India’s war of attrition-Dr Farrukh Saleem

26/11 was six weeks ago. The US and India are now using that tragedy as a tool to further their respective foreign policy objectives. Pakistan is divided like never before. There’s a rift between the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. There’s a rift within the ruling party. There’s a rift between the two mainstream political parties. Pakistan divided is an open invitation to forces that are bent upon crippling Pakistani institutions.

Pakistan is under siege like never before. On September 17, the Indian Air Force, the 4th largest air force in the world, deployed at least 6 Sukhoi-30MKI multi-role strike fighters a mere 100 miles east of Islamabad (at Awantipur AFS under its Western Air Command). On or around December 12, India’s South Western Air Command put Uttarlai AFS, Bhuj AFS and Jaisalmer AFS on heightened alert. Then there’s the Farkhor Air Base operated by India’s International Air Command some 300 miles north-west of Islamabad (37° 28? 15? N, 69° 22? 56? E). Across our western borders are 50,700 troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), at least 76,000 active-duty troops of the Afghan National Army plus squadrons of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned hunter-killer aerial vehicles. Just south of Karachi, Pakistan’s only seaport, is the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group (call sign: Rough Rider) with its Nimitz-class supercarrier propelled by two nuclear fission pressurized water nuclear reactors along with guided missile cruisers, guided missile destroyer, fast combat support ship USS Arctic and an attack submarine USS Albuquerque.

Pakistan encircled like never before, the siege is meant to bring our institutions down on their knees. India having realized that it lacks the capability of a coup de main?and concentration of forces having failed in 2002—has now launched its war of attrition (a coup de main is a “swift attack that relies on speed and surprise to accomplish its objectives in a single blow”). India’s war of attrition is meant to wear down Pakistani institutions?primarily the Pak Army?to the point of collapse not in a single blow but through a series of military as well as non-military maneuvers. (Consider, for instance, the case of Ajmal Kasab’s nationality. His nationality is largely irrelevant but is being used to bring the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence down on its knees. After all, 15 of the 19 September-11 hijackers were Saudi citizens and so is Osama bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri and al-Masri both Egyptian while al-Zarqawi was of Jordanian origin.) India’s war of attrition is all about tearing down critical organs of our state, one at a time; shaking the very foundations of our state and daydreaming of a totally submissive Pakistan.

Pakistan divided, terrorists have taken over the driver’s seat of India’s foreign policy bandwagon; they have hijacked both the agenda and the initiative. India’s foreign policy establishment must first dislodge these terrorists and then snatch back both the agenda and the initiative?don’t let terrorists drive you wherever they want to take you.

Pakistan divided like never before, the President of Pakistan also wants to be the Chief Executive. There’s thus a tussle between the de facto and the de jure Chief Executive. As a consequence, the state of Pakistan is headless, directionless and senseless with no prescribed mechanism for decision making (Mehmood Ali Durrani’s case may only be the tip of the iceberg). Divided within, how can we respond to challenges external.

Pakistan divided like never before, the US and India are both furthering their respective foreign policy objectives at the cost of Pakistan’s. Pakistan divided, Pakistan under siege and Pakistanis up against India’s war of attrition. Divided we all fall, unity our only saviour.

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email:

Source: The News, 11th January, 2009

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