Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

India-Pakistan war games, and Cold Start


gateShashank Joshi has a good piece up at RUSI explaining the limitations of India’s military ”Cold Start” doctrine, meant to allow the army to mobilise rapidly for war against Pakistan. The doctrine is intended to ensure Indian forces deploy faster than in 2001/2002 when India mobilised troops along the Pakistan border after an attack on its parliament blamed on Pakistan-based militants.  It would also aim to integrate army operations with those of the Indian Air Force and to a lesser extent its navy.

The doctrine has caused much alarm in Pakistan which sees it as evidence of a threat from its much bigger neighbour which it says forces it to keep the bulk of its army on its border with India rather than fighting militants on the Afghan border.

The problem is, as Joshi writes, Cold Start does not actually work — or at least has yet to be developed in ways which would make it effective in an environment where both countries have nuclear bombs.

The Indian National Interest website argues that by refusing to admit that Cold Start never really got off the drawing board, India does itself a disservice by giving Pakistan a reason to play up the threat from India.

from India Insight:

From across the border, books and bats

This week, while one Pakistani was being questioned by the Indian police and hysterical reporters on an alleged marriage to an Indian, another Pakistani, composed and smiling, fielded questions from an admiring audience on dynasty and politics in the country that every Indian has an opinion on.

Pakistan cricket player Shoaib Malik (R) speaks to the media as tennis player Sania Mirza looks on, in Hyderabad April 5, 2010. REUTERS/Krishnendu HalderThe contrast between Shoaib Malik, who is all set to marry Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, and Fatima Bhutto, writer and niece of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, could not be more glaring. And that is reason to celebrate.

from FaithWorld:

Mumbai gunmen denied Muslim burial secretly interred in January

Remember the issue of what to do with the corpses of the nine attackers killed during the November 2008 siege of the Taj Mahal Hotel and other targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people? The dead attackers were all presumed to be Pakistani Muslims, like the sole survivor, but local Indian Muslim leaders refused to let them be buried in their cemeteries. Islamabad ignored calls to take the bodies back. So they were left in morgue refrigerators in Mumbai, presumably until the issue was finally settled.


Sole surviving attacker, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, in police custody in this undated video grab shown by CNN IBN Television channel on February 3, 2009/CNN IBN

Pakistan’s constitutional democracy and the Pakistan Army


zulfikar“The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.” – Field Marshall Sir Philip Chetwode at the inauguration of the Indian Military Academy in 1932

For the first time in the history of Pakistan a civilian government is pushing a comprehensive constitutional reform package through parliament to undo provisions introduced by dictators to tighten their grip on power.  President Asif Ali Zardari urged parliament this week to approve constitutional amendments which will turn him into a titular head of state – and, crucially, remove his right to sack prime ministers which had been used by previous military dictators.

On U.S., India and Pakistan: maybe some transparency would help


biden karzaiAccording to the Wall Street Journal, ”President Barack Obama issued a secret directive in December to intensify American diplomacy aimed at easing tensions between India and Pakistan, asserting that without détente between the two rivals, the administration’s efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer. ”

“The directive concluded that India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on U.S. goals in the region, according to people familiar with its contents,” it says.