Since I’m not a foreign policy expert these are just a collection of thoughts by a lay person.
Pakistan is our neighbour. It is not going anywhere and we’re not going anywhere. Our situation is totally different from that of the US that has fought most of its wars very far away from its homeland. So whenever war is not suitable to the US, its soldiers can go back. In India, there is no going back. So no matter how bad we feel, we have to learn to live with a neighbour whose top leadership — political and military — thrives on an air of animosity between the neighbouring countries. As long as there is no peace, there is lots of money to be made and lots of power to be wielded by Pakistan’s top leadership.
There is still some modicum of hope in saying that the people of Pakistan want peace, at least a majority of them. Many in Pakistan, accepted, would like to bring back those old, glorious Mughal days back when the Mughals ruled India but somehow it needs to be communicated to them that it is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, unless Indians end up destroying themselves by constantly supporting leaders like Kejriwal. The Muslims of Pakistan should move on. There are better things to be done. There is a complete world that can be enjoyed by everybody. This, needs to be communicated to them, somehow.
The opium of the hegemonic India is constantly fed to them to keep them all riled up and to keep them from mounting a coup upon their leadership. If this opium is stopped, they will certainly be able to see that all India wants is regional peace and prosperity and hence, simply wants to be left alone. Just imagine, if the countries of the Indian subcontinent turn into an economic bloc, what a prosperous region we can become.
So the easiest solution would be to eliminate the top leadership either politically or by force. Eliminating doesn’t mean killing them or assassinating them. They can also be eliminated spiritually and intellectually. India should use money power to buy out most of the leaders in Pakistan. Give them more money than what they get from America and China, and it will obviously be not in their interest to carry out their “jihad” against India. Use honey traps. Use diseases. The top leadership of Pakistan is highly corrupt and corrupt people are easier to buy. They don’t have morals. Ideologically they are insincere. They are used to luxuries of life so their thinking as well as physical abilities are anyway atrophied.
Before you start protesting against buying peace with money, you must know that saam daam dand bhed are all an integral part of dealing with your enemy.
Where money doesn’t work, strategic force should be used. Strikes can be carried out that look like as if they have happened from within Pakistan rather than from India.
Whenever you want to send the enemy in a disarray, the best way of doing it is eliminate the top leadership that controls the goings-on.
India’s current international standing is quite solid. Pakistan is being isolated regionally as well as internationally. No country, including China, raised even a whimper during the “surgical strikes” India carried out after the Uri terror attack. In fact, policymakers and politicians all over the world have been praising the way India carried out the strikes. This means, in the event of a war, Pakistan knows that right now, except for China, no country is foolish enough to support it. Given the might of China it may not matter, but this is an integral part of handling Pakistan and India right now under Narendra Modi is doing an exceptional job of exposing Pakistan’s duplicity and isolating it internationally in the process.
Raking up Balochistan has been a good move. Not just in terms of a humanitarian cause, Balochistan should be eked out of Pakistan even for India’s benefit. Pakistan will be rendered a smaller country and it will also deliver a very strong moral blow to the country that is constantly thinking that it can get away with anything. India should have a long-term plan for helping out the people of Balochistan in whichever way possible and not just Balochistan but also all the parts of Pakistan that want to get out of Pakistan. A smaller Pakistan may not be comparatively easier to deal with but it will deliver a strong psychological blow — first Bangladesh and now Balochistan.
No strategy can work without taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons into consideration.
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is an ineluctable reality. It is a proverbial sword that is constantly dangling over India’s neck. Let’s not delude ourselves into believing that just because a nuclear strike from Pakistan would invite a similar strike from India it would restrain Pakistan from using nuclear bombs. Nothing can be assumed. The only saving grace for India is that the self-aggrandizing Pakistani leadership wouldn’t like to die themselves along with their families due to a nuclear exchange.
India shouldn’t depend on deterrence or the no first strike agreement — such agreements hold no meaning for countries like Pakistan and even China. India should put lots of resources into developing technologies that can counter Pakistan’s nuclear attack in a very effective manner. It should include cyber counter-attacks as well as abilities to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear warheads within Pakistan without ever allowing them to enter the Indian skies.
A five-year (what I mean is, a fixed timeframe as Narendra Modi often does) plan should be devoted exclusively to developing technologies to counter the nuclear attack because once we have this technology, we will have a greater bargaining power. If I’m not wrong most of the nuclear weapons are controlled by computers these days and India is emerging as one of the biggest computer powers in the world. We will certainly be able to mount a cyber-attack and render Pakistani computers incapable of launching the nuclear bombs. This should be India’s priority. This should be the stepping stone of every long-term Pakistan strategy. If a nuclear holocaust is used as a threat, then our first priority should be to eliminate all the chances of this fact being carried out. We have great many scientists and computer programmers for this job. It should not be like “if you strike us then we strike you and then we both die”. The message should be delivered that not even a bird is going to be harmed on the Indian side due to Pakistan’s nuclear bombs.
India should form an economic bloc with the rest of the countries in the Indian subcontinent including Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Burma. China has been able to make inroads in some of these countries but this damage can be easily undone by making genuine gestures. Even people in these countries know that China is there only for strategic benefits, it has no emotional ties with these countries. But India has. They know that India is not as coldhearted as the Chinese and this should work to India’s advantage.
India’s long-term Pakistan strategy cannot exist without taking China into consideration because China would never want peace between India and Pakistan because that would mean allowing India to compete with China in terms of political and economic clout. Even if Pakistan can be turned around, somehow, via a miracle, China won’t allow this. So India needs to come up with a plan to make it unprofitable for China to meddle between India and Pakistan. I don’t know how this can be done but if think tanks are formed they will certainly be able to come up with some solution.
So far, we haven’t had a consistent strategy for handling Pakistan. On the contrary, Pakistan has consistently followed a particular route when it comes to having a strategy for India. It has been hostile towards India since its birth. It has carried out multiple attacks on Indian territory, militarily as well as using terrorists and insurgents. It has tried to break India multiple times. It has consistently tried to cause problems for India. So in that sense, Pakistan has had a consistent strategy for India.
India on the other hand constantly vacillates between friendliness, bellicose behavior and cluelessness, primarily due to our carcinogenic vote bank politics. Somehow our politicians and policymakers think that pissing off Pakistan too much means pissing off Muslims in India although I don’t know how this logic works. If this is true, the Muslims of India should come out of this hangover and if it is not true, the politicians and policymakers must come out of this hangover.