is another nonsense. If an individual has no access to regular income, what good is a bank account to him/her?

      • To be fair, re: new bank accounts for the poor — government doles (MNREGS, etc) can be deposited directly into these accounts for the people to draw from. Earlier most of these funds were siphoned off by the “karamcharis” in the development assistance loop.


    Dear Dr Karnad

    This article by Shekhar Gupta brilliantly puts forward why India cannot co-opt Pakistan as you suggest. To put it short its the elections.



    I would love your views on this one by you sir.

    • Look, the political constraints (elections, etc) argument is a very old rationale for sticking with the unchanging basics, and not convincing considering other democracies have overcome or are in the process of overcoming socio-political constants. Such as Race in the UK and the US.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Peofessor Karnad- And Modi has replaced the “Sarkaari Karaamcharis” with BJP workers.

      BJP workers openly target slum dwellers and below BPL families telling them to register for X, Y, Z government schemes.

      When the money reaches the bank account of the aforesaid. BJP “karyakarttas” take their commission.

      No wonder BJP has made so many workers.


    Many prominent security and defense analysts ever since the 2020 Ladakh crisis have been calling for India to review the official position of considering Pakistan as the principle threat and replacing Pakistan with China as the main threat. Ever since the Pakistan government came up with the national security policy (NSP) , there are now frequent calls from this quarter to form some kind of understanding with Pakistan so as to ensure that the Indian defense forces can concentrate completely upon the China front. I have however written previously about three different lobbies i.e. “Identity”, “Mercantile” or “Chankyan” varieties respectively which will actually oppose any kind of co-opting with Pakistan.

    1. Benefits for good relations with Pakistan :-

    1. The only benefit that the defense analysts believe that they will have with good relations with Pakistan is that India can concentrate on one single front.

    2. Closer trade relations with Pakistan are also supported by some defense analysts. According to this particular school of thought India becomes the center of “South Asian co-prosperity sphere” i.e. India opens up the economic opportunity corridors for other smaller South Asian countries.

    2. Factors that oppose reconciliation with Pakistan :-

    1. The single front proponents :- Some people who are opposed to reconciliation with Pakistan feel that Pakistan is already very weak economically and militarily and therefore India does not need to invest too much actually to fight against Pakistan as it will win easily.

    2. No support for trade with Pakistan outside Punjab/Kashmir :- This is actually true that there are hardly any takers for extensive trade relations with Pakistan outside Punjab/Kashmir as per as the polity in this country is concerned. The only reason that Punjab/Kashmir support better trade relations with Pakistan are twofold ; one is the cultural proximity and the second is economic necessity. Both Punjab and Kashmir , after years of insurgency , needs to export to Pakistan as a safety valve for their restive populations.

    3. Identity, elections and DNA :- The biggest factor could be that an Indian has to be hostile towards Pakistan in order for him/her to be considered as authentic Indian. Elections are the biggest manifestations whereby election rallies turn in as Ram leelas whereby Pakistan is projected as the new “Ravan” i.e. the projection of everything that is un-Ram or un-Indian. It is very difficult to change a country’s DNA so easily. It is very difficult identify any other factor that can continue to unite this so diverse , vast and increasingly ungovernable country.

    To conclude, India considers Pakistan as too little and too inconsequential to merit any good relations whereas at the same time India needs Pakistan as an object of hatred and derision to unite itself. it will be very difficult for any policymakers in this country to suddenly change course based upon these two above factors.

  14. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    “We performed ‘aarti’ of Bharat Mata with a resolve to integrate India with Pakistan to make it ‘Akhand Bharat’. We are observing January 30 as the ‘Godse Apte Smriti Diwas’ day to express our anger over their arrest on January 30, 1948,” Hindu Mahasabha’s national vice president Jaiveer Bharadwaj told PTI over the phone from Gwalior.

    An excerpt from the following;


    So, Jaiveer Bharadwaj, when are you folks initiating the military operations against Pakistan?

    The Pakistani establishment must be shivering in fear 🤪😆

  15. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad Isn’t it better for India to let Sri Lanka suffer for the debts it owes to China? Sri Lanka still hasn’t addressed India’s concerns about the Sri Lankan Tamils including the provision in the Sri Lankan constitution for Sri Lankan Tamils signed when the late Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister.

  16. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad Why would the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi even think about offering a billion dollar line of credit to Pakistan? It would be a politically suicidal decision for Narendra Modi and the BJP. Remember, Amit Shah had vowed in Parliament to take back PoK, moreover the Parliament too had resolved to take back PoK.

  17. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad Isn’t it better for India’s neighbours who play it against China to go to the abyss with the weight of the debt they owe to China? India needs to get justice for its neighbours playing it against China.

  18. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad Since the current BJP-led NDA government headed by Narendra Modi is a Hindu nationalist government dedicated to making India a Hindu Rashtra, will it go ahead with a population transfer of Muslims in India with Hindus in Pakistan as suggested by the late B. R. Ambedkar, see this, http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00ambedkar/ambedkar_partition/514.html#part_6, to make India a Hindu Rashtra?

  19. Ayush says:

    Idea of co-opting Pak is the most delusional,farcical none sense I have ever heard.I grew up in Qatar,with a lot of Paki’s in my class ,including a guy whose uncle retired as a two star general from ISI.The amount of hatred they have for Hindus and non-Muslims in general is unprecedented.Besides,any attempt at outreach to pak in the background of Eastern ladakh will immediately be taken as sign of weakness,capitulation and appeasement.It will only embolden Xi to up the ante against India.Modi and Doval have correctly read this.The war hawks in the retired intel brass are advocating for an immediate pre emptive strike on pak,atleast its X Corps.We don’t have to launch a ground offensive just destroy its cognitive abilities I.e. vital communication nodes using ground and air launched cruise missiles.Then declare unilateral ceasefire.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Ayush- I agree with your point of Pakistan never developing friendly relations with India.

      I spent many years in The Netherlands and came in touch with loads of Pakistanis over there.

      In front of Dutch, Germans and other Europeans they used to call themselves as Arabs. They indeed possess a pathological hatred of India and Indians.

      Professor Karnad in his capacity as a learned, distinguished scholar must have been taken by the hypocritical talks of Pakistani army top brass.

      These folks are the masters of playing double games. They took huge funds from the Yankees while harboring Osama Bin Laden.

      However, this statement of yours;

      “The war hawks in the retired intel brass are advocating for an immediate pre emptive strike on Pak”

      They are advocating for it because they are retired.

      Modi and BJP have spoiled the Indian army rotten by needless/overhyped glorification of them. Indian army generals can only wage wars now from the TV studios.

      • Ayush says:

        If there is one good thing that modi has done strategically,that is treating Pak like the rabid dog that it is and adopting the big stick approach which Pak rightfully deserves.One of the main reasons for this current eastern ladakh standoff is Gen Bajwa’s meeting with Senior vice chairman CMC Xu Qiliang back in late august 2019.After art 370 revocation,India built up crushing military pressure on Pak.This standoff at LAC is partially meant to relieve that.But Doval has maintained the pressure with unrestricted covert warfare which has been earned a lot of plaudits from retired hawkish veterans.Doval is basically financing and arming anybody who is willing to kill paki soldiers and their Chinese masters in CPEC.Sabotaging CPEC has been a remarkable achievement.India must not loosen the pressure.Doval should further up the ante by supplying MANPADS to TTP which they have publicly requested,and even give them bounties to carry out mass-scale ,brutal suicide bombing against Punjabi population centers to cause maximum havoc and chaos.Ideally a bounty should be given for every Chinese guy they kill.

    • Saldin123 says:


      “brutal suicide bombing against Punjabi population centers to cause maximum havoc and chaos”

      There are many chickenhawks here, who constantly bluster out of their nether orifice. I think both Pakistan (swift retort) and China (ongoing standoff) have shown them for who they are…

      But, what you are advocating above is pure terrorism.

      There is a saying; live by the sword, die by the sword. Terror-mongers like you should experience it firsthand. God willing.

      • Gh says:

        Like mk dhar said The only way to blunt the bullies is to take the war into their house and hit at their jaundiced roots .


    @Gaurav Tyagi

    I feel like Dr Karnad that as a largest power (“big brother”) we could have been more accommodating towards Pakistan (or for that matter our other smaller neighbors) in the past (remember China did settle border disputes with both Nepal and Pakistan in the 1960-s and did offer a lot of concessions to them) but now it is a moot point. Today an Indian cannot be an Indian if he or she does not feel hatred towards Pakistan. This is the biggest reason that I believe India cannot have normal ties or for that matter co-opt Pakistan.

    Well it is not that we in India are absolutely blameless when it comes to Pakistan. Here in this forum even Dr Karnad have mentioned that RAW supports TTP as well as other Baluch terrorist groups while using the Afghan and Iranian soils.

    Also it is not that we have stopped bragging about 1971 every other minute. Please understand this Pakistan just at a very young age was broken into two with our active participation. It is very difficult for any nation to come out of that type of trauma when almost 60 per cent of its country and population are gobbled by a larger power. You immediately feel insecure and it is very difficult to come out of that type of feeling. I believe Indira could have used her significant influence on the Bangla leadership at that time to come to a negotiated end with their West Pakistani counterpart. I believe on the hindsight now if someone has to take a decision like that as they say they probably would not take that type of decision. The rest is history.


    If you look at 1947 the two of the three areas of India that got partitioned i.e. Punjab and Kashmir are most eager to have good relations with Pakistan. I find this is absolutely amazing considering these are the areas that suffered the most due to the partition.

    I wonder what could be the reason here ? Trade could be one reason but is that the only reason ? I would love our readers in this forum to come up with their views. I find it amazing.



    If we supply MANPADS to the TTP our relationship with Russia/China will be absolutely bad or may be point to the no return. Can we really ensure that TTP will not target these MANPADS not against Russia ? Remember Russia has already mentioned that terrorists trained in Afghanistan were deployed in Kazakhstan recently to topple the pro-Russian government there. Remember when Mr Putin and the Russian NSA both came to India, really asked Mr Doval to ensure that no moves should be done to support TTP inside Afghanistan. Do you really want us to take the risk to earn the wrath of Mr Putin ?

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Debanjan- So, you are implying that Taliban were behind the civil unrest in Kazakhstan.

      Interesting theory.

      Could you please forward me some web links in support of the aforesaid?


      • Debanjan Banerjee says:

        Kindly go through MK Bhadrakumar Indian punchline analysis reports from 2-3 weeks back, you will get your proof. Even mr Tokaev hinted at the terrorists who tried to overthrow him may well have been trained by TTP or BLA in Afghanistan during US occupation years. There is a reason that the central asian leaders spurned Mr Modi’s republic day invitation.

      • the invitation was not spurned. COVID was the reason for the collective cancellations.

  23. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Ayush, I am well aware of Doval’s involvement in sabotaging CPEC however, the following two developments have neutralized any advantage, which India might have got out of the aforementioned;

    1. The capture of power by Taliban in Afghanistan. It has rendered Afghanistan as a hostile territory for India. No wonder, Indian authorities were so quick in removing all its assets from Afghanistan following the rapid fall of Kabul. Indian network in Afghanistan has been completely dismantled.

    2. China’s aggressive moves at the border and capture of Indian territory. These covert operations by Doval resulted in overt operation by China during Mid 2020.

    The lack of follow up by India to recapture its lost land has shown the Indian political leadership as well as the country’s army in poor light.

    • Ayush says:

      Gaurav,will advice you to leave china,if you are there.R&AW busted a lot senior ranking MSS officers in india during the past two years,in a remarkable counterintelligence success.Moreover,they also busted their entire kabul station with the help of Amarullah saleh back in last February. https://thediplomat.com/2021/02/did-china-build-a-spy-network-in-kabul/
      MSS must be hungry for revenge.They might kidnap indians and use them for leveraging prisoner exchange.A dirty,old tactic of theirs .

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        @Ayush- Thanks for your concern. Chinese establishment definitely is biased against Indians. I have personally experienced it on numerous occasions.

        The general population here is largely occupied with it’s work/leisure to care much about anything else.

        An apt example is the plight of 23,000 odd Indian students, majority of whom were studying medicine in China.

        They left China during 2020 when Corona pandemic broke out in China. The Chinese government hasn’t allowed them entry back in the country till now.

        It’s been almost 2 years. The poor souls are being forced to attend online classes. What good is this mode of education for a practical, hands on course like medicine?

        To be honest with you, I wish to relocate from here as well but it’s very difficult to move with a couple of young kids furthermore, look at the global situation since the last couple of years. Where can one go?

        I am being completely honest when I say that the quality of life and school education for any middle class family in China is way better than India.

        Many pseudo nationalists in India will criticize me for this statement but it’s a hard fact.

        MSS have assets in India. RAW also has moles in China.

        I am of no use to either since, I am neither a politician nor a government bureaucrat therefore, they won’t get anything by kidnapping me.

        No country for an old man.

      • Ugh says:

        Gaurav its a wise decision .GOI just taxes people they provide no retirement benifits health facilities for old people.The shamless indian govt taxes senior citizens who need their savings for their treatment thus making them dependant on their children.The Indian GOI is like a school bully who succumbs to bigger bullies like pharmers who get tax benefits.In India you should have nuisance value or votebank to get benefits.They fail to provide basic facilities to get any govt document you have to struggle you need influence even for such trivial things.I completely understand why Indians migrate to Canada ,Europe US even if these countries tax they provide services after retirement there is no corruption at lower level .The civil service officers also send their children to other countries wish some day someone will remove the clause that provide the civil services the headweight that they are permanent establishment and their sense of entitlement.

  24. Sankar says:

    “… India needing to reverse the abrogation of Constitution Articles 370 and 35A conferring special status on Jammu & Kashmir, before a dialogue can be initiated to realize the fruits of normalcy”-

    This is a gross distortion of the parliamentary proceedings on J&K (2019) that was heralded by BJP under Modi concerning Art 370 and 35A. Factually, it is incorrect to flag the steps taken as “abrogation” – there has been “no abrogation” as such!

    Let me recall the history of Indian independence in 1947. The Maharajah of Kashmir signed the same accession treaty as all other Princes of the British Dominion of India to form the independent Indian Union (1948). Art370 came into existence in 1953 – so there was no special status given to J&K to form the Indian Union. In fact, the formulation of Art370 states that it is “temporary and transient”. Hence, it cannot continue forever as often the anti-nationals mischievously spread by innuendo. Constitutionally, J&K could never claim special status as there was no Art370 in existence during 1947-1953.

    There was no so-called “dialogue” in the parliament when Art370 was first presented since nobody could be concerned as this was “temporary and transient”. If the J&K assembly did not in a sense formally take steps to make it inapplicable within a reasonable period, Delhi has within its right to make it defunct after a lapse of 50 years. And this is what Modi-Shah initiated – there could be no obligation to start a dialogue with the members of J&K assembly. The Art370 resides there even today, but the provisions in it have been made inoperable from now on due to expiry (use-by-date). And that expiry was presented in Delhi parliament and passed unanimously by both Houses after a debate. The opposition members Congress, Communists … left the parliament without casting their votes against what Shah presented. In other words, these opposition members did not have the guts to stand in the parliament and face the Indian citizenry that they opposed the sunset of Art370.

  25. Email from Air Marshal Harish Masand (Retd)

    Tue, 1 Feb at 8:07 pm


    While I agree with you on less focus on the Pakistani threat and instead diverting our resources to the real threat from China, which many, including you, have been repeatedly writing about, I am not certain of the economic moves you suggest to help Pakistan because of the huge trust deficit and the hostility built ever since independence and the very first war over Kashmir. Unfortunately, our leadership, including the military, has ignored the threat from China even as late as early 2020 as mentioned in my Chapter on Tactical Realism. Wouldn’t it be better for us to let Pakistan sort out its economic woes on its own and perhaps pull even its allies into its quagmire? In any event, no matter how much we are willing to give Pakistan, China can, and certainly would, dole out many times more for obvious reasons.

    Warm regards,



    Ultimately this all boils down to the outlook of the countries. We feel that Pakistan should kowtow to us as a weaker country, Pakistan has a resistant and independent mindset. Unfortunately at this moment we are not in a position to accommodate or co-opt Pakistan as Dr Karnad finds it.

    Dr karnad can you kindly think of any scenarios where we would be likely to change our outlook towards accommodation or co-opting as you suggest ?


    Dear Dr Karnad

    Thanks very much for your prompt reply. I absolutely agree with you on this point. However for the real world politics in the Hindi heartland what matters most is hatred against Pakistan. There are just too much backers in this country for hostility against Pakistan for both electoral and political benefits. You will know very well that a generation of commissioned army officers have grown up with serving in the various Kashmir counter insurgency grids and for them to suddenly switch their perspective will be a herculean task. These are the people who will dominate now the strategic and defense community and it will be difficult for them to suddenly change their focus.

    What happened in Ladakh in 2020 is certainly negative for the long-term perspective however to the common folk who will be voting in UP in couple of weeks time what matters most is that “Pakistan ko niche dikhana” and Ladakh does not matter much to these people.

    I believe that what we need in this country is a sudden jolt to the system like what Pakistan faced in 1971 or the type of defeat Germany faced in 1945 whereby the policymakers are forced to change their focus from the current status quo.

    Now can you kindly imagine a scenario like that for us ? I will be eagerly awaiting your views.

    • Obvious: another 1962-type military humiliation at the hands of China.

      • Ayush says:

        You presented modi your ideas in 2014.After that he went uninvited to nawaz sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding.He was rewarded with Pathankot and URI.GHQ has left no stone unturned in permanently poisoning relations with India.Also,GHQ has played no small role in enabling PLA occupation of Depsang. https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/pak-generals-celebrated-indias-loss-men-galwan.
        Pak deserves a good trashing for being a loyal proxy.GHQ is a master of deception,has learnt it well from its master.that’s why they are able to easily make an a#s out of US educated people like you and yanks who were recently kicked out of Kabul.

      • whatsinitanyway says:

        Firstly this thinking has to go….
        That only foreign interventions can save this country if she needs saving….
        (That’s the main reason I am against the commies in India, their ideas about economics doesn’t bother me that much)
        She is capable of doing it internally and independently.
        She is not some ‘damsel in distress’ desparately waiting for a saviour.
        That’s the same argument used by colonialist and their sepoys to rationalise their ‘raj’.

  28. AKSHT says:




    • Cultivating North Korea, unless done in consultation with Seoul, would mean alienating South Korea. Then it wouldn’t be worth it. S Korea is potentially a serious strategic partner.

  29. Sankar says:

    Referring to my previous post on Art370, the qualification “temporary and transient” raises a nagging question what could have been the purpose of something Article like 370 to enact? In my search of political records and exchanges of that era (very scantily available), I have come to the conclusion that after the partition in1947 there was a heavy influx of Hindu refugees from West Pakistan in North India. Patel wanted to settle the Punjabis in Kashmir, but other political masters (Sheik Abdullah …) raised great opposition since it could create disruption of normal life and economy when so many could go to a specific destination. That must have been the rationale of imposing curbs on the rest of the Indians then settling en masse in J&K.

  30. Ayush says:

    Dr karnad,exactly five years ago you had caused a bombshell in our nuclear community by publicly saying that CAT,indore is in atrocious shape. https://bharatkarnad.com/2017/02/07/incomprehensible-position-on-n-testing/
    Is the situation any better?Do you have any idea?Has everybody been threatened into not talking to an honest but outspoken analyst like you?Also the arguments of PN SIKKA are not hollow.He is the guy who spearheaded the S1 designing team.He is no fool.The FBF primary of the S1 device actually worked.the working principle of an FBF device is very similar to two staged one

    • I am acquainted with Dr Sikka. But for the pressure from his then boss, Dr R Chidambaram — possibly the one person who has most harmed the weapons aspects of the dual-use Indian nuclear energy programme, Sikka, a really good scientist, would have owned up to the truth of the S-1 fizzling.
      As regards, the state of CAT, Indore, I honestly cannot say but can deduce from GOI’s deprioritizing the weapons programme (reducing it to a computer simulations centre) that the conditions wouldn’t have improved all that much.

      • Sankar says:

        @Professor Karnad:

        Very interesting exchanges indeed in the above link – here I am with you one hundred percent.

        First, what are “simulation and hydronuclear tests” ? Presumably, there is a typo here – “thermonuclear” instead of “hydronuclear”, or not?

        And now, these great scientists (Kakodakar et al) at DAE are caught throwing around technical jargon to confuse others as I could surmise from this very brief record of exchanges. ICF, or inertial confinement fusion, falls under “controlled” thermonuclear reactions. Here “controlled” stands for being able to induce very slow fusion reaction rates for the purpose of harnessing the energy released by fusion reactions for civilian use, e.g. electricity generation, etc.

        In contrast, for weapon systems applications, thermonuclear reactions must be cataclysmic, i.e. the totality of the immense energy released is in split-second or practically instantaneous. This causes enormous heat and deadly radiation in the surroundings leading to devastation.

        Hence, simulation of ICF has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapon system design and testing. And these highly placed guys are simply bluffing when they bring in “laser technology” in the context of ICF. These lasers must have enormous power output, in the literature they are called “giant” lasers. The technology to date is unsuccessful – at that power, the laser can fire one or two shots and break down. Besides they are highly unstable to operate. Although research in ICF has gone on for decades in the western world (may be still in Russia today), success in ICF is a mirage. In sum expertise in simulation for ICF is totally irrelevant for designing and building a thermonuclear arsenal (H-bomb).
        That’s all I could dig out scientifically from the record.

      • Don’t know about “hydro nuclear”, it is hydro-dynamic testing.

  31. Debanjan Banerjee says:

    Dr karnad There is one low hanging but very meaningful concession we can make to Pakistan. We can tell Afghans that we accept the Durand Line as border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. What do you think about this proposal of mine ?

      • Ayush says:

        Following up on my previous post,the reason why guys like PN Sikka are confident with our present designs despite CAT indore reduced to a rusty relic,is our new gen super comps.the computer codes that we use today are almost certainly based on experiments carried out at ICF in the 90’s.The successful testing of the FBF primary of S1 would have undoubtedly helped us to improve our computer models.Also,the PARAM AI of today(5.5 petaflops) is like a whopping 3-4 million times more powerful than any museum worthy junk of the 90’s.Back in the 60’s there was no such thing as “ICF”, yet china was able to transition from a 300kt FBF to a 3MT bomb in just 12 months.It’s quite reasonable to assume that A-5’s untested warhead will give the desired 1-1.2MT design yield.


    Dr Karnad,

    For me it is important now for India to ensure that Afghanistan accepts the Durand line. I believe it was historically nonsensical for India to have become supportive of the Afghan position on the Durand line for the following reasons :-

    1. Both India and Pakistan are successor states of the British Raj in this region. So it was necessary for India as the larger successor nation state to accept the Durand line as the successor of the British raj.

    2. In the Indo-China dispute over the Mcmahon line, India expects China to accept the Mcmahon line which is also a legacy of the British Raj. It does not make sense for India to reject one British legacy (Durand line) in favor of another (the Mcmahon line).

    3. The most important reason for India to support the Durand Line was to ensure that no invasion from Afghanistan can be successful to enter the subcontinent. Historically India has always seen successful invasions from Afghanistan for centuries and only during the British raj a strategic decision to implement the Durand line to ensure protection from any invasion from Afghanistan was done. Supporting the Afghan position on the Durand line is akin to support the historical invasions from Afghanistan. This is completely senseless even for the present government that seems to believe in “Chanakyan” strategies.

    4. It was a Nehruvian legacy to oppose the Durand line and therefore the present ruling party which wants to do away with the Nehruvian legacy should also try to have a different perspective on this one issue.

    Based upon the above points I believe it is time for us to support the Durand line as the final border between Afghanistan and Pakistan which I believe will go a long way to co-opt Pakistan.

    I would love Dr Karnad viewpoint on my suggestions.


    Dear Dr Karnad

    MK Bhadrakumar declares the participation of India in next Wednesday’s QUAD meeting as “appalling” . He further mentions that the US now wants to target not only PRC but Russia also with the QUAD from now on and thus India has made a decision with long term negative consequences.


    I would love your frank views on this.


    Dear Dr Karnad,

    I think the Russians by their Redfishstream Youtube channel calling Kashmir a settler colonial project have already delivered the message to India. The best thing about these Redfishstream type of Youtube channels are that they offer twofold benefits : they nicely carry the message that Mr Putin wants India to listen to whereas at the same time maintaining the veneer of deniability.

    The message is loud and clear from the Russian side. You join US on QUAD then we join Pakistan on KASHMIR. What do you think about it ?

  35. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Agni missiles are said to have a 1 ton bus max. An Indian Navy Officer said the warhead can be upscaled upto 500 kt max. Giving a 0.5kt per kg. For a true TN the sweet spot is anywhere between 2 kt per kg to 6 kt per kg (Taylor Limit). Though academically speaking this limit too has been breached. But practically speaking W-87 is 475 kt for 270 kg warhead giving 1.75x. The very fact that the said officer mentioned 500 KT instead of 1.75 MT to 6 MT implies that there is no ‘tested TN’. There may be an untested TN mounted on some Agni missiles but that would be like Indian Vaccine or the police in Bollywood movies – meant only for timepass. And then you can guess what can be expected w.r.t. total NBC capability.


    Dr Karnad,

    I would beg to disagree with you that it was due to COVID that the central Asian leaders did not come to India. These very same people went to Beijing during winter Olympics opening ceremony when Beijing is reeling under an Omicron wave.

    Not only the central Asian countries but even the Iranian foreign minister who was scheduled to discuss the Chabahar project this week, postponed his scheduled visit at the last minute. I wonder whether this had something to do with India blatantly supporting and cheering BLA attacks on Pakistani army posts.

    Mark my words. As long as India has US and Israel as her strategic allies and as long as India supports terrorist groups like the BLA it will be very difficult from now onward for Iran, the central Asian countries and even Russia for that matter to trust India’s true motives in the central Asian region.

    After all if India can support BLA against Pakistan and China why cannot these same BLA terrorists be used by US or Israel particularly in the aftermath of the events in Kazakhstan to attack either the central Asian republics or the Islamic republic of Iran or for that matter Russia.

    I believe Mr Imran Khan would have by now spread that same message across Beijing, central Asian steppes, Moscow and Tehran by now that BLA under tutelage of India would be attacking them in future and after what recently happened in Kazakhstan and Noshki and Panjgur who can distrust Mr Imran Khan ? Remember BLA was found to be fighting with abandoned US military weapons just this current week.

    I believe there are already pressures building now on the Taliban from Iran, China and Russia and other central Asian countries to not stand in the way of inevitable Pakistani retribution attacks against BLA and TTP terrorists inside Afghanistan.

    There are only two ways that I believe India can make amends now. 1. Support Durand Line as the permanent border between Pakistan and Afghanistan (even the US and UK will support India on this one) 2. Quietly hand over/dispatch these BLA and TTP terrorists whom we have been sheltering for sometime now to a honest broker like Russia or Iran may be so that these nasty snakes can be eliminated by them.

    I would love to hear from you about this current analysis of mine.

  37. Amit says:


    Though this article is about Indo-Pak relations, I wanted to comment about the current NATO-Russo tensions and how it impacts India. The US is making a significant blunder in antagonising Russia when it has declared that China is its primary threat (2018 National Security Strategy).

    I’ve been watching a lot of think tank discussions in the US about the current crisis in Ukraine (primarily CFR, CSIS and Atlantic Council). Almost all of the experts in these panel discussions are proposing severe sanctions against Russia and arming Ukraine to the teeth to fight a prolonged guerrilla war and bringing NATO troops to Eastern Europe for deterrence. Almost no one has even mentioned the prospect of keeping Ukraine out of NATO. Except for Senator Hawley (an evangelical Trumpian Senator). Also, Henry Kissinger who has advocated that the US SHOULD NOT take on more than one major power in Asia at the same time. There was also an article in Foreign Affairs recently that NATO should not expand anymore as it has become too unwieldy already. Also, not many are highlighting the fact that with its Crimea problem with Russia, Ukraine cannot join the NATO currently.

    It is common sense that the US should not fight Russia and China at the same time. Yet the US by its belligerence has pushed Russia firmly into the Chinese camp which can only be detrimental to India. Also it’s own global power. Even if there is a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, China and Russia will collaborate in the future on security issues against he US. The US will be relatively weakened by this. Which is not good for India standing up to China as it relies on US military power in the Indo Pacific. It also puts additional distance between India and Russia as its interests on the US and China are not aligned. With Russia and China more closely aligned on security and trade, it is more likely that they will collaborate more in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Again not good for India.

    Frankly, India is in a state of strategic bondage to Russia and the US due to its dependence on these states for military hardware as well as tech investments (primarily the US). But this whole situation has been created due to the US blundering on Russia. I hope someone in the US embassy is reading these discussions as almost no one of consequence is pushing the US to make good with Russia. The US focus should be China not Russia. It has already harmed its global leadership role by pushing Russia and a China closer together. And India will suffer its consequences.



    You are right about your analysis.

    1. I believe the US after 1990s collapse of the USSR has not recovered from that hubris.

    2. Sometimes whom the Almighty wants to destroy, offers them victory. I believe this is exactly what happened to the US after the end of the cold war.

    3. In order to spread her empire around the World, the US empire overextended herself across the West Asia, Eastern europe and rest of the post-soviet spaces. This was based upon the assumptions like “the World is Flat” , “the end of history” and “the end of Russia as a separate civilization has arrived” .

    4. The US and particularly those from that Clinton era foreign policy hawks cannot accept that Russia has legitimate interests in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the rest of post-Soviet space. Since accepting that would refute the earlier three thesis as I have mentioned previously.

    5. The Chinese are very smartly taking the opportunity to ensure that the gap between Russia and the US is maximum and the Russians join the Chinese economic orbit and ditch the Dollar system for ever.

    6. The more the Russians come enmeshed into the Chinese economic orbit, they will feel more confident to reassert themselves more strongly against the US empire. This supports Chinese view in two ways.

    7. Firstly, the US will not be able to completely focus on the China problem and on the other hand China makes more progress in order to ensure the end of the Dollar system that is the fulcrum of the US-dominated global order now.

    8. The Chinese have been quite lucky since in the early 1990-s when they joined the US-led order, they were not considered a big potential threat but the biggest opportunity by the US.

    9. Then at the beginning of that 2000-s decade, the US was beginning to shift their attention to the China issue since that Hainan issue in early 2001. Probably the early 2000-s were the best time for the US to contain China.

    10. The Bush administration had its sights on China as the main threat at the time and in Taiwan you had Chen Shui Bian probably the most brilliant pro-independent politician. China was not even the 10 percent of the economic giant as it is now. (currently 36 percent of Taiwanese GDP are about exporting electronic chips to China and when it comes to the US, import of capital retail goods from China now outnumber those manufactured in the US itself)

    11. However the Bush administration was distracted by the earthquake of 9/11 and the rest of the next two decades were spent upon the futile project of changing the two ancient civilizations of Afghanistan and Iraq into American-style democracies. This American project was based upon the linear and incorrect worldviews of “the World is Flat” and “the end of history”.

    12. However this distraction helped China to become the economic behemoth it is now. Whereas the US allowed her own manufacturing to disappear and allowed China to dominate herself in manufacturing.

    13. Now that the Americans seem to be aware of the Chinese capabilities, unfortunately they still cannot make China their complete focus since now they have to fight for their empire in East Europe and in the post-Soviet space.

    14. When it comes to the looming US-Russia conflict over Ukraine, the US is not only fighting a resurgent Russia but she is actually fighting for her belief and faith in the ideologies of “the end of History” and “the world is Flat”. If US accepts Mr Putin’s demands then she will cease to be the America that these neo-cons or neo-libs have grown up with. They cannot give that up.

    15. Chinese enjoy this confrontation between the Russia and US as this will help them to ensure Russia becomes further entrenched to them for their economic survival and at the same time they are going to create fault lines between Russia and India in future.

    This is my analysis and I would love your views on this one.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      Re. “7. Firstly, the US will not be able to completely focus on the China problem and on the other hand China makes more progress in order to ensure the end of the Dollar system that is the fulcrum of the US-dominated global order now.”

      Sorry, but there is a problem here. China will never like to be the Reserve Currency but that brings with it the problem of unbridled foreign debt and having to deal with a menagerie on several different fronts. Chinese know the world needs them more than they need the world and till the time this does not change, they don’t need to change anything in the worldwide monetary flows either. If they have to change something then they will take a completely different route of systemic disruption (may be a gold backed crypto). Merely aspiring to be a successor to US dollar is not disruptive. On top of that there is a limit to how much foreign debt fueled ‘investment’ China can actually deploy – remember they were not a debtor nation till recently when they were in happier times and now they wish to have lesser dependence on foreign trade and boost their domestic economy. Only time they will acquiesce to being a foreign debtor is when that gives them a deterrence value in international relations but with Euro and USD around that is unlikely to happen soon enough. Chinese are more than willing to hold a trillion dollar of US debt instead. China is the reason the world is even buying US govt debt in the first place.
      Insurance of the USD system is mainly for sicker economies UK+Cayman Islands or riskier economies (or hostage polities) like India and Brazil or economies that are so rich and so devoid of ideas that they simply are forced to throw their money around like Luxemburg and Switzerland or the economies with disproportionate exposure to foreign trade and investment flows like Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Hongkong and China. All these economies form the basis of the Dollar Milkshake Theory. These are either upholders of the old system or simply the speculation part of the market for US dollar. And Quantitative Easing or money printing is their cross to be borne.
      Actually it is the Russians are the ones leading the de-dollarisation in the true sense. Russians today hold no more dollars than are absolutely necessary for them. And generally speaking most of the sensible world has actually begun following them. More particularly the healthier but conservative economies like Germany, South Korea and Norway. These people have lots of ideas about where to invest their surplus and they prefer doing that. These people are the investors part of the marketplace.

      • Ayush says:

        You were absolutely right about the 500kt FBF warhead in the previous post.I can confirm that from my sources.But a Megaton warhead would really not make much of a military difference(just twice larger).The US’ largest missile is the W88 with 475kt .My opinion is that 60-80 Agni-5s with the standard issue warhead will be more than enough to reduce eastern Han china into radioactive slag,including crippling EMP attacks.

  39. Amit says:

    Yes, the US also blundered on China. Though you have to credit the Chinese. They executed brilliantly, at least until recently.

  40. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    @Professor Karnad- Although the following is ‘off the topic’ yet, it proves the point, which I made in one of my previous comment about rampant corruption inspite of Modi’s often unnecessarily hyped bank accounts for Below Poverty Line (BPL)

    Thousands of fraud ‘on paper’ marriages in a Madhya Pradesh district to siphon off money meant for a government welfare scheme have landed the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in controversy.

    The case relates to irregularities in the chief minister’s flagship Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana that is aimed at labourers registered with the state’s Building and Other Construction Workers Board. Under the scheme, ₹ 51,000 is given as financial assistance to newly married couples to help economically weaker families marry off their daughters.

    Following an investigation by the state’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), it has been revealed that the scam was being carried out through a network of touts who used to approach gullible poor villagers, take their bank details on some pretext and siphon off the money transferred into their accounts.

    Balkishan’s daughter married a man of her own choice and did not apply for the scheme, yet some middlemen forced her father to apply for funds under the marriage scheme. They gave Balkishan ₹ 12,000 and kept the rest.

    Gorelal, who works as a labourer, married off his two daughters under the Chief Minister’s Kanya Vivah Yojana. He submitted all the documents but never received any money, but ironically, he is listed in government records as a beneficiary.

    In the Sironj block of Vidisha district, officials paid ₹ 30.40 crore to 5,976 beneficiaries under the scheme in the last year. The state Economic Offence Wing has arrested Shobhit Tripathi, CEO Janpad panchayat, in connection with the scam. He is the brother-in-law of a powerful BJP minister.

    Excerpts from the following;


    Nothing will happen to the aforesaid arrested individual. His BJP brother-in-law will pull a few strings and in no time this scamster will be out on bail. The legal case will drag on for decades.

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