Let us go to Afghanistan

Indian troops in Afghanistan is the only viable solution to counter Pakistani machinations.

Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid says that al-Qaeda conducted these Mumbai attacks through the Lashkar-e-Toiba with a strategic aim.

It is a military strategic objective to get the army out of Bajour and stop the US from stepping in. If tensions between India and Pakistan escalate, the army will be moved to the Indian border, as happened in 2002. After the attacks on the Parliament House in Delhi, India built up troops on the border. Pakistan responded by moving its army from the Afghanistan border to the Indian one. And al-Qaeda had a free run of FATA. They are looking to repeat the exercise.

Now come news reports that if there is escalation in tension with India, “NATO and the US command have been told that Pakistan would not be able to concentrate on the war on terror and against militants around the Afghanistan border as defending its borders with India was far more important”.

If this sounds like an intractable situation that puts India in a bind, then the answer to this conundrum lies in the prescription provided by The Acorn

…an Indian strategic response ought to focus on Afghanistan, and its border with Pakistan. That theatre is a key front in the global war on terror—and India’s own.

Help thy neighbour! After all, this agrees with the Zardari school of thinking that India and Pakistan are threatened by the same forces of terror.

This blogger has held a view similar to The Acorn for a long time. Sending our troops to Afghanistan remains the only viable response from the Indian state to finish this scourge of terrorism that afflicts the Indian mainland.

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22 Responses to Let us go to Afghanistan

  1. voyager November 30, 2008 at 12:43 am #

    Its definitely a worthy option but not something to be jumped into without thought.

    We have refused such an offer earlier which was primarily by the US who are caught in a never ending mess in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their deployments, particularly Iraq, are seen as a “f*** up” both within and abroad. They should have stuck to Afghanistan and finished it.

    In case our domestic compulsions become a ground for the US/NATO to substitute their own troops with ours ….then we’re being trapped.

    However in case the US/NATO maintains their presence (preferably upgrades and intensifies it) and we add to that effort in a substantial manner – then yes…that could be the turning point of this larger war. That’s what we must bargain for.

  2. Shaan November 30, 2008 at 1:42 am #

    We should not get into that quagmire, let the Nato take care of Afghanistan. We must take care of Pakistan. Destroy Pakistan.

  3. Sanjay November 30, 2008 at 5:10 am #

    It’s an idea worth considering, however the problem is that Afghanistan could itself become a quagmire for any Indian troops there. I would suggest we focus more on Baluchistan. We should use our naval power to establish clandestine arms shipments to the Makran coast. It’s a more productive use of our naval power than blowing up Thai fishing trawlers.

    Any Pakistani naval ships that try to stop us can be easily handled by us out at sea, because of our overwhelming naval superiority. We can warn the Americans that if they try to protect Pakistani naval assets, as they have in the past, that this would force us to deploy our ground forces near the Pak border. This would have the effect of putting the US War on Terror on the ropes, as Pakistan is forced to redeploy troops away from the Northern Areas.

    We need to start arm-twisting the Americans by using the threat of Indian troop deployment on the Pak border. We have to do this because the US is and has always been Pakistan’s main military sponsor and protector. I don’t want to see the US war on Taliban founder, but I feel we have to use the threat of it to make them prosecute the war more efficiently, and in a way that doesn’t make our security the main casualty of that war.

  4. deppse November 30, 2008 at 5:39 am #

    I disagree with prags…
    Of what use will be india’s intervention in afghan. That is tribal area and they have maintained their independence, their way of life (which many consider as ancient or barbaric ) thru centuries ..You can take history lessons from Abdali’s , Baburs, Anglo-afghan war, sikh wars, russian war, etc etc… And in any case the operation executed in Mumbai was done by non state actors…I don’t think it had any blessings of Pak official establishment.

    So the question is what to do…

    There are lot of issues here, and one which would require lot of patient thinking, strategy, execution to defeat these kind of elements. And u got to be prepared for more such operations. Because this attaack has unwittingly pitted India in extreme center of fight against ideology.

    Secondly I don’t think these guys had come with basic purpose of killing people. They had come with some specific aim. Perhaps there is some one who is very important and who is in custody of our govt or Israel or some one else. And all this was to get him out along with heavy ransom.
    Their misfortune was because of knee jerk reaction of Indian extablishment. When they unwittingly killed ATS chief, some body just got Marcos, NSG, and all sorts of people involved in this. Otherwise they had got their hostages and they had started talking also…Indian establishment just did not give them the time to put their demands. By the time they could do, they had NSG, marcos knocking on their doors…
    So for once because of our functional anarchy, perhaps we were saved from a long siege.
    The only long term valid and good response I think would be first to tighten our internal security mechanism and to encourage ties with Pak and try to develop as an economic entity. The problem here is that we don’t have stability there also.

  5. deppse November 30, 2008 at 6:03 am #

    To say more…
    I have seen these kind of actions, so let our vision not be clouded by media or hysteria or what some dy cm says..
    My prof always said, for finding a soln, u should know what the problem is. Defining the problem properly is more important than finding soln.
    Let’s look on the problem here.
    10 guys demonstrate their capability and ability to kill innocent ppl in different part of city (rly stn, cafe, bystanders,…).
    They take position in three diff places (high profile targets two of which are frequented only by well connected wealthy ppl and one which will get instant prodding from US). All are in constant communication with their control and with themselves.
    So any rescue attempt at any one place will invite killing (thru some gruesome method and in full media glare) at other places and that too of high profile target.
    And their method of leaving is fully defined including long time hostage taking also…
    So this was not something which agencies like ISI , Pak etc would like to plan esp when their foreign minister is here, president is giving no first use guarantee.

    So think about it.

  6. Sanjay November 30, 2008 at 6:51 am #

    deppse, yes I am thinking about it — and I see that India is becoming the fall-guy or sacrificial lamb in sustaining the West’s War on Terror. We cannot be a party to a lop-sided War on Terror, whereby we all take great pains in cooperating to keep only Western soil safe, while leaving India open to the wolves. That’s not acceptable (well, maybe it’s acceptable to Unmanlymohan Singh and his Empress Maino, but not to the rest of us)

    If this is the way the West is going to behave, then it’s going to be every nation for himself.
    If all of us “allied powers” understand that further such attacks will lead to an Indian military buildup on the Pak border, with associated repercussions in the War on Terror, then we’d *ALL* better work to make sure it doesn’t happen, and not just impose the burden of tolerance on India alone.

    Another option is that the US allows us to tighten the sluice gates on the Baglihar Dam once again. If Pakistan wants to burn Mumbai, then we’ll turn Lahore into a desert.

  7. deppse November 30, 2008 at 7:01 am #

    Lastly,

    The more u keep Qasim sahab breathing, the more u risk another attack.

    I thk they (police) being juvenile are putting charges of murder against police officers (those are the only ones- which can be proved) and getting his custody. But I hope they know in how much risk they are putting other innocent ppl.
    Sanjay, I think we all need to think about it, not rush into judgements…Only if every one thinks before they do…
    Like they say discretion is better part of valour…

  8. Yash November 30, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    let us not get sucked into afghanistan, diverting everyones attention to ourselves. let us first improve our homeland security, then venture into afghanistan. if we venture unprepared on the home front, we will be inviting them aghanistan, while our internal security is worse than, US, UK and also Pakistan. look at the state in Pakistan, despite having one of the best intelligence agencies, and imagine what would be our state with our quality of intelligence agencies.

    so, let us first look at our internal reforms, intelligence, police, crisis management body, decision making capabilities etc.

  9. signature November 30, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    If this type of offer comes and at our terms , then India can build pressure on Pakistan’s western border from Afganistan’s side. Inland security of Afganistan still remaining with NATO and Pakistan ,then , will be busy covering both its front and back from Indian left with no time for anti India tirade from within Pakistan.

  10. jo November 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    There are deeper questions involved here than a plain ‘My Dad is stronger than yours’. The entire concept of India has come into question.

    The first people to blame are the general citizenry who give a fractured mandate time after time and make sure the government in the centre is almost always weak.

    The second are the people again who have no dignity for either themselves or their countrimen. As long as one’s verandah is clear of muck and bandits – one is not bothered what is happening down the street.

    The third are again the people who have no sense of justice, compassion, fairness and pursuit of excellence. One must have a job, one must have a house, one must have a wife and children (preferably sons) and let the others go to hell.

    The people of India are insensitive to the core to other people of India and I dare say this is going to happen again.

    Let it happen a few more times and you will have calls for secession of of many states from union of India. The Indian story is going to be over unless we wake up. The first things that need getting done are:-
    Political Reforms – to ensure there is a revote until a single party is in simple majority.

    Internal democratic elections within all political parties that can stand for national elections. Let politicins be elected democratically in their parties

    Judicial Reforms – Timebound disposal of cases

    Civil Reforms – Uniform civil code with primacy of the constitution over any other religious cult creed or beliefs

    Police Reforms – To grant autonomy to police. The political establishment should have power only to remove the chief of the Force and not any constable, inspector ets.

    Intelligence Reform – Pour in money and expertise and hold int agencies responsible for failures. Have huge establishments for int apparatus in jehadi countries. Buy out their politicians, police and government officials

    Terrorism policy – Have a new terrorism policy with focus on elimination of people known to be involved in terrorism anywhere in the world and with any means. MAke a target list and put it in the web to strike terror into the hearts of people who finance or abet terror in any way. suggestions for inclusion in the list – all the top brass of all holy armies in the Pakistan, all indian mafioso living abroad, selected Saudi missionaries, selected ISI operatives who give training to terror outfits

    Religious Reform – The nation should abjure religion for 5 years – no teligious functions, structures, leaders and activity should be permitted until we have at least two years of religious violence free years. Anyone professing religious beliefs for votes should be debarred for two elections. No mention of religion or religious groups should be allowed for 5 years

    Conscription – Have at least 1 year conscription of all ablebodied adults to teach them military values

    Standards organisation – Each public amenity standard must be laid. Charge appropriate money but do not let dignity of humans to be lowered by allowing them to stay in jhuggis and travel in overcrowded buses and trains

    If you do not do all this the drain on the idea of india will continue and soon india will be bereft of all blood and soul – Somalindia – anyone for that?

  11. Valar November 30, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    I disagree, plans and efforts to destabilize India are hatched in POK and not Afghanistan….

  12. menon November 30, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    The Americans with all their military hardware and moolah have not been able to control Afghanistan. If India sends its troops to Afghanistan we are giving the Al Qaeda another reason to foment terror in India.
    India being closer to Afghanistan and with dithery politicians and a colonially lethargic governance system they will be more effective in their attacks than in the US or UK.
    The result will be that we will have more such attacks while our troops will be the odd job boys for the coalition in Afghanistan.
    We should flex our muscles. Our ability to strike must be exhibited by a covert operation which eliminates facilitators like Dawood. For starters the Govt should authorize a covert operation which blows up Dawood in his home in Defence Colony. The message that you mess with us and we will get you must be driven home. Its pointless moving our troops to the border and saying ‘growl’ and return after six months because the Americans don’t want you crossing the IB/LOC.

  13. Shaunak November 30, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    Bad idea. We’ve tried sending our forces abroad once before – remember Op Pawan? Fact of the matter is that even if our politicos grow the cojones to deploy to Afghanistan (which will require Amreeki blessings, BTW), the Rules of Engagement will be so restrictive that they’ll suffer tremendous casualties.

    Our politicos do not understand military operations or the strategic application of military force. The last one who did was Indira Gandhi. Unfortunately the only people advising our politicos on these matters are bureaucrats who’re essentially generalists. I don’t mean to diss the IAS, but spending 20 years administering districts in Bihar does not lead to a capable strategic thinker who can effectively direct the application of military force for furthering our strategic objectives.

    We are the land of Kautilya, but he’s long dead and his descendents are no longer anywhere near the centres of power.

  14. Kaps November 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    Sending troops into Afghanistan is not a viable option in my view. In our country, where we have people questioning the very existence of armed forces. out of sight; out of mind, will make armed forces even more of an alien to a country more tuned to saas-bahu and indian idol sagas. I tend to agree more with menon. This was a terror attack and response must be to evoke terror in the hearts of people who perpetrated it. Let it be syed salahuddin, masood azhar or dawood; or even afzal pasha; bump off one of the top guys in foreign soil and you get your “calibrated” response.

    “I won with terror”, is what muhammad teaches these guys. So let us teach them a lesson in terror too, as this is the only language they understand. Pak or Afghanisan are hardly in control of themselves to plan something like a full fledged war. Proxy war must be fought through proxy.

  15. Yash November 30, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    Menon, very sad,

    as much i would like this (covert operations) to happen, we do not have the capability. u really have to meet a few of the RAW functionaries to believe it. that’s why its name Research and analysis wing. it only does research and analysis like the babus. thank god the NSA also resigned with the home minister. let us find a more active (and for god’s sake not a policeman again) NSA who can really advise on capacity building, and reforms of the intelligence agencies to make them understand, that they are not clerks (their largest strength sits in delhi, rather than field). their field component should be the prime focus, with rest in support and advisory role.

    why dawood now? why not till now? it is because of this reason (we do not have the capability). capability building will take minimum 5-8 years by very conservative estimates.

    i wonder why the home secretary, and the maharshtra CM has not been asked to put in their papers?

  16. Sanjay November 30, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    I think that Pragmatic Euphony wants Indian troops to be stuck in a quagmire situation like the Soviets and now the Americans have gotten into in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan would certainly not accept the deployment of Indian troops to Afghanistan. They have said all along that they would never tolerate such a thing. Just as they have blown up our embassy in Kabul, likewise the Pak army would immediately target Indian military forces in Afghanistan.

    India has no direct access to Afghanistan to ensure resupply of its troops.
    The resupply would be dependent upon countries like Iran, who are about to enter into their own period of confrontation with the West over nukes.

    Indian deployment to Southern Afghanistan is out of the question, since Indians would easily become prey for Taliban/Lashkar/ISI attacks.

    If anything, I would say that Indian deployment to Northern Afghanistan would be better, since we could free up NATO troops to go southward to fight Taliban. We would then concentrate on building more roads and infrastructure for the North, to strengthen it for the eventual US withdrawal/retreat from Afghanistan. This would place the North in a better position, once Afghan political unity breaks down and the country returns to civil war. By supporting the Tajiks and Uzbeks in the north against the inevitable Talib-dominated south, as we did in the past, we would re-crystallize the ethnic tectonic blocs that would revive Pashtun nationalism. The Pashtunistan issue could put Pak back on the ropes again.

  17. Sanjay December 1, 2008 at 3:00 am #

    Furthermore, I’m not sure that Pakistan’s govt would be some innocent victim of circumstances in all of this. Even if Al-Qaeda stands to benefit from a Pak troop redeployment, I feel that Islamabad/Rawalpindi are quite capable of colluding with Al-Qaeda in such an agenda, because Pak Army/ISI would also likewise rather face off against us than continue fighting fratricidally against its jihadi children. They feel their nukes would effectively deter us from crossing the border anyway. So it’s a safe gamble for them, especially since they know there’s another indecisive wimp named Singh in charge in New Delhi. As proof, notice how Pakistan has been very quick to warn its Western patrons that it may have to rush troops to the Indian border. We haven’t even yet made the slightest move to mass our troops on the border, but Pakistan is already making a case for redeploying its forces.

    So even while Al-Qaeda/Taliban might hope to benefit from disengagement from its confrontation with Pak Army forces, obviously Pak Army too would see a similar reciprocal benefit from breaking off that confrontation, with an Indian troop buildup being a convenient excuse. So this would be a common interest shared by both the Taliban and the Pakistani state.

  18. menon December 4, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    Why do we behave like a bully when it comes to a neighbouring state. Would India have send their IB chief to Australia when the Indian Born suspected terrorist was arrested. Did the Australians say that they were trained and supported by the Indian Govt because Sardar Saheb says he could not sleep due sympathy.
    if India has irrefutable evidence then go get em tiger Stop begging for alms. Don’t get down to a “My Daddy is bigger than yours” slugfest. Pakistan is correct in saying that would India hand over suspects if Pakistan hands over a list of suspects. Lets be Pragmatic. On one hand we say we are grown up and should get a permanent seat in the Security council and on the other whenever we have a pak problem we go boo-hoo over unca Sams shoulders.

  19. Veresh December 5, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    Only if this government can cross 10 Janpath we can go anywhere ..

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