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Here Are Eight Steps India Must Take To Counter Pakistan-Sponsored Terrorism

ISIS flags being waved in Kashmir in 2014 (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

If India does not give an apt response to the Pakistan-backed terrorist attack at Uri, we might as well resign ourselves to becoming the punching-bag for that terrorist state. The point is clear: Pakistan is the original Islamic State. Its national focus is enmity towards India, not the upliftment of its own people.

Pakistan’s enmity is not about Kashmir; it is about Islamism and defeating “Hindu” India. Hence dealing with such an enemy needs long-term counter from India. The following initiatives should be part of the counter-

1.   Raise military spending

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We have to consistently raise military spending by up to 1 percent from current levels. Over a decade, or more, Pakistan will be forced to match it, leading to its economic implosion. The Soviet Union imploded not because of military failures, but because the US upped its military spending under Reagan.

2.   Develop a formal military-industrial complex

Linked to the above, we have to simply develop a formal military-industrial complex with both private and public sector participation. Building up our military-industrial complex has to be the core of Modi’s Make in India. We have to act against the corrupt defence establishment, which is used to making loads of money from foreign defence salesmen.

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3.   Engage actively in strategic goals-based diplomacy

We have to pursue active diplomacy based on strategic goals. For example, if we are planning to rake up Balochistan, it makes no sense to do so without involving Iran. We share no border with Balochistan, but Iran does. If Iran can be convinced about its interests being protected, or even expanded in Balochistan, we can work together.

With China, our diplomacy should be about explaining the future costs of giving Pakistan full backing for Islamism, and link it to its own problems in Xinjiang, where the Uighurs are sullen and ready for jihad. It won’t work immediately, but China will get the message slowly, when Uighurs start arming themselves actively. Our geopolitical alliance will be US, Japan, Vietnam and Israel, with Russia and Iran being an important secondary partners.

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4.   Develop a covert network in Afghanistan

We have to develop a covert network with segments of the Afghan tribal population and the Afghan government to threaten Pakistan from the west. This will impose real costs on Pakistan, and force it to worry about its exposed back in Afghanistan.

5.   Aim to deter not just Pakistan, but also China

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We have to consider developing tactical nuclear weapons, not just to deter Pakistan, but also China. We cannot rule out Chinese adventurism in Tawang on Ladakh if it feels India is stretched in dealing with Pakistan. We have to throw a hint that India’s nuclear arsenal is focused on deterring a bigger power, and not a minor vassal state.

6.   Encourage stronger guerrilla capabilities inside Pakistan

We must cultivate stronger guerrilla capabilities inside Pakistan, apart from intelligence. If it is so easy to ship across a few terrorists every month from Pakistan to India, why is it so difficult to do the opposite, to go behind enemy lines and target the same terrorists and the Pakistan army? Terrorists cannot be stopped by the army alone; you have to send small groups after them to do unto them what they do unto us.

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7.   Counter China economically and technologically

With China our tools have to be economic. Given the huge trade disparity, we should start developing non-tariff barriers and national security clauses to stop the surge of Chinese products into India. We need to look actively for cyber snooping and malware coming with Chinese electronic goods and delay the shipment of every single item imported into India. We have to be conscious of this Chinese game, and develop cyber counter-threats.

8.   Stop Being Apologetic About Kashmir

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We must stop apologising for Kashmir. India has too many weak-minded intellectuals who are all-too-willing to paint us as the villains. We keep asking ourselves: surely we must have done something wrong in Kashmir that Pakistan is able to fish in troubled waters? The answer is, sure, we must have done some things wrong, but no global power ever ties itself in knots when it comes to protecting its national security interests. We just have to learn the lessons from our mistakes and move on.

Our core statement to the world needs to be that Pakistan is the real Islamic State and it needs to contained and defeated.

This article has borrowed inputs from an earlier Swarajya article.

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