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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Logical Conclusion to Post-Partition Trauma in South Asia

And a Logical End to the Current Mess?

Nitin Pai at Acorn dissects C. Raja Mohan's rather uncharacteristic column in Indian Express that India should proactively work with the Pakistanis to support its territorial integrity.

New Delhi must move from a mere refusal to take advantage of Pakistan’s current internal crisis to a series of considered step — including troop reductions in J&K and greater cooperation across the international border — to signal India’s positive support for Pakistan’s territorial integrity. [Musharraf maelstrom and India - IE]

While I agree with the analysis of Sri Raja Mohan, I don't like his policy prescription.

Nitin tries to argue that:

Ideally, a stable, peaceful and internally reconciled Pakistan is in India’s interests. However, while a total collapse of Pakistan will certainly be undesirable, a breakaway state along the Durand Line need not necessarily be such a bad thing. Yes, as long as the state is illegitimate and constitutes nothing more than a ungoverned space that hosts al-Qaeda related organisations, it will remain inimical to India’s interests. But if the state were to somehow acquire legitimacy and become a ‘normal’ state that does not share a border with India, then it should be possible for India to work out a modus vivendi with it. How likely is the latter? Exteremly unlikely, it would seem, but we don’t really know. India would do well to spend some effort to find out. [Musharraf’s second coup and India’s response - The Acorn]

In the comment section, I went a bit further to say that a stable, peaceful, and strong Pakistan is not in our interest and we'd be better off with a divided and internally reconciled several states in the land mass that is currently Pakistan:

India should do no such thing as supporting territorial integrity of LoP. We didn’t cause it. Why should we support our enemy’s (is there another word for this country) territory? Does that include PoK also? We have a habit of putting our selves into unenviable positions repeatedly - as Nehru has done with respect to China. That’s one lesson (and only one lesson) we should learn from Indira.

It’s fine if Pak wants to be normal country - we should deal with it. But if it wants to break up, we should act and take back PoK and complete that land bridge to Afghan and beyond to Central Asia. And recognize and establish contacts with new nations such as Baloch and Sindh/Punjab - if it happens. In fact I think we should actively promote it. NWFP and Tribal Areas will be no better.

The whole land mass will be lot less of an enemy to Bharat. Imagine the strategic implication if Pak disappears. Beyond nuclear weapons, as long as we can protect the western border - and I suspect we can, it’s fool hardly to assume a strong Pak is in India’s interest. It’s like US, during the cold war, saying a strong powerful Soviet Union is in its interest (and USSR had lot more nuclear weapons). No, it’s not.

We should sit back and watch the situation with no guarantees and warranties to others. Only guarantee GOI should be giving Indian people is that it hasn’t let down guard on the western front or on the terror front in homeland. [Comment]

It may be time for Balochistan to declare independence - after all, General Musharraf killed their leader, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, just last year. With the already uncontrollable Pashtuns (or Pathans as we call them) forming their own state across Durand line or merging with Afghanistan (at least later, when NATO forces leave), the rest of the land mass of current Pakistan will be Sindh and Punjab along with PoK. The current Pakistan ruling class already mostly emanate from Sindh and Punjab. These two states can work to stay together to continue the experiment of Land of Pure and may even end up as a viable, stable, and progressive state.

This combined Sindh-Punjab could be India's buffer state to the uncontrollable tribal regions. This combined entity, as future Land of Pure, may still continue its policy of terror in India. But a weakened and broken-up land mass will be less of a threat to Bharat and less of an ally to Chinese or other hegemonic powers in the region.

Instead of guaranteeing territorial integrity of our enemy, we should make contingency plans to take part of PoK along with Northern Areas back - excluding the hard to control Muzaffarabad - and to recreate that land bridge to Northern Afghanistan that is dominated by Tajiks (and on to energy rich Central Asia). We should also be making contingency plans to work with the Americans to allow them to remove Pak's nuclear weapons and destroy nuclear military facilities before the terrorists can lay their hands on the weapons or facilities.

Breaking up the current Pakistan into its natural components will be a logical conclusion of the British Empire in the subcontinent and post-partition trauma on both Bharat and current land mass of Pakistan. And a logical end to the current mess in Land of Pure.


B Shantanu said...

Great post, Chandra...I am providing a link on my blog, w.r.t. this post:

Chandra said...

Thanks, Shantanu.