New Delhi, 05
sporadic violence in Kashmir continues and news and evidence
suggests that the ISI are still strong in supporting cross border
terrorism. Hence we follow up on media articles by Lt Gen Ashok
Mehta on 1 Jan in Pioneer and by Manoj Joshi on 2 Jan in Times
of India dealing with India’s Military mobilisation –– read
with President Musharraf’s statement that he had warned India that
Pakistan would use nuclear weapons if Indian troops crossed the
assets, their trigger and command and control in Pakistan are in
military hands. The nuclear threat was Pakistan’s response to
India’s mobilisation, which had definitely put Pakistan’s
leadership in a quandary. In hindsight the entire exercise seems to
have worked only partially and a war that could have been, was
averted. USA and the West claim much credit for this. Interestingly,
the provocative statements made by Musharraf, to warn India’s
Prime Minister, have not been denied by the Indian side, or the
leaders that Musharraf has named –– even though his spokesman
mellowed the threat of use of nuclear weapons the very next day.
This has been Musharraf’s forte in dealing with the concerns of
the International community. On the one hand Musharraf claims he got
his message of deterrence across and on the other the Indian
leadership say their message to stop cross border terrorism held
sway. Both claim victory, if keeping the peace can be so termed.
Kashmir imbroglio has not moved forward and the PM has mused from
his holiday resort at Goa –– that Kashmir, which includes POK
one presumes, is an integral part of India. In both countries no one
knows for sure which statements are for the world or for internal
consumption. So the question that bogs is –– was it bluff by
Musharraf? This deserves analysis.
India there is no codified war planning or execution machinery and
it is the Cabinet Control provided by Article 74 of the Constitution
that empowers the Prime Minister to direct the war. PMs have done
this personally or through their Defence Ministers and the three
Chiefs of Staff, who in India are uniquely all equal in stature.
Jointness has still to evolve. In UK direct access of the CDS and
the Chiefs of Staff to the PM is codified. In India the Chairman
Chiefs of Staff is the Chief who is the longest in office, who is
nominated by rotation. He has no executive powers per se and in the
present scheme of things is to be replaced by the CDS having similar
authority with only Intelligence and Strategic assets added. Hence
it is the personality of the PM, his military acumen and his
relations with the Chiefs that have been the deciding factors in the
execution of past wars and military operations.
Chiefs without good political direction are mere soldiers fighting
it out. According to historians, Pandit Nehru handled the 1947 and
1962 wars poorly. Lal Bahadur Shastri handled the 1965 war
reasonably well but Indira Gandhi handled the 1971 war superbly by
close and direct contact with Gen S F Manekshaw. During those times
there was no National Security Adviser but this new powerful
bureaucratic addition has become another cog in the undefined wheel.
it must be underscored is a near war situation. One can therefore
assume PM Vajpayee or his NSA shared Musharraf’s threat with the
Service Chiefs. In the War Appreciation that threat, as taught in
Staff Colleges, would have been factored in as the Course most
likely to be taken by the enemy, to prepare the Operational Orders
for war. Military planners must have argued it out whether it was
bluff, blackmail or real, and Gen S Padmanabhan’s statement just
before retiring that this potent threat was taken in to account, is
is the smaller nation, but India is not yet a super power to thrust
its will. It is well argued by Military scholars that there are four
main facets of coercive strategy when two powers are in conflict.
War should be the last resort. The first two of these are –– to
give tacit ultimatums for compliance, and then ultimatums by time
–– while all the time engaging in dialogue for an ultimate
solution of the problem. The aggressor nation thus resorts to coerce
the latter, to comply. The ultimate solution in this case is Kashmir
over which Pakistan has fought four wars –– but all India did
was to ask for cessation of cross border terrorism by Pakistan.
other two factors in coercive diplomacy are bargaining or
negotiations. Pakistan was put in a position to accept some
solutions short of war, but there was no vehicle to conduct this
part of coercive diplomacy –– thus repeating that cross border
terrorism must be stopped, became rhetoric. The world community
echoed it but did nothing concrete. Indian application of border
fencing and ground sensors by the Army, improvements in deployments
and a new Government in Kashmir are contributory factors.
if all this holds water, the next time India mobilises, the
Government must be clear what its ultimate aim is –– on the
territorial aspects of the entire Kashmir and on the LOC as the
international border, which was articulated in the Simla Agreement.
The Army was asked to delineate that line and to stick to it even
during the Kargil war. There should be no doubt so that the Military
knows what is required of it.
coercive diplomacy with dialogue and negotiation does not work the
next time around then the threat of war must be implemented,
especially if Pakistan was only bluffing. There should be full
introspection and analysis of what was achieved by India's costly
mobilisation and full credit must be given to the Armed Forces for
having remained in that state for 10 months without any overt ill