Bharat Clueless in Afghanistan and confused about Pakistan

February 9, 2010

Seema Mustafa

  • UPA was acting under US pressure as it moved from the tough “we will not talk unless Pakistan contains terrorism” to the pliant “let us talk” with a suddenness that left the strategic establishment stunned.
  • India has been asking for the arrest and trial of Hafiz Sayeed for his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack, and the meetings made it clear that Pakistan had no intention of obliging.
  • Judging from the hostile Pakistan response, the decision to talk was used to put India further into the dock by Islamabad, a sort of “we are the big guys and we have them where we want them” approach

India that was expecting a polite and immediate ‘yes’ from Pakistan to its offer for foreign secretary-level talks once again finds itself on the wrong side of the fence. Not only did Pakistan take its time in reluctantly accepting the offer with several ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ for public consumption, it also gave clearance to the [organizations] to organise a string of anti-India meetings in Muzaffarabad, Islamabad and Lahore that were addressed by Jamaat ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.

The Kashmir Solidarity Day that the Pakistan government has long since turned into an annual event, marked the re-emergence of the Lashkar mentors in all the three cities where India was targeted even as they laid claim to Kashmir. This was their first appearance after the Mumbai terror attacks, and while this time ministers from the Pakistan government were not present, several former officials of the ISI joined the meetings. In fact so emboldened was the Jamaat ud Dawa (banned by the US) that it dropped the alias Falah-i-Insaniyat that it had been operating under, and brought out its own banner in total defiance of international opinion.

India has been asking for the arrest and trial of Hafiz Sayeed for his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack, and the meetings made it clear that Pakistan had no intention of obliging. In fact, JuD speakers spoke at length of intensifying the struggle against India for Kashmir, a signal that the terrorist groups were getting back on the old agenda which had been temporarily suspended because of the war in Afghanistan. They urged the crowd to fight for Kashmir until the last Indian soldier was dead. Several speakers also said that the jihad should be taken to Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan making the linkages for the terrorists.

The Pakistan government has been completely silent on this show of strength by the [..] outfits. Instead it has gone on a media drive to highlight the fact that India has asked for the dialogue under international pressure. Surprisingly, New Delhi, completely embarrassed and one should hope worried, is silent. It has not said a word about the Pakistan claim of international pressure, and it has also not been able to decry the public meeting organised by terror outfits lest Islamabad reject its offer of talks. In what is suddenly a pathetic posture, after the rigid and unthinking stance fo 14 months, the government here seems totally confused and clueless and is now waiting for the next move from Pakistan.

One does not know who is responsible for the current mess, but it is obvious that the UPA was acting under US pressure as it moved from the tough “we will not talk unless Pakistan contains terrorism” to the pliant “let us talk” with a suddenness that left the strategic establishment stunned. There was no explanation why the government position had changed within hours, what were the new factors that had opened the door for a dialogue, and on what basis had the government reached the new assessment. Despite questions being asked officials were silent, and churned out a couple of off-the-record explanations that were faithfully reported by some scribes, but made little sense.

Judging from the hostile Pakistan response, the decision to talk was used to put India further into the dock by Islamabad, a sort of “we are the big guys and we have them where we want them” approach. The JuD meeting dug the knife in further. The Prime Minister’s Office that is in the driving seat on matters related to Pakistan has again timed it all wrong, and brought no strategic thinking that could protect India’s interests. Rushing, as always, to think and act out of the box, the PM and his advisors actually got the country trapped inside the box.

The problem is that the escape route is closed, more so as after swallowing bile and insisting on talks, the government cannot really indulge in yet another volte face without losing credibility not just nationally but across the world.

This has been the story through out with foreign policy becoming even more reactive and knee jerk after the Mumbai attacks. First India by refusing to join regional initiatives like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and insisting on sitting only at the US hosted high table, managed to isolate itself in the region. By following a foreign policy congruent with that of the US in not just West Asia but also to a great extent in South Asia, New Delhi gradually lost its status as an independent voice in the region. This was primarily the reason why India was not involved as a player in the talks held by Turkey, and at another level by Iran, to bring Pakistan and Afghanistan together on the same page. So there was the usual surprise in South Block when at the fourth such meeting hosted by Turkey, both Karzai and Zardari agreed to seek a solution for Afghanistan based on dialogue with the so called good Taliban. India was completely out of the picture, and while most analysts here had seen this coming, the government and its advisors were left staring with their mouths open.

The result was that India was virtually isolated at the London Conference on Afghanistan where the strategy to talk with the Taliban moderates was endorsed even by the West and foreign minister S.M. Krishna returned home with little to say. Now that this important strategic line had been decided upon, US pressure on India increased to open dialogue with Pakistan so that it could withdraw its troops from the eastern border, and focus entirely on Afghanistan. In case Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has any other views, the fact is that US President Barack Obama does not care a bit for Kashmir and terrorism there, he wants to get out of Afghanistan with an assurance that American nationals will remain safe in their own country.

So if Pakistan wants to flaunt some Kashmiri outfits and terrorists in the process, so be it. Let them have their little fun. And instead of realising this, foreseeing this, the Indian government in its search for a good seat at the high table, walked right into the Pakistani trap without assessing the pros and cons of the offer. Surely strategy is to build and plan for a worst case scenario and work backwards from there. This is how the world does it, but in New Delhi ‘feel good’ remains the mantra and in an environment where the bureaucrats only task is to please the political masters, frank strategic assessment remains confined to the dustbins. Clearly the assessment here was, offer talks and the Pakistanis desperate for the dialogue will come rushing. They did not, as they never have even in the past but then history, even very recent history, has never inspired our political class to draw the right lessons. As for the bureaucrats they have long since ceased to think.



  1. Actually it is Pakistan which has been caught on the wrong foot.

    India is getting credit,that despite such big issues of conflict,it is till keeping channels open for talks.

    Pakistan is in a bind.

    If it responds,it is not sure what to commit and what to discuss.

    Time and circumstance are not on Pakistan’s side.
    There is conflict and severe economic problems domestically for Pakistan.

    Unlike Pakistan ,India has no problems,militarily or economically, in sitting out the problem by indulging in long discussions/talks.

    • Pakistan is so incompetent, we are playing exactly into Indian hands

      do you think the goverment has grown balls over night ? no it still doing what americans what, which is to make us look crazy

    • @rajk

      stop lying rajk ..go and so somthing nice in India

      Come lets get together and build toilets around india

      I’ll build one for ur family too

      i think u also have diaper rash ….hahahahaha

      Building a proper toilet will help u relieve this feeling …

      • jealous paki strikes again

  2. Dawn has a nice article on it.

    ‘The Indian invitation for talks has nevertheless put Pakistan into a diplomatic dilemma. Accepting the offer compromises its stance on Composite Dialogue, while rejecting it may invite international pressure with world capitals perceiving Islamabad as ‘a blocker’.

    Describing the talks offer as a ‘bait’, an official candidly accepted that ‘it had put the Foreign Ministry in a fix’.


    Smart move by India.

    • The dilemma that pakistan is in in well reflected in the dawn article.

      What does Pakistan have to gain in the talks?

      Is it presently in the position militarily or economically to do anything.

      Especially with the USA crawling all over Pakistan.

      Talks,particularly the long winded,heavy on words light on substance,eminently suits India.

      Time is one luxury that the Pakistanis certainly do not have.

      When Pakistan could not pressurise India in the 89s and 90s,whwn India was economicaly and militarily much much weaker,what hope does it have now.

      And with ever passing year,the gap only grows wider.

      • @Rajk
        Answer has been given to you in this article –

        BTW what can you really do militarily?? Your 80% tanks don’t have night vision, ur air chief says you guys don’t even match up to Pakistan, this is the truth about ur nuclear submarine http://rupeenews.com/2009/08/18/indian-nuclear-sub-not-nuclear-sailing-empty-without-reactor/
        etc etc

      • Dawn is a professional newspaper and i have given its links.

        If Pakistan is so sure of itself and if India is supposed to be under pressure,why the dilly dallying still.

        What is Pakistan afraid of?

        That the talks are initiated at India’s timing and advantage.


        Regarding Tanks,the IA chief never gave any percentage.

        All he said was that not all Indian tanks have NV,which is true of MOST armies.

        Only the USA and NATO forces have 100% night capabilty in armour.

        Do not analyse like the sensationalist amateur media or put words which were not there.

        What is the Indian Tank fleet:

        >600 T-90S- Fitted with Thermal Night Vision(TNV)

        >124 Arjun- TNV

        >1950 T-72 -M1 all have basic night intensifier sights.Under Project Rhino T-72s upgraded with ERA and TNV.

        That is present ARMOUR strength of TNV equipped tanks around 2700.

        The above are the main strike line up.

        Non TNV tanks :
        550 T-55 Deployed in HOLDING/DEFENSIVE line
        800 Vijayanta- Reserve line

        ALMOST 4000 tanks
        Are you aware the EVEN Indian BMP 2K,that is Infantry combat vehicles of mechanised forces have TISAS (thermal imaging stand alone sights)


        Pak tank forces.

        220 ALK -TNV sight
        320 T-80 UD-TNV sight

        T series upgrades

        350 al zarar TNV fitted(T-59 series upgrade)
        Other T series

        300 Type 85-II NO Thermal night sight.Passive intensifier
        700 T-69/59-No night capabilty

        So we have 520 modern strike(T-80+ALK)in Pak inventory.

        Rest are 1350 upgrades of OLD T series tanks.

        Total tanks:~1870


        Indian armour is quite a formidable force as its is.
        Pakistanis forces qualitatively and numerically do not have superiority.

        About the nuclear submarine.

        The Arihant is India own effort,it will take time.

        BTW NO ONE ever trials or commissions a nuke submarine with a reactor.

        It is too dangerous since a reactor leak or problem will be catastrophic.

        Testing is completed using CONVENTIONAL power.

        Only when all the subsystems,main equipment in tested can a nuke reactor be started.

        ALSO you should worry more about the FULLY OPERATIONAL Akula about to join the IN.


      • @Rajk
        Why the hell do u Indians love wikipedia so much??

        Indian army chief accepted that that the Indian tanks have only 20% night vision capability

        A comparative analysis of Indian arjun and Pakistani Al Khalid tanks

        Fifty percent Indian military equipment is ‘obsolete’, according to a study by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the consultancy firm KPMG.

      • Wiki is there so you can refer and see.

        I have given you the statistics

        Work out the math and find out the percentage.

        India is a free democracy with hundreds of channels out to make news.

        Sensationalism works.

        ALL T-90s and Arjuns come fitted with

        The T-72Ms are with PNVS already and project Rhino is upgrading them to TNVS.

        If you feel happy with 20%,OK!!!

        And BTW 20% Indian Tanks would still be a big number!!!!!!!

        Arjun is a western Model heavy tank,with solid protection and systems.

        The only ill luck India has that it is caught between the imported light tank lobby and the heavy western tank supporters.

        But both the T-series and Arjun have their merits.
        Mobility issue of rail transport is bullshit.

        BEML india makes plenty of wagons for it:


        And if a hundred + tonne railway engine can go over a bridge will the arjun not go over it!!!

        And making them in numbers is no issue at all.


        Here is ANOTHER report on it.


        Obsolescence is a very relative term.

        What is primitive for the USA may be ultra modern for another.

        In the Indo-pak front(the only war India will probably ever really fight) it not that big an issue.

        Pak armour is mostly 60s vintage/lineage tanks.it still flies 60s lineage Mirage IIIs,F-7Ps.

        Sure the Indian army would like to come to Nato standards.

        But the pak army is no nato or US army.

      • @Rajk
        The Hindustan Times newspaper of August 13 had this to say: “Let me begin with the Al-Khalid tank. Even a cursory look at its capabilities shows that it is an armoured corps commander’s dream. In its offensive capabilities and speed on level ground, it meets every requirement that the Indian army’s most up-to-date GSQR (General Staff Quality Requirement) for India’s MBT (Main Battle Tank) project more than a decade ago (16 years). More important, it has a fire control system that enables it to acquire and shoot at targets while moving at high speeds over rough terrain. This is something that India’s mainstay, the T-72 tanks cannot do (some are being upgraded to have this capability). The fact that all this capability has been packed in a tank with only a 1200 HP engine, means that it has an overall weight of 40 tonnes or thereabout against the Arjun’s 55 tons (Indian tank under development for the past 16 years). This will give it a lower profile than the typical MBT and make it harder to hit.”

        Foreign military journals of repute have given Al-Khalid tank good reviews. Journal of Military Ordinance in its March 2001 issue writes. “One of the highlights of the show was the Al-Khalid main battle tank that is the result of co-operation between Pakistan and China. Fairly lightweight by Western standards at 46-tons, the Al-Khalid carries a 125mm smoothbore main gun of Chinese design. The fire control system for the main gun includes an image-stabilised dual magnification gunner’s sight, a panoramic commander’s sight, and a thermal imager. The fire control system also employs an autotracker. The vehicle carries 7.62mm co-axial and 12.7 anti-aircraft machine guns. Additionally, it is equipped with grenade launchers on each side of the turret that carry twelve smoke and four high explosive grenades.”
        The journal goes on to say, “The Al-Khalid is powered by the 1,200 horsepower Ukrainian 6TDF diesel engine that generates 26-horsepower per ton. This allows the tank to reach a maximum speed of over sixty-five kilometers per hour and to accelerate from 0-32 kilometers per hour in less than ten seconds. The Al-Khalid has a maximum cruising range of 400 kilometers. Six prototypes of the Al-Khalid have been tested over the last ten years. From these six prototypes, four basic configurations have emerged.”

        Read more – http://rupeenews.com/2008/02/04/pakistans-500-al-khalid-tanks-have-beeen-in-production-since-2001-newer-generational-tanks-now-being-exported-via-ideas-2008/

        As for PAF, read this –
        PAF VS IAF, Defined by IAF

  3. I think India should widraw its membership from the Non-Aligned Nations Club as it is clear the US is controlling the shots in its internal & foreign policy. Infact India is willing to go so far in pleasing its masters in the west that if Pakistan pressures a little more India might even agree to give up their stand on Kashmir and gradually as everyone knows India is reducing is regular army from the Kashmir Valley to please the US.

  4. Talking for peace while allowing the Jehadis carry out anti-peace speeches. Interesting ….

    • Talikng of peace while allowing the RAW carry out anti-peace support. Interesting…

    • so whats the difference …here in India we talk about world development but 75 % of people have no toilets ……

  5. India has cold feet now. It got trapped in its own arrogance. If they had learned anything from past, they would not have repeated the mistake of siding with a retreating power in Afghanistan. India is now feeling sidelined and marginalized. It is this feeling of insecurity that has provoked India to desperately return to talks.

    Pakistan Zindabad, Pindabad.

    • how can a superpower feel insecure

    • IN foreign policy one has to follow a certain line and position.

      One can make some adjustments according to circumstances,but one has to stick as close as possible the basic line taken.

      Pakistan has NOT been doing that.

      Opportunistic policies do not win friends in the long run.

      Will the Afghans and Taliban ever really forget that they were dumped by Pakistan at one phone call by the US.

      The US was a winner then,so pak sided with it then.

      Now USA is supposed to be losing ,so pak is changing tack.

      Tomorrow if USA/NATO are on the rise again,will Pakistan again,dump the ‘retreating power’ and go for the winning one?

      They may not show it,but Afghans and particularly pashtuns hate disloyalty.

      Today or tomorrow they will avenge for it.

      • @Rajk
        Have u ever tried using your brains for a change?? This happens when you read TOI too much!

        Pakistan hasn’t done anything to harm the real Afghan Taliban those who are under Mullah Omar! And they shouldn’t even do so coz they haven’t done anything to harm Pakistan!

        Do you know the Afghan Taliban heads are against the fake Taliban in Pakistan they have always denounced them and say they should stop killing innocent civilians and people of Pak army… if they want to fight they should come and fight the US/NATO in Afghanistan!
        So get ur facts right before making up such pathetic statements!

      • People wish that the leaders of Pakistan use their brains once.

        The pretense and hypocrisy of Pak fighting terror is well known.

        Everyone knows that the Taliban are the favourite proxy and asset of the Pak ISI and Army.

        Pak considers them essential to its strategy to control Afghanistan(a fond wish,since the afghans never like control)and gain the much vaunted strategic depth for pakistan.

        BUT the conflict came when the USA threatened pak after 9/11 that it give up taliban.

        Since pak military heavily relied on US aid and weapons and it feared US action against it ,it had no choice.

        The backdoor support continued, though at a reduced pace from the ISI.

        The problem however for pakistan also arose when Pashtun nationalism and the taliban creed spread to pakistan.

        BTW the afghan Talban HAVE never recognised the Durand line between afghanistan and pakistan.

        Also the pak army under Kiyani,at the threat of US,was forced to undertake operations against Pak taliban and monitor the afghan border.

        This is what has not been liked by the Taliban.

        Pakistan still has the illusion that the Taliban and afghans will somehow consider Pakistan as their master and do according to pakistani wishes.

        Pakistan fails to see,how DIFFERENT the afghans see themselves from pakistan.

        Are the taliban fools,that they do no see what relations pak,US and Nato have.

        Where are Nato supplies coming from?

        Off course,pakistan.

        Read this article from Dawn:


        It sums up the issue in an excellent manner.

      • @Rajk
        Have u understood a single word I wrote earlier?? Don’t give me trashy articles from shitty Dawn newspaper, majority consider it shit…read nation.com.pk.

        Firstly the only job of Pak during the Soviet invasion was to train the Mujahideen all the funding was done by US.

        After 9/11 the only people Pakistan handed over to US were the Al Qaeda members who are not afghans. Have u ever heard of Pakistan handing over any Afghan Taliban to US or doing anything to harm them? NO. ISI is not stupid enough to support people who will go around killing them. Mullah Omar has openly said the Pakistani taliban are not our men and they are spoiling our name. When a Pakistani ambassdor was kidnapped in Afghanistan it was through the Taliban that Pakistan got him released.

        What Pashtun nationalism are u talking about?? They are loyal to there motherland ‘Pakistan’ which is why they are fighting alongside the Pakistan army in tribal areas and most of the army men fighting militants are also Pashtun coz they know those areas very well. BTW there are more Pashtun in Pakistan compared to Afghanistan.

        During the Taliban rule the Afghan taliban had no problem with the Durand line so I have no idea where did u get that info from that they are against the Durand line?? The only reason Afghan Taliban don’t have a problem with Pakistan is because they don’t consider them an occupying force, If you know so much about Pashtuns you should even know that they are never disloyal to people who have helped them which Pakistan did during the soviet rule, Pakistan even took in 3 million Afghans who are now residing in Pakistan, many even want Pakistani nationality.

        If Afghan Taliban had problem with Pakistan they wouldn’t be saying publicly to the fake Taliban to stop attacking Muslim brothers and sisters in Pakistan without any reason.

  6. hahahha … it ultimately boils down to the situation on the ground. India has held Kashmir for more than 60 yrs in spite of pakistan’s best efforts and dismembered pakistan into two.

    If u think pakistan still has the upper hand, all i can say is suit yourself. No matter what happens Kashmir will be in Indian Safe Hands.

    You guys can find solace in some madrasa educated nut’s fiery speeches. lmao

    • @FAKE Emperor babur
      By “Indian safe hands” you mean killing of innocent civilians and raping of women on a daily basis.

      As for ground reality Assam, Kashmir, Bodoland, Sikkim, Telangana, Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand and others want their own states. Over 40% Indian land is controlled by Naxals/Maoists! So before talking about our probs take a damn clear look at urz first!

  7. Oh BTW, on the remarks of the IAF chief:

    Is that how you will defend PAF,by newspaper reports read to ones own wishes.

    This is what he said:
    “P K Barbora while expressing dissatisfaction also about India’s defence exports said, “as far as defence goes, we don’t even match up with Pakistan.” “The internal politics over the years is such that whatever defence requirements are cleared by the government, they are opposed by the opposition parties and the same happens when roles change and opposition sits in government, “ he said.


    The issue was on DEFENCE exports.

    The official was unhappy on the governments policy of restricting Indian private sector companies in and foreign investment in the defence field.
    He asserted that allowance of big private players with foreign tie ups will give a big boost to defence sector and exports.

    BTW here is the match up:



    Apart from the F-16s(only a very few are from new block) and JF-17,PAF in fact has NO NEW GENERATION aircraft to take on the IAF.

    Its the PAF which has to worry not India.

  8. Lets first start with the IAF.

    The article you state seems to premise that every aircraft of the IAF is grounded or unreliable.

    The Mig is grounded,the IL-76 is grounded,this is grounded that is grounded,that its service is unpredictable!!!

    When the fact is NONE of these are grounded as on date.

    I never recall the IL-76 as ever grounded.Why would it be?

    India has NEVER had an incident with the IL 76.

    Its quite funny also,with reference to
    poverty,caste etc.

    Hardly the professional defence alliance.

    Also analysis of PAF orbat is taken as a sign of weakness!!!!

    I repeat,India is so glad that Pakistan is taking on Chinese aircraft.

    Anyday the IAF prefers that the PAF take on Chinese aircraft than top of the line western or Russian aircraft.

    PAF also has no choice really.

    With the country economic situation,western style aircraft are increasingly unaffordable,unless given as military assistance by the USA .

    ARE YOU aware that its the Chinese who are extending soft loans for PAF purchase like JF-17,J-10;but even they cannot fund all purchases.

    Frankly the wish list of PAF given in your article is not borne out by Pakistan’s economic reality.

    Please read:

    PAF is having trouble just to acquire 36 J-10s.



    Also please do not forget the INDIAN NAVY.
    The IN also operates a lot of aircraft.

    They are also acquiring latest gen Mig-29Ks,which will be also a big headaches for pakistan.

    PAF is quite hard pressed really in face of IAF present and proposed acquisitions.

    Its 2010 now and i have already given the strengths of the Arjun.

    What is one of the best things of the Arjun is that unlike T-series design,Arjun has a seperate bustle for ammo storage in turrets.

    The greatest defect of T-series tanks(both Chinese,Pak and Indian T-series suffer this) is in turret ammo storage due to the auto-loader design.

    The T series is prone to massive turret explosion on turret penetration by AT munitions due to inturret ammo.

    ALK is aT series design.

    Western tank design is much more survivable due to seperate ammo storage and heavier armour.

    That is why many in India want arjun in greater numbers than the T-series.
    T series rely on lower profile and light weight to survive.

    Western tanks(like Arjun)rely on heavier armour,more turret volume and separate ammo storage to survive.

    In current wars,the western design has proved much more survivable.

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