And now the strategic encirclement of Pakistan

January 15, 2009

An Indian military presence in Afghanistan to put further pressure on Pakistan? That would be the red  rag for Pakistan, and the end of its long struggle to seek strategic depth  in Afghanistan against its much larger eastern neighbour.

Indian newspapers have reported army chief General Deepak Kapoor as saying at a news conference that such a move would squeeze Pakistan, although he seemed to be at considerable pains to stress this  was a decision that India’s politicians had to take.

Kapoor said New Delhi’s efforts in Afghanistan, which themselves have aroused suspicion in Islamabad, were confined to reconstruction so far. It was up to the Indian government to decide whether the option to “strategically squeeze” Pakistan from both sides by placing a division or so of Indian soldiers in Afghanistan should be considered.

“We are only assisting Afghanistan in its reconstruction efforts at present. The political leadership will have to take a decision if something more is required,” the general said, according to the Times of  India.

The Hindustan Times quoted him thus: “Changing our strategic policy towards Kabul in terms of raising military stakes is one of the factors that is to be determined politically.” 

Kapoor’s remarks, however carefully phrased, are unlikely to go unnoticed in the strategic establishments. Is it feasible or is this a part of a tense psychological battle that New Delhi has mounted against Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks?

You could argue several reasons why an Indian military presence in Afghanistan is most unlikely beginning from the fact this further complicates a messy battlefield where America is doing all it can to get everyone, but especially the Pakistanis, to focus on the hunt for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Then, how do you justify sending troops to another country, even if it is Afghanistan? Would they be part of the U.S.-led coalition or would they operate independently? Is it even feasible from a military point of view?

Perhaps the idea is to force Pakistan to blink by threatening to squeeze it militarily, on top of a diplomatic encirclement as pointed out in a previous post on this blog.

On Thursday, Pakistan said security forces had closed five training camps run by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the Mumbai attack, and arrested 124 of its leaders and those of a related charity. So it doesn’t look like the heat is off, even if there is considerably less talk of conflict

[Reuters pictures of the Taj hotel, Mumbai and an Afghan woman with her son on a Kabul street]


I know you are hurt. So are many in Pakistan including me. We all should agree that terrorism is a common enemy and that we need to unite and stop accusing each other. If India and Pakistan will not have an improved relationship, it will make things worse.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


—It was going beautiful…we kept suppressing the Mumbai train blast/jaiur/delhi/ahmedabad… now we are facing the danger of ‘hindu terrorism’ more lethal as it will destroy the very siritual fabric of our nation,then the Mumbai attacks-mocking at us- & worst the local populace instead of after painfully establishing democracy, falls back to the cunning army…our options are drying faster than we imagined…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

It is unfortunate some pretentious people from outside the Indian subcontinent are indulging in anti-India tirade in this web site. They pose as very enlightened, wise people. But their hypocrisy is truly nauseating.

Actually though they are totally clueless about the ground realities. Thus they don’t contribute to solving the problems but aggravating it.

Their hypocrisy is nauseating since they say the people of a successful, progressive secular democracy is worse than the people of a country founded on religious exclusivity, a country that has promoted hatred and violencce for 61 years of its existence.

The only reason Indians even think about Pakistan is their sponsorship of terrorism in India. To say Indians go around harbouring lots of hatred towards Pakistan is absurd.

Indians don’t have a self-image of themselves as anti-Pakistan but that is exactly what people in Pakistan live for.

For example, no state in India has text books and a subject called “India studies” where we are taught to hate a people belonging to the neighbouring country or any particular religion.

It is very easy to appear nice , say nice things about Hindus and India to outsiders. At the same time recruit and sponsor jihadi terror in India , and completly deny the existence of such terrorism infrastructure in Pakistan.

In summary, these pretentious, misinformed people promote and cause more misunderstanding than anything good.



Your level of naivety astounds me. While your conciliatory efforts are bar none here, you will see a larger number of Indians compared to Paks, naturally speaking out against each other, simply because there are 1.2billion Indians and 160million Paks, that is simply explained. There are also more English speaking Indians than there are Paks, which also explains a greater percentage of Indians can converse with you than Pakistani’s can, just look at the literacy rate. So you have larger population, by almost 7.1 to 1, of which that 7.5, a greater number can communicate better with Westerners. Of course you are going to have a skewed view that there is greater animosity from Indians than Paks. The actual reality is quite reversed.

While culturally there are a lot of similarities, food language and festivals, etc. The real divide is shown once you bring religion into the mix.

You are very evasive and afraid of losing your liberal status when you don’t answer my question regarding how Paks look down at Hindu’s religion. This racist hate filled ideology must end.

You are wise, please explain to me how India can reconcile with a people who generally look down upon the Religion in India and the people following it, as deserving a status lower than the lowest common denominator?

I have not seen you convince one Pak, that all religions are equal before God and equal in respect. This assertion is very key for reconciliation. This is ther very reason the Indian subcontinent was occupied for 800 years by the Arab invaders. This failure of yours to recognize the gross inequity one holds in his heart towards the other is your grand failure and why some folks here laugh at your blindly guided conciliatory efforst and you lose credibility.

In Hinduism, the religious belief is not racist and does not preach others are wrong and that one human is lower than another, based on their belief system.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive


Surely you have been waiting a long time for my reply so open your eyes WIDE and switch your brain in gear and start reading oh yeh get a pen and make notes if you wish might actually help you to digest the information lol.

You said what has Pakistan contributed to the world in the last 1000 years, you fool Pakistan has only been independent for the last 60 years or so so please get a bit more knowledge before you start writing garbage. Pathetic I mean I thought I had enough on my plate teaching the idiots but now I have to enlighten you too.

In the short history of Pakistan (Land of the pure). Pakistan has achived quite a lot for example in sports, Culture, actions on world stage, Played a mojor role in bringing the soviet union down (while india was their puppet) contribution to the UN, Nuclear power, Best armed forces and most of all a country that brought together the West n China. For a small poor country to have the achieved that much is extrodinart and yes I admit there are problems but so does any other country has them. For example the guys who left beeston/Leeds and blow up buses in London doesthat mean the British Government is incompotent or does NOt control some parts. The answer is NO these are non state actors and sleeping cells brainwashed to only enhance the terrorist intrests if they have any.

Infact it was Pakistani inteligence which provided a lot of inteligence which have pervented few attacks in the West. So the bottom line is Pakistan is commited to rooting out terrorism and our army has sacrificied lifes for that more then anyother country in the World. How dare people still can lift their head and point finger at my beautiful country.

USA is a superpower and even she needs help of its allies to fight this war against terrorist. I mean Pakistan a poor country at the forefront of this war surely we need the International community to help us. But instead we make gains in the FATA NWFP but another drone attack puts the whole Pakistani effort to waste. Those drones attacks not all kill inocent tribal people how do you expect to win the war on terror when the people who we need you are bombing anyway.

If you think you can do better without the helP OF pakistan then good luck, for example how far did india gets by being a war monger instead of working together to bring the people to the gallows who commited those hedious crimes. More to come dont worry enough medication for all of you for time being and especially idiots…

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

1) Please stop the lie that pakistan and inda share a common culture. May be punjab, delhi and UP might. but these 3 states are not India. A tamil or a naga culture is as similar to pakistani culture as that a Mexican.

2) Nobody in India cares and will care about pakistan if they stop their terrorist attacks in india. We dont care what pakistan in saying about terrorism, we care what she is doing about it.

3) We dont want nuclear war but a nuclear arsenal should not stop us from seeking justice of terrorist acts. And we would do all it requires to prevent such future terrorist attacks. We have a nuclear doctrine of no first use. but i assure you that in case of nuclear war we will be the final user of nuclear weapon.

4) Pakistan is as much land of pure as Satyam is’Truth’.
Unless pakistan stops using terrorism as a tool of its foreign policy there would probably be no worthwhile peace between India and Pakistan. And NO; absence of war is not peace!

5) Regarding Bangladesh. Some islamic groups in bangladesh, working closely with ISI, are linked with bomb blasts in india. Also terrorist in recent times are using Bangladesh as a transit route for people and money. The new bangladeshi regime will help in choking this transit route.

6) We are proud of our Sikhs/ punjabi. No community is so much loved and recognized throughout india as the Sikhs.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Here we go again the same idiots the same blame game the same mind set of hindu fanatic and want to see greater India. Told you fools it will never happen and wake up and start living in real world.

Some idiot has said that Pakistan was born out of terrorism? If you wake up and start thinking and looking out the bos you will understand. Jinnah was in congress with the gandu n the boys but when jinnah asked for Muslim rights, economic rights, religious rights and other demands. He did NOT get a satisfactory answer which could assure him that we Muslim could exist with the New India which can NOT wait to re-write the historu of hindus ruling muslims. That when jinah moved the muslim league and become a head of it and with the help of Ilama Iqbal the poet the dream of having a muslim homeland become reality.

Jinah was absolutly CORRECT

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

From my which point you think i want a greater india?
ME for one is happy that we have kicked out the bigots from india and gave them a separate land which they can ruin and make hell for themselves. Be happy with you rot and dont spread that rot to MY country.

Jinnah was a power hungry demagogue. He was a wine drinker with a connoisseur for Pork. What a muslim to establish Papistan…..ops Pakistan! Jinnah was absolutely correct in on things and that is gauging your rat brain.

Jinnah never fought for independnce. When everyone in the country was fighting the british for independence that scum was creating divisions in the independence movement. Britain gave up Raj because of various factors but Muslim league was not one of them.

Jinnah’s farcical dream of muslim homeland fell apart when sane muslims choose to remain in India than to migrate to Pakistan and be called “Mohajir”. So much for muslim home land! And then the bodyblow to the muslim homeland stupidity came through the seperating for Bangladesh from the clutches of Paki punjabis.

I happy with my india i have and my only request to you is to let us live in peace. Don’t send your brainwashed zombies to my country. You have already made a mess of your country. now stop messing around with mine.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Your comments are right on target except there is one factual error. Jinnah was a connoiseur of whiskey not wine.

About the role of Britain, it is a story of poetic justice. What you sow what you reap. Now they are reaping in Londonistan.



Victor :
You missed one thing, Jinnah realized later that making of Pakistan was a big error and he died of this guilty complex in a year.

I know some pakis say it was workload which killed him.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

To Global Watcher:

Thank you for your very thoughtful comments. You have presented some very complex questions and I will try my best to answer them. I don’t know if I can answer all of them, but here goes.

I believe very much in tolerance, that is the center of my being. And religious tolerance is paramount. That’s why I am reluctant to criticize any one’s religion. But I have less inhibition about criticising my own religion. There is a saying that people who live in glass houses should never throw stones. So I can agree with another commenter that Christian missionaries in India are wrong in their approach. Faith is something having to do with free will, not force or by bribery.

Yes, I have said I have seen more animosity from Indians toward Pakistanis than visa versa. I haven’t said that to hurt people’s feelings, but there was some question here on that and I reported my personal observations. Yes, there is validity in your highlighting statistical analysis so please couple that offset with observation and one gets a less distinct picture. You are correct.

But if we are on the subject of statistics and scientific investigation, maybe it’s good that there is a naive view like mine here in this column. Doesn’t it appear logical that Indians and Pakistnis are too close to the problems to be dealt with? Perhaps you should welcome the views of an “outsider” as a challenge? But I do think that I have some understanding of the culture (I hope you think so too). And I have visited both India and Pakistan.

Back to religion. It’s hard for me. I respect Hinduism. I respect Islam. I respect Sikhism. And the others. Yes, I do have some criticisms, but I am reluctant to express them publically because of respect for people’s religion.

But here’s what I am for: Free will to chose your religion. Males and females getting equal education It’s OK if they study separately. Tolerance for other religions on an equal basis.

I cannot convince the Pakistanis that you talk about to think that all religions are equal as I believe or you believe. I can only set an example. You can change your thoughts in an instant, set an example, but people are free to follow your example or not. One cannot extract things from people. They must find out on their own. We can also, by the way, forget the pains of history and forgive and forget. Forgiveness is a vlaue in all religions.

If people laugh at me because they think I am naive, then let it be. I am the one who has to live with myself, not them. And I am entitled to my beliefs.

So, Dear Global Watcher, thank you for asking and being such an honest and intellectual friend. And in honor of you, I dedicate this poem which I wrote:

The time has come for a new day,
Because this weary world needs to find a new way,
When every heart will be unfurled,
To beat in unison across the world,
Wherever we may go,
From the mountains of Colorado,
To the walls of Jericho.

The night holds the promise of a new dream,
That each of us will see the other innocent and pristine,
And each name will be a star,
Giving each bearer the distinction and honor we were born to acquire,
Like a living talisman,
From the lanes of Omdurman,
To the fields of Panmunjom.

It is, indeed, a dream we can have right now,
That West and East should have no meaning anyhow,
With all Humankind brought together through a lovely mingling,
Setting each soul transparent and tingling,
Where, then, should we do our unmasking?
From the temples of Understanding,
To the streets of No One Asking.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

To Global Watcher:

One more thing, you asked the following of me:
“…please explain to me how India can reconcile with a people who generally look down upon the Religion in India and the people following it, as deserving a status lower than the lowest common denominator?”

My answer: Visit Pakistan. If you possible can, please do it and your question will be answered.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

To Global Watcher:

They say the third try is the successful try, so I have decided to answer your most pointed question, which was:

“I have not seen you convince one Pak, that all religions are equal before God and equal in respect. This assertion is very key for reconciliation. This is ther very reason the Indian subcontinent was occupied for 800 years by the Arab invaders. This failure of yours to recognize the gross inequity one holds in his heart towards the other is your grand failure and why some folks here laugh at your blindly guided conciliatory efforst and you lose credibility.”

My answer: Yes, there are some Pakistanis who harbor a chauvanistic notion that their religion is superior to that of Hindus. I have heard that both as a complaint from Hindus and have heard it said myself.
But Global Watcher, there is a corresponding cultural superiority on the part of Indians which Pakistanis complain about and I have heard it myself. That is that Muslims are “outsiders” and only “recent” arrivals and that Hindus are the “rightful” owners of the lands of the Subcontinent.

These are the two diametrically opposed attitudes that are causing the friction. And they are both unrealistically chauvanistic.

You asked and these are my observations.
If reconciliation is to occur, both sides will have to give-up those ideas.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive


Thanks for your comments.
In your:
“1) Please stop the lie that pakistan and inda share a common culture. May be punjab, delhi and UP might. but these 3 states are not India. A tamil or a naga culture is as similar to pakistani culture as that a Mexican.”

What does “May be punjab, delhi and UP might. but these 3 states are not India.” means? Can you explain?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive


You are comparing apples with oranges. Hindu extremist say that is our land move out. Muslim extremist say you (other religionist) have no right to exist and you can at best be a second grade citizens (Dimmis). Are the two things parallel?

Rajeev i agree i have not written my comment very cogently. What i meant to say was that only a part of India share some cultural ties with Pak, and not India as a whole. This over generalization does not corroborate with multi cultural identity of India.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive


—Pakistani’s have forsaken the sub-continent culture & denied their ancestors, they inspire to be called the descendants of Arabs, turks, mongols etc…but not India.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive


Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

It is very interesting to see you write essays here with no facts. You have only seen pakistanis who are educated and have the dreams of being a westerner, and so your views are limited. I have been working with most of the nationalities in an non-west territory and I know what pakistanis and indians feel for each other. The countries have been born out of hatred, and it had remained so for years. There had been efforts done to have warmth in relationships between these countries, but always we see back stabbing from Pakistan, and the most recent one is Mumbai. So as an Indian, I personally do not want any kind of relation, even at diplomatic level with our this neighbour. Because it would be a vain effort.
And so called Ally on War of Terror, that Pakistanis are proud of, is just nothing other than that US knows the terror elements are inside Pakistan and so to fight them inside this soveriegn country, they have to call them ally, other wise it will be another iraq or afganistan, nothing more.
Now, why you see both countries formed on consecutive days, one is seeing economic boom and is no more begging for aid from “friendly” and international bodies, and other one is dependant on it? Educate your people that is what making a differnce here.
From your writing it makes me feel you reside in US and so I donot know your ethnic background that take you to this serious conversations here. However, just one question have you been able to talk to pakistanis and Indians who are living in countries other than US and Europe, about how they feel for each other? Stop thinking America is world and what you see from that perspective is ultimate truth.
What our neighbourhood have is Polished, Western Dressed, Silk Tie wearing, Western Educated Men and Women come infront of TV cameras to sympathise and justify themselves for their hidden agenda of harbouring terror elements.

Posted by Sjose | Report as abusive

The hour has struck
For this (in)-humanity to be Nuked
Then every black-heart shall be exposed
& be washed in their own blood
No corner to secure, no cave to hide
From pole to pole.

Let the night devour all-meek & mighty
make way for new ray of hope & reality

A last compassionate forewarning
Reform or Perish!

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Well the encirclement idea has inched 1 step forward with Russian president replying favourably to karzai’s request for military aid to Afghanistan from Russia.. Russia has also specified it is ready to do more just than military aid to bring peace in afghanistan..and that could be allowing NATO trucks thru Russia..

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive


—That’s music to our ears, Smart move by Karzai…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive


Thanks kindly for your responses. You have almost gotten my point of view but not quite, perhaps I was not clear enough.

Indians, are accepting of any body living in their country, India has a constitution that says everyone is equal, however in Pakistan, non-muslims do not have the same legal constitutional rights, because by definition, Pakistan is not a democracy, it is a religious Islamic nation, to follow sharia law, but that is according to its constitution.

The root cause of frustration buy many Indians is that many in Pakistan, with the exception of the few forward thinking, educated latte-sipping friends of yours in Pakistan, do not view people of a different religion as equal human beings.

That is the purest way I can explain it. How can one claim to want peace, reconciliation and among other things, if one views the other as an inferior human being, because they practice a different religion?

In my ideal world, everybody on earth is a human being FIRST, before they are identified by any religion, culture, nationality, etc. When you have this mindset, it gives rise to democracy and secularity and inclusive societies and a whole host of concepts like “politcal correctness”, “kindness”, “telling the truth”, “personal responsibility” are foreign or perceived as weaknesses by those societies, which are not secular or democratic.

Shame based societies do not honour the basic right of the human being, but put identify the right of their existence and their identity with a religion, creed, or ownership to the state first.

Here is the problem. While you hang your hat on a few good apples the rest of the basket is tainted and it does not view people as human beings first. This gives rise to all sorts of abuses in the name of God. I don’t need to list them all here, everybody knows enough of what I am trying to get across here.

Re-concilation between peoples happens when people can say,

“Regardless of religion, our God we worship, our nationality, our race, our culture, we are equal human beings first, equal in respect, equal in our right to live and exist and equal to be entitled to have inalienable rights, which are inherent to be a part of humankind.”

I believe the concept of democracy and secularity is like an infinite ocean current. Those going against the current will drown in their own ignorance and will be consumed by the sands of time.

Of the many drowning in their own ignorance, we have seen this to be a part of the so-called war on terror.

It is my hope that Pakistan will join and swim with the “current”, I mentioned above, or it will drown. But there does not seem any strong, credible indications of that.

The people of Pakistan must reject the RETROGRADE mindset.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Strategic encirclement? of PAKISTAN?

Have you guys lost it? Because I have a message for the Indians who read this column & get smug…

Beware the unstable neighbour.If the Afghan conflict can spill over into Pakistan & destabalize our country, then IMAGINE what the destabalization of Pakistan can do to india.If you try & take us down rest assured weel take you down with us…nuff said

Posted by I love Pakistan | Report as abusive

The only way to keep Pakistan honest, is for India to setup a very robust and extensive Missile Shield program, to repel missile attacks from Pakistan. India should definately as the U.S. for this, as an overall regional strategy against terrorism from Pakistan, in case Pakistan’s government falls to the Taliban.

That will most certainly guarantee the fear that Pak must remain honest and friendly, whether the Uniforms, or the guys sitting on the pillows are in power.

Diplomacy direct does not work with Pak, it takes tugging the collars of every UN member country by India to tell Pakistan to clean its act up. It is only then, that Pakisan must be co-erced and pressured by the international community before they ever do the right thing over there.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

U.S. regional military chief General David Petraeus said on Tuesday agreements had been reached for new transport routes into northern Afghanistan through Central Asia.
“There have been agreements reached and there are transit lines now and transit agreements for commercial goods and services in particular, that includes several of the countries in Central Asia and Russia,” Petraeus told reporters.

The U.S. Central Command chief visited Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in recent days where he said he discussed the possibility of increasing supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan.

He did not give details but said the new routes into Afghanistan were important in view of a build-up of U.S. forces there this year.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

You have to want peace and freedom for others to have it for yourself.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

@indians—-with the Obama’s inaugural speech it is clear that whose side USA is, despite indians effort to defame PAKISTAN the amount of aid against War on terrors has increase 50%, and we all know that US is not stupid enough to give more aid to a country which is not its ally and not help it against its war on terror. So stop making stories and come to reality, all your efforts to destroy Pakistans’ integrity have failed. Now your government have plan to gain some money through auction of things it purchased to show PAKISTAN involvement in mumbai incident.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

The Indians on this board have a very caricatured view of Pakistan and are making false claims, such as Pakistanis view non-Muslims are sub-human. That is not true.

Getting back to the topic on hand, how does a few trucks through Central Asia equal the strategic encirclement of Pakistan? Isn’t this more Indian fantasies?


Pukhtoons will never let Indian’s so called strategic designes take foothold in Afghanistan.When Mayor of Kabul,Karzai departs, so would Indian strategy. I was born after creation of Pakistan and proud as one can be of one’s country.d
Mr. Jinnah was right – Muslim & Hindu cultures have nothing in common. So, my Indian neighbours, you enjoy your “Slumdog Millionaire” which is the true reflection of your society.Leave us alone, we can take care of our problems.

Posted by Alam Khan | Report as abusive

Pukhtoons will never let Indian’s so called strategic designes take foothold in Afghanistan.When Mayor of Kabul,Karzai departs, so would Indian strategy. I was born after creation of Pakistan and proud as one can be of one’s country.d
Mr. Jinnah was right – Muslim & Hindu cultures have nothing in common. So, my Indian neighbours, you enjoy your “Slumdog Millionaire” which is the true reflection of your society.Leave us alone, we can take care of our problems.

- Posted by Alam Khan

–For you guys, the whole country is one big slum and for that too people are fighting?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

I am pakistani and can say with proud NOW “PAKISTAN is greatest country of the world.and it can NEVER comes to end.we no need any kind of securities,we need only unity and spirit.
and it is only abelieve of true PAKISTANI.

Posted by QUTIE FELLOW | Report as abusive

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