Myth of South Waziristan Broken: Gen. Kayani


ISLAMABAD: Sitting under a portrait of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, with a huge blazing red calligraphy on his left and an impressive piece of framed Chinese embroidery on his right, recalling the deaths at the Parade Lane of four young sons of his officers who were Hufaz-e-Quran, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani emerged as the first Army chief to resort to speak to the Americans and their Western allies in words and images that they cannot fail to understand.

One of the last few senior generals to have undertaken military training in the US until the Pressler Amendment was slapped on Pakistan, the US and its allies are now not only listening but also understanding as the COAS uses the symbols of American legendary golfer Tiger Woods on his power point display and comparing full bases at a baseball game to some of the war situations on the Pak-Afghan border.

In a meeting at the GHQ, with analysts and retired senior generals, some under whose command he had served, the COAS opened up his mind and heart to dwell on the dangers facing Pakistan militarily, and the region, and ways and means that the military leadership thinks are the solutions to ensure that at the end of the war, Pakistan does not find itself in the ‘wrong corner of the room’. The interaction continued for nearly three hours.

Speaking on and off therecord, the COAS shared with the participants the presentation that he had made at Nato headquarters in Brussels, where generals from 45 countries heard him, and which many Western military analysts told The News, was a “make and break” presentation, which got the Western military leadership not only ‘educated’, but confess amongst themselves “all” that they were doing “wrong” inside Afghanistan.

One of the direct results of this Brussels presentation, which even the Foreign Office agrees, resulted in the final push which made India coming reluctantly to the negotiating table. The COAS had convinced Nato and others why it was important for him to have his eastern border peaceful.

The proudest moment for any Pakistani was to hear and readily believe that the ‘myth’ of South Waziristan had been broken and the military operations before that in Swat and Malakand in the words of the Army chief, “We did it with no help from the United States. Daily I would receive calls if we needed any help and we replied we needed nothing”.

He was very clear about what was best for Pakistan in these days of turmoil. “Partnership (with the US) does not mean you desire and I start doing it,” said the COAS. He said with the US military aid still in the pipeline, “In many cases I have eaten into my reserves.” While acknowledging he said there has to be a balance for a military budget and one for development as well.

The fear was, said Kayani, even if his military had accepted 5%, it would have been blown up to 50%. The COAS earlier had met General Stanley A McChrystal, Commander International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan, at a time when everyone in the region was still waiting for the US to explain in detail the policies that will take them up to the time that they are ready to leave the region.

“I told McChrystal that the acid test of a policy is that options should increase,” he said, adding that he believed that the only way to measure success inside Afghanistan was to gauge the public support and not the number of people you kill.

“Today, this is McCrystal’s policy inside Afghanistan, where they talk of a political process and reconciliation. Finally, there is realisation today,” added the chief. Looking at the US Afghan strategy, Kayani says he has clearly told the US that raising an Afghan Army in the stipulated time is not possible, and weaning away of the Taliban will only happen if the US is seen willing inside Afghanistan.

“This has not happened and the perception has not been formed. Only when you win over 70%, you are really winning,” he added. He also does not shy away from telling his US visitors that the bulk of Nato supplies are still going through Pakistan and they will continue to do so, and threats of looking for alternative routes do not impress him.

South Waziristan “We had a history of mismanaged operations in South Waziristan and there was a myth that no-one has ever come here and controlled the area. If we had turned back, we would have destroyed the credibility of the military”.

The victory in South Waziristan, the chief said, was because of motivation of the troops, changed tactics of engaging the adversaries from the dangerous ridges of mountains instead of the customary land routes which also resulted in fewer casualties.

Swat operation The COAS said there was no example in history of what the Pakistan military accomplished in the Swat operation and which successfully changed the public opinion. It was the largest heliborne operation.

“So when we send foreign defence chiefs to Swat, we have a story to tell. When I accompanied Admiral Mike Mullen and showed him how we had done the operation, including showing him the gorges there, his response was, “I will send General McChrystal to see this”.

The last visitor was US National Security Advisor James Jones, who heard for himself from educated locals how unpopular the Americans were.

India-centric

Kayani says he did not mince his words when he told Nato that he was India-centric and there was logic behind this. There was no way he could relax on his eastern border to concentrate fully on the west.

“We have unresolved issues, a history of conflict and now the Cold Start doctrine. Help us resolve these issues. We want peaceful co-existence with India. India has the capability and intentions can change overnight,” Kayani had told his audience in Brussels.

Nato is also realising why it is important for Pakistan to help train the Afghan Army because Pakistan could strategically simply not tolerate an Afghan Army trained by the Indians and having an Indian mindset.

Pak-Nato ratio

It is not easy for any commander to count his dead when the killing fields are still alive. But Kayani told Nato how Pakistan in 2009, lost 2,273 soldiers with another 6,512 being wounded.

“Pakistan as one nation lost 2,273 soldiers while US/Nato in the same period lost 1,582. We have 10,000 troops on UN missions,” recalled the COAS. Pakistan has contributed 147,000 troops to its “silent surge” while 43 nations in Afghanistan have sent a mere 100,000.

Pakistan mans 82 posts at the Pak-Afghan border while the coalition and Afghan Army have only 112. “Pakistan’s operations have decreased cross border movements, there is control of areas, squeezing of spaces, and continuous flow of logistic flow,” pointed the COAS. For a man of “few words” when he was DG ISI, today Kayani is saying a lot more. All of which has to be heard loud and clear by the people of Pakistan.

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India Begs US Not To Leave Afghanistan


Bharat Verma

Islamabad aims to create a caliphate with the help of the Islamic regimes running from Central Asia to West Asia and Southeast Asia. India stands in the way. Beijing desires to unravel India into multiple parts based on the pre-British model as it cannot digest the challenge to its supremacy offered in Asia by a liberal union of multi-religious and multi-ethnic States.

While China and Pakistan have joined hands against India and bide their time for the American forces to leave, New Delhi has appealed to Washington not to exit from Afghanistan

With the American declaration of an exit from Afghanistan, Beijing and Islamabad are upbeat. This leaves India in the lurch as it is ill prepared to face the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists and the Chinese Communists argues Bharat Verma.

The creeping invasion by authoritarian regimes will engulf Asia by 2020 as democracies continue to retreat. India is unprepared and unwilling to safeguard the Asian democratic space.

The growing clout of totalitarian regimes coupled with non-State actors is set to shrink the democratic space in Asia. If the onslaught is not reversed by the end of the next decade, Islamic fundamentalist regimes, Communist dictatorships, military juntas and non-State actors will redraw the international boundaries and largely govern Asia.

The squeeze on the democratic space in India will increase once the American forces begin to exit Afghanistan in July 2011. Islamic fundamentalists with the assistance of the sympathetic Pakistan army will take over Afghanistan and Pakistan. This Taliban stronghold will operate on a ‘hub and spoke’ principle to expand influence and territory. To begin with, India will lose $1.5 billion (about Rs 6,900 crore) worth of investment in Afghanistan, as it is unwilling to defend it.

Islamic fundamentalism will sweep into Central Asia once the American wall holding the spread disappears from Afghanistan. Gradually, the resource rich area will come under the spell of the dark forces. Russia will feel threatened. Americans and the International Security Assistance Force are in many ways fighting Russia’s war.

Unlike New Delhi, Moscow is always willing to fight its way out!

Islamabad aims to create a caliphate with the help of the Islamic regimes running from Central Asia to West Asia and Southeast Asia. India stands in the way. Beijing desires to unravel India into multiple parts based on the pre-British model as it cannot digest the challenge to its supremacy offered in Asia by a liberal union of multi-religious and multi-ethnic States.

The simple truth is that Indian democratic values contradict and thereby pose a threat to the authoritarian philosophy of both, the Communists in Beijing, and the Islamic fundamentalists in Islamabad. Similarly, many regimes in Islamic West Asia feel uncomfortable with India’s ability to generate unprecedented soft power. Regression to medieval times helps keep these autocratic regimes in the saddle.

The all-pervading Indian soft power, therefore, poses a serious challenge. Hence, Pakistan is supported by the petro-dollars dished out on a Wahabbi checkbook to neutralise the threat posed by liberal India.

It is obvious that if the Indian model wins, autocratic regimes like China and Pakistan lose.

Primarily, there have been no terrorist attacks on India after Mumbai 26/11 on two counts. First, the raging civil war within has kept Pakistan preoccupied. Second, the intervention of the American forces has forced diversion of the Pakistan army and its non-State actors’s resources away from India. The stated exit of the Western forces beginning July 2010 from the Af-Pak region will render India extremely vulnerable.

The truth is that American forces in many ways are fighting India’s war too. However, New Delhi’s expectation that they will continue to fight such a war without India chipping is being naive.

While China and Pakistan have joined hands against India and bide their time for the American forces to leave, New Delhi has appealed to Washington not to exit from Afghanistan, but is unprepared and unwilling to assist. The Catch-22 is that neither the West led by America can win without Indian help nor can India prevail without a concrete alliance with the West.

New Delhi’s strategic incoherence continues to encourage Beijing and Islamabad’s designs of destabilising the Union. Militarily, India remains underprepared due to the huge equipment shortages on land, sea and air, created by the ministry of defence over the last two decades.

Shirking its primary responsibility of equipping the military leaves it ill equipped to cope with the increasing intensity of the threat once the Western forces retreat.

The stalemate in Afghanistan predominantly occurs on two counts. First, superior technology in a guerrilla war where motivational level of the adversary is very high, unless combined with adequate boots on the ground cannot deliver victory.

The West does not have a large reservoir of manpower to mitigate the situation. Thus, the under-manned war for past nine years has produced difficult-to-reverse battle fatigue despite the most modern technology on display.

The result is the resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda in the region. To win, a fair share of the soldiery needs to be drawn from Asian stock with equally high motivation and equipped with Western technology to surmount the challenge posed by Islamic fundamentalists.

Second, to defend Afghanistan, the war machinery should focus on Pakistan. However, the American strategy in Afghanistan is similar to the Indian fortress mentality.

Despite multiple attacks and infiltrations by the terrorists, New Delhi continues to fortify itself internally in futile attempts to repulse the attacks. Washington’s approach is similar in Kabul for the past nine years.

The Americans and the allied forces keep defending against the irregular guerrilla forces launched in to Afghanistan from Pakistan, clandestinely trained by the Pakistan army and its Inter Services Intelligence. The ghost forces from Pakistan, when attacked, disappear almost unscathed. They reappear in Kabul at will.

Washington and New Delhi cannot win since both refuse to face the fact that Pakistan is the problem.

To lend stability to Afghanistan, the threat from Pakistan covertly backed by China must be neutralised. Similarly to secure India, the joint threat from Pakistan and China needs to be resolved. In both, Pakistan is the common factor.

Beijing’s Communists back the Islamic fundamentalists in Islamabad to expel the American influence and subdue the Indians, even as Pakistan draws oxygen for sustenance from the economic bailouts from the West.

Logic dictates that to defend Kabul, with the intention of expanding influence of democracies in Asia, the focus must shift to Islamabad. However, an exit by the American forces set for July 2011 from Afghanistan will herald the process of colouring Asia in a dark hue.

With the declaration of the exit time frame, Beijing and Islamabad are once again upbeat.

This leaves India in lurch, as it is ill prepared to face the threat jointly posed by Islamic fundamentalists that includes the Pakistan army and the ISI, and the Chinese Communists. Both support the Maoists in Nepal and the non-State actors including the Maoists in India.

New Delhi therefore faces a simultaneous three-dimensional threat, — the external war on two fronts, worsening internal front aided by external actors, and lack of governance.

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India sidelined at London Conference on Afghanistan


NEW DELHI: Finding the US not overly helpful on arming it with drones and drone technology, Pakistan has now made overtures to the Turkish army

During his recent visit to Islamabad, US defence secretary Robert Gates promised the gift of 12 drones for surveillance. But the 12 RQ-7 Shadow drones cannot send in Reaper or Hellfire missiles which would make them truly lethal and would have provoked an immediate outcry from India. However, experts believe this is dangerous stuff anyway, and it will not take much for Pakistan to reverse engineer them or tailor them for needs other than spying on the Taliban, in other words, to target India.

Needless to add, Pakistan was less than overwhelmed by the offer. Therefore, Indian sources said, Pakistan is now approaching their its friends in the Turkish army for this technology. The Turks were given drones, both attack and surveillance ones, by the Israelis as they battle the Kurds. Whether they are persuaded to part with these for the Pakistanis is another matter, and likely to involve a lot of pre-emptive Indian diplomacy.

India is finding less and less to be positive about in the Pakistan-Afghanistan theatre.

Apart from gifting surveillance drones to Pakistan, the US may be winking at a more robust reconciliation policy with the Taliban in Afghanistan. This will include a greater Pakistani role in the mediation process, which means the ISI will be able to give them greater say in what kind of Taliban gets to be in power in Kabul. This, Indian officials argue, will happen despite US and British “oversight” on Pakistani efforts.

“Their knowledge is pretty flawed, and they remain beholden to the ISI. This is likely to influence their decisions,” said sources. The Pakistani presence in the negotiations comes despite Afghan evidence that attacks like the one in Kabul last week was done by the ISI-friendly Haqqani network.

The reconciliation programme has acquired urgency in the backdrop of President Barack Obama’s withdrawal strategy for 2011. This is of greater concern to India, because it could put a huge question on India’s own participation and future in Afghanistan. Ahead of the London conference on Afghanistan starting on Thursday, foreign minister S M Krishna will try and get a sense from other leaders about the US-led western presence in Afghanistan.

A glimpse of how things may turn out was given by US general David Petraeus when he said, “The concept of reconciliation, of talks between senior Afghan officials and senior Taliban or other insurgent leaders, perhaps involving some Pakistani officials as well, is another possibility.”

Gen Stanley McCrystal, in an interview to Financial Times, said he hoped increased troop levels would weaken the Taliban enough for its leaders to accept a peace deal.

India is increasingly coming round to accepting the reality that some sort of a peace deal could be made. In recent statements, Indian officials have admitted the possibility that people who renounce violence and the Taliban as well as disarm, could be accommodated into Afghanistan’s establishment.

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India doesn’t have a common border with Afghanistan: US


– Times of India

WASHINGTON: Contrary to India’s position that it has a legitimate boundary with Afghanistan, a top US official has said both the countries do not share a common border.

“If you look at the map, Afghanistan has a lot of neighbours. I mean, bordering neighbours. You mentioned India. India doesn’t have a common border with Afghanistan. But I’m talking about just the countries that have direct borders next to them,” said Richard Holbrooke, Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Every one of the neighbours (of Afghanistan) has a role to play here in the stabilisation and demilitarisation, ultimately, of Afghanistan. And when I say every one, I mean every one of the neighbours,” Holbrooke said.

Holbrooke’s statement is contrary to India’s position that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country; which has its physical boundary with Afghanistan.

The part of the Kashmir which shares boundary with Afghanistan is now a part of Pakistan, other portion is Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) which has been illegally occupied by India for nearly 60 years.

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RAW organizes seminar with aim to target Baluchistan


—‘Selected’ participants invited to discuss issue of Autonomy of Baluchis and Kashmiris n show set to be held mysteriously at Delhi’s India International Centre

From Christina Palmer

NEW DELHI—While a leading media group of Pakistan has signed an agreement with an Indian media group to promote peace between Pakistan and India with the title Aman Ki Aasha( the hope for peace), the Indian Intelligence Agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) is organizing a charade seminar at New Delhi’s India International Centre from January 10th to January 12th, 2009, reveal the findings of The Daily Mail.

These findings indicate that the seminar, titled ‘India-Pakistan Conference-A Road map towards peace” is being hosted by a RAW-run organization Focus on Global South, in a rather mysterious manner as a very few people have been informed about it and there has been no publicity about the event made by the organizers and even a very few people from amongst the Delhi-based local and foreign journalists have been informed and invited to the said seminar. The Investigations indicate further that even the official website of the India International Centre (IIC) does not indicate that the said seminar is amongst the event, listed to place on the said dates at IIC.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that though a reasonable number of participants have been invited from Pakistan to take part in the seminar but one particular segment of the seminar that targets Baluchistan province of Pakistan, titled “ Issue of Autonomy: Kashmir and Baluchistan”, is epically drafted by RAW to draw a comparison between the freedom movement in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the RAW sponsored separatists movements in Baluchistan province of Pakistan where RAW is super-actively engaged for years. For this part of the seminar, The Daily Mail’s findings indicate, no senior journalist or intellectual from Pakistan has been selected to speak but merely one nationalist journalist from Baluchistan who runs a separatism nationalists Online newspaper from Baluchistan and got his Journalism degrees from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai India and is known for toeing the RAW lines regarding Baluchistan has been invited from the Media side. The Baluchistani journalist, Siraj Malik has graduated from Asian College of Journalism at Chennai India while Chennai is known as the hub of RAW-run think tanks and it is an established fact that the RAW people keep nurturing the foreigners, linked to Indian education or research organizations.

The Daily Mail findings indicate that the overall Pakistanis, invited for the said RAW arranged seminar include former Information Minister (PPP) Ms. Sherry Rehman, former Law Minister (PPP) Iqbal Haider, Human Rights activists Aasma Jehangir, Baluchistani journalist Malik Siraj Akbar, Senator Hasil Khan Bazinjo, some Farooque Tarique of some Pakistan Labour Party, some economist Akbar Zaidi, defence analyst Ayesha Siddiqua, and women rights’ activists and theatre artist, Madeeha Gauhar, all known for having a very soft corner for India and having a very pro-India mindset. However the speakers for the main target and rather the nucleus of the seminar that would bee focusing on Baluchistan, the “selected” speakers from Pakistan include, Asma Jenagir, Malik Siraj Akbar and Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo. While all the participants of the overall seminar from the Indian side are very well known for their staunch anti-Pakistan mindsets.

The Daily Mail’s finding indicate that through the particular segment of the seminar that relates to Baluchistan, RAW plans to draw parallels between the freedom movement in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the RAW funded separatists’ drives in Baluchistan.n however, surprisingly the organizers have neither invited anyone from among the officials of Pakistan government or Delhi-based Pak diplomats nor have they opted to invite anyone from amongst the Baluchi tribes that confront the militant and rebellion Sardars like Bugtis Marris etc.

The Daily Mail’s findings also reveal that the said scheduled seminar is not the first of its kind to promote the separatism in Baluchistan as in past, many foreign intelligence organizations have been indulging in such exercises. These finding indicate that RAW, in connivance with the British and Israeli intelligence agencies, has been organizing many such forums to benefit the separatist movements in Baluchistan. According to these findings, different foreign agencies including India’s RAW have remained actively involved in the formation of different militant and separatist outfits like Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Baluchistan Rights Movement (BRM) etc. these foreign agencies have been continuously using such outfits in Baluchistan and have been patronizing them. The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that apart from the funding and provision of arms and ammunition to the militants in Baluchistan, these foreign intelligence agencies have been organizing media and intellectual support programmers for these organizations.

These findings reveal that in one of such endeavors,on 27th June 2006, when Pakistani security forces were gaining immense success in restoring peace and disarming the militants in Baluchistan and hundreds of mercenaries started surrendering to the government authorities, a UK based , so called think tank Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) organizes a highly confusing seminar on Baluchistan, titeled ‘Baluchistan at the crossroads’. Surprisingly, the FPC organized the said seminar with open collaboration of Baluchistan Rights Movement (BRM), which is merely an extension of BLA, an outfit that has been banned and declared as a terror organization, not only by Pakistan government but also by the government of England while the FPC organized the seminar at no where else but right at the committee room number 16 of the House of Commons. To add to it, and make the credentials of the said seminar even dubious, the organizers neither invited anyone from among the officials of Pakistan government or UK-based Pak diplomats nor did they bother to invite anyone from amongst the Baluchi tribes that confront the militant and rebellion Sardars like Bugtis, Marris etc, just the way it is happening at New Delhi in this latest episode. However there was a comprehensive representation from the three Militant tribes and leaders and workers of BLA and BRM. It is learnt that that a Board member of FPC, a British politician and a fomer member of British Parliament, Stephen Twigg was the main spirit behind the holding of this seminar.

The UK Seminar. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that in the said seminar, chaired by Hugh Barnes of FPC Mehran Baluch, an active member of BLA and a senior activist of Baluchistan Rights Movement, Mr. Sanaullah Baloch, whose, close association with warlords of Baluchistan and millatnt outfits like BLA are known to everyone, Dr. Naseer Dashti another associate of Bugti and Marri and BLA, Fredric Grare of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace etc expressed their views and analysis about situation in Baluchistan. All the participants of the said seminar blamed Pakistan government for usurping the human rights in Baluchistan and treating the people of Baluchistan like animals. They also declared Baluchistan to be a separate state and accused Pakistan of illegally occupying it. They one-sidedly accused Pakistan government and people of Punjab in particular for usurping all rights of people of Baluchistan and portrayed militant Sardars like Bugti and Marri as heroes of Baluchis people. Fredric Grare blamed Pakistani media being in control in Pakistan Army while member of European Parliament from Poland Ryszrd Czarnecki went on to claim that Baluchistan was not a part of Pakistan and a “Punjabi Army” was ruling them he also went on to say that Pakistan came into existence through a restrictive voting. So in other words, the seminar was merely an attempt to malign Pakistan, Pakistan government and Pakistan Army and media as well. All attempts were made to lay the fundaments for the separation of Baluchistan from Pakistan and to encourage the separatists and militant activists in Baluchistan while the seminar concluded with pledge from the chair to hold more sessions on similar debate in near future. A similar conclusion is expected when the Delhi seminar’s episode regarding Baluchistan would end as the Chairman of the said segment former Indian Judge Rajendra Sacchar is expected to come up with similar conclusions, as desired by RAW and the government at New Delhi.

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Israel acts like the world’s ‘spoilt child’: Saudi FM


Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal (R) and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu hold a news conference in Riyadh January 2, 2010. – Photo by Reuters.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Saturday said Israel was the world’s “spoilt child” and got away with what Riyadh said were violations of international law and war crimes without punishment.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also urged countries to adopt “a firm and serious stance to put an end to the policy of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and in Jerusalem”.

“Not reaching solutions (for the Middle East conflict) is (the result of) the special treatment Israel gets,” he said at a news conference with visiting Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

“When they violate international law, other countries get punished but not Israel … Israel has become like the spoilt child of the international community.

“It (Israel) gets away with anything it does without accountability or punishment,” he added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is backed by Riyadh, has insisted Israel freeze Jewish settlement building before peace talks for a Palestinian state in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war resume. He has rejected a temporary halt to construction ordered by Netanyahu as insufficient.

Israel announced on Monday plans to build nearly 700 new Jewish homes in areas of the occupied West Bank it considers part of Jerusalem, prompting strong US criticism implying they could undermine peace talks.

Prince Saud said the policy of expanding settlements was “a source of deep concern and condemnation for both us and the international community”.

“This policy casts doubts on the seriousness of (Israel’s) commitment to the peace process,” Prince Saud said.

Saudi Arabia floated in 2002 an Arab peace plan that calls for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a “fair” solution to the crisis of Palestinian refugees in exchange for normalised ties with the Arab world. — Reuters.

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Whither India?


By S. Qadri

India’s de facto ruler, Sonia Gandhi, has warned Pakistan against “taking India’s wish for peace as a sign of weakness” (Dec 22).

Every country in South Asia knows that India is upto scores of times bigger in size and military strength. They have also learned from experience how the giant neighbour throws its weight around. Thus, even the landlocked Nepal was subjected to an economic blockade and Sri Lanka was so worried in the 80’s that it had reportedly asked Britain, China and Pakistan tohelp it in case of an Indian invasion.

Pakistan, too, knows this and much more, having lost its eastern wing primarily due to Indian military might/intervention. So, Mrs Gandhi, everybody around here knows India’s superficial strength. But, what is real power, do you ever try to understand?

True power is what China has been exhibiting in its relations with its South Asian neighbours. When, during the 1962 war with India, it had pushed the Indian army out of the disputed territory, it declared a ceasefire and returned the Indian weapons it had captured, after duly polishing and servicing them! That is what is known as strength.

Standing up fearlessly to a 7 times bigger adversary, as the Pakistanis have been doing for 61 years, is also toughness.

It is not the bullying of weaker countries by holding a gun to their heads, as India does, won’t do. Nor is it the occupation of territories, as New Delhi did in case of Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Goa, Sikkum and Siachen Glacier. And by no means is it the stoppage of river waters to Pakistan or Bangladesh either.

The Indian Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan had explained this in his own wisdom:

“A person in the intoxication of outer power that he possesses overloks the cultivation or the developmnt of inner power, and, depending upon the power that does not belong to him, one day becomes the victim of the very power that he holds… So it is that the heroes, the kings, the emperors, the persons with great power of arms… have become the victim of the very power upon which they always depended.”

Thus, slitting pen the bellies of pregnant Muslim women or burning to death Christian missionaries is not power, any more than holding Kashmiris or Nagas or Naxalite farmers captive at gunpoint your strength. That is why violent protestors or their sympathisers now besiege India.

If India had existed in Euope, would Italy, France, Germany or Britain have allowed it to gobble up slices of their territories? This is something that Mrs Gandhi and the European supporters of India should ponder about. How can China, Pakistan or other regional countries let New Delhi usurp their lands or riverine resources?

Former Indian President Radhakrishnan had said many decades ago: “Our opportunities are great but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil ways”.

More poignantly, John Milton had observed: “What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Vast, unwieldy, burdensome, proudly secure, yet liable to fail by weakest subtleties, strength’s not mad to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command”.

Both of them could have been speaking of present-day India.

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