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Withdraw support to terrorists

MAJOR KULBIR SINGH. Dated: 5/19/2017 11:16:34 AM

Pakistan should halt “state or non-state” support to terrorist groups to boost ties between the two countries. India-Pakistan ties can “truly scale great heights” if Pakistan removes the “self-imposed” obstacle of terrorism. Cross border relations between India and Pakistan has enormous room for improvement. There is possibility of “truly cordial and meaningful” relations to develop between the two “historic rivals” provided Pakistan takes effective measures against terrorist activities on its soil. India is ready to take the first step, but the path to peace is a two-way street. “Pakistan’s failure to take effective action in punishing the perpetrators of terror attacks limits the forward progress in our ties. India still maintained its position on the improvement of bilateral relations, which rested on the sole condition that Pakistan should take effective measures against the perpetrators of terror in addition to withdrawing its support, both state and non-state, of terrorist groups. Instead of fighting with each other, India and Pakistan should together fight against poverty. There can be no compromise on terrorism. It can only be stopped if all support to terrorism, whether state or non-state is completely stopped. Pakistan’s failure to take effective action in punishing the perpetrators of terror attacks limits the forward progress in our ties. In order to reduce casualties and damage to property, and improve the investment climate, India’s response needs to be reviewed and upgraded.Despite facing seemingly insurmountable internal security challenges, the Pakistan army and the ISI – together constituting the “deep state” – have been engaged in a low-intensity limited war against India for almost three decades. Through low-key terrorist strikes, the Pakistan army is keeping the machinery of proxy war well-oiled so that levels of violence can be ratcheted up whenever necessary. Pakistan’s deep state is continuing to sponsor terrorist attacks not only in India but also against Indian assets in Afghanistan through extremist organisations like the LeT and the JeM. Incidents like the terrorist strike at the Pathankot air base in January 2016 and Pakistan’s proclivity to remain in denial even though hard evidence of the involvement of organs of the state is given to it, are exhausting Indian patience.A single miscalculation could lead to conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.India’s carefully calibrated strategy to fight Pakistan’s proxies within its own borders and on its own side of the LoC, in order to keep the level and the intensity of conflict low and maintain a stable environment for rapid economic growth, has not yielded the desired dividends. For India the opportunity costs have been prohibitively high in terms of the strain on the defence budget and slowing down of the rate of growth, for example, because of the decline in tourism in J&K.The remaining roots of Kashmiri militancy are now in PoK and Pakistan, but eliminating these though military means is not a viable option.India should pursue a four-pronged strategy to gradually force Pakistan to stop waging a proxy war against India.


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