All Pakistani strikes in direction of peace might be seen as tactical compromises, to be deserted when the scenario modifications, observes Colonel Anil A Athale (retd).
IMAGE: Pakistan military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Photograph: @OfficialDGISPR/Twitter
On March 18, 2021, Pakistan’s all highly effective military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa issued a name to India and Pakistan to bury the previous and look to a way forward for peaceable relations that may profit each nations’ battle towards poverty.
General Bajwa echoed related sentiments expressed by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan a day earlier on the first Islamabad safety dialogue.
These statements got here on the again of a renewed ceasefire alongside the Line of Control agreed to by the administrators basic of navy operations of each nations a couple of days earlier.
The official Indian response has been certainly one of cautious optimism.
Many Indians are sceptical and see this as a tactical transfer.
Pakistan presently confronts a grave financial disaster and is dealing with Western stress after being placed on the phobia finance ‘gray record’.
Pakistan can also be anxious that its shut ties with China will are available the way in which of American and its allies’ assist in mild of the America-China Cold War that appears simply over the horizon.
The reply to the query of whether or not there’s a real change of coronary heart in Pakistan or whether or not that is merely a tactical transfer is extraordinarily necessary for the Indian coverage response.
But earlier than we perceive this and discover a solution, it’s mandatory to look at the essential premises on which Pakistani insurance policies have been primarily based for final 73 odd years.
Many Indian analysts have been placing your entire blame for Pakistani hostility on the door of the Pakistan military and its vested pursuits. This is simply partially true.
The Pakistan military couldn’t have sustained this posture for therefore lengthy until there was widespread common help for it.
Some of those notions about India are/have been held broadly and the Pakistan military merely mirrored this fact.
Pakistan believes that India is a man-made creation and in time it’s going to break up into a number of states and Pakistan will emerge as the only largest State on the subcontinent.
This discovered its most eloquent expression in very vibrant language by Pakistan’s then navy dictator General Ayub Khan throughout his go to to the US in July 1961.
When I studied the John F Kennedy archives, I found that Ayub confidently instructed President Kennedy that India is not going to final 10 years and can break up.
It is one other matter that inside that timeframe it was Pakistan that truly broke up into two components.
In the early Sixties, Pakistan gave full help to Naga and Mizo rebels. This notion of the fragility of Indian unity discovered an upsurge within the Nineteen Eighties when Pakistan (aided and abetted by the US and the UK) supported the Khalistani separatist motion in Punjab.
In newspaper columns and in common writing, Pakistan nonetheless believes that insurgency continues to be rampant in India’s north east, opposite to the scenario on the bottom.
It is that this notion of an imminent break up of India that has been accountable to maintain Pakistani hostility and aggressive posture in direction of India.
There can also be a lingering jingoism born out of the notion of Pakistan’s ‘martial races’ versus Indian ‘banias‘.
A veteran of the 1947 Kashmir battle, the late Lieutenant General Eric Vas as soon as instructed me that the Pakistan supported tribal raiders’ automobiles had ‘Chalo Delhi‘ written on it.
Pakistan’s failed Operation Grand Slam within the 1965 War envisaged Pakistan armour reaching Delhi.
As an actual world consequence of this mindset, within the 1965 War, Pakistan dropped its elite Special Service Group commandos on the Adampur and Halwara airfields in Punjab, practically 200 km from the border.
One Pakistani soldier being equal to 10 Indians was a perception that engendered many Pakistan navy adventures from 1965 to Kargil 1999.
But probably the most elementary premise of Pakistan, definitely for the reason that Nineteen Eighties, is that Pakistanis are usually not of Indian origin, however Arabs/Turks/Iranians who’ve conquered the land known as Pakistan.
Brainwashed by means of a warped curriculum, most Pakistanis consider that their historical past begins within the seventh century with conquest of Sindh by Mohamamd bin Qasim.
All previous earlier than that date is rejected as myths and tales.
General Bajwa’s attraction to bury the previous and begin afresh is certainly laudable. But earlier than one buries the previous it’s incumbent to know the previous! Without realizing or acknowledging the previous, how will we bury it?
Is Pakistani society ready to acknowledge its Indian roots, personal up Mohenjadaro, Taxila and the Sanskrit grammarian Pannini?
These are very primary and necessary points and provided that one finds indications that Pakistan is certainly reverting to Jinnah’s imaginative and prescient of Pakistan being a homeland for Indian Muslims and never an exclusivist Islamic State, that one can begin the lengthy overdue peace course of.
Till one doesn’t see any indications of this elementary revision, all Pakistani strikes in direction of peace might be seen as tactical compromises, to be deserted when the scenario modifications.
The historical past of Indian initiatives from the Nehru-Liaquat Pact of 1948 to Vajpayee’s bus initiative and Modi’s sudden Lahore go to has taught us this lesson.
Military historian Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) is a former Chhatrapati Shivaji Chair Fellow on the United Services Institute of India.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com