In Search of Elusive Glory


Najm us Saqib

India has not only formally accepted its past (mis) adventures overseas but also spelled out its future mo­dus operandi to advance its national in­terest through forceful application of the ‘anti-terrorist’ apparatus. A visibly angry Rajnath Singh looked in no mood to spare Pakistan or any other coun­try if India decided to eliminate anyone anywhere in the world. Though his body language belied the very essence of his intended mes­sage, he tried emulating Nana Patekar of the Bollywood movie ‘Parinda’ when he said “Pakistan mein ghus kay maa­rein gey” – We will infiltrate in Paki­stan and kill. Perhaps, he didn’t realize that by following his PM’s footsteps, he confirmed RAW’s proud performance of twenty successful assassination at­tempts inside Pakistan’s territory – as recently reported by The Guardian. In­directly, he also admitted that indeed it was the largest democracy in the world that assassinated his fellow Sikh broth­er – Hardeep Singh Nijjar – in June last year on Canadian soil.
Ideally speaking, India should be tak­ing The Guardian to the relevant Brit­ish Court, seeking compensation for the newspaper’s ‘atrocious’ allegations. If the contents of the report are baseless and untrue, why must India stop after calling it mere ‘false propaganda’?
Was an official confirmation of India’s policy of fixing ‘terrorists’ or ‘undesir­able elements’ overseas necessary or not – only the Indian Defense Minister knows. Sheer audacity aside, why New Delhi feel the need to expose itself in that manner just a couple of weeks be­fore the general elections? Does India’s wish to join the elite P-5 have anything to do with it? Or was it an effort to rub shoulders with those powerful coun­tries that have a license to kill in any nook and corner of the world with abso­lute impunity? Has anyone in Moscow, Beijing or Washington taken note of the fact that a nuclear state has outrightly threatened its nuclear neighbor of seri­ous consequences as and when consid­ered appropriate?
Is hybrid warfare no longer a se­cret now? Will terrorism be used as a ‘legitimate’ means to inflict harm or achieve strategic objectives? The UN Security Council must be writh­ing in its under-construction intangi­ble graveyard somewhere around the Gaza Strip. There goes the remaining relevance of the UN, the International Court of Justice, and the Universal Dec­laration of Human Rights. At the same time, the fear of sanctions imposed by the international powers that be – qui­etly dissolves in thin air. In the context of the South Asian uneasy nuclear en­vironment, herewith perishes the last hope of an immediate détente between India and Pakistan.
Singh has not only tacitly admitted his government’s previous covert op­erations in Pakistan but also expressed New Delhi’s willingness to continue the practice, although this time, not so sur­reptitiously. Simultaneously, India wants Canada, the US, and the Five Eyes to be prepared to witness the penultimate war – in Pakistan and everywhere else. Just like his Cabinet colleague, Jaishan­kar, who maintains that Pakistan is ‘ir­relevant’; Singh also has shown great un­derstanding of their Western neighbor. He is confident that Pakistan has ‘start­ed to understand’ India’s power. Has he noticed some weakness recently shown by Islamabad? Was he referring to Paki­stan’s FM’s recently announced desire to start bilateral trade with India?
India’s desperation over its inability to ‘control’ the South Asian geostrategic situation is visible, particularly with its Western neighbor’s principled stand­points on ‘core’ issues. It also shows New Delhi’s desire to manifestly prove the other side of ‘Shining India’ while redefining democracy. Flexing its mus­cles everywhere could very well be an attempt to showcase its credentials as a major regional power. The audacious behavior also goes hand in glove with the BJP’s RSS and Hindutva designs, aiming at glorifying the idea of Akhand Bharat. China being out of reach, both economically and militarily, Pakistan re­mains the only pebble in the shoe as far as India’s desire to ‘rule’ the SAARC re­gion is concerned.
Does the rhetoric have anything to do with the soon-to-be-held general elec­tions in India? Not really. However, since Pakistan ‘bashing’ attracts non-Muslim Hindu voters, the possibility cannot be ruled out either. Killing two birds with one stone could very well be the objec­tive. Let the Indians know the real power and capabilities of their country when it comes to dealing with the enemy while at the same time- let us not overlook the standard anti-Pakistan narrative.
Is New Delhi planning another false flag operation? One would not be total­ly surprised if it is so. In fact, looking at India’s track record, any such misadven­ture is a bit overdue now. Is India pre­paring grounds for all future ‘untoward’ incidents inside Pakistan under the pre­text of chasing so-called terrorists? Now that it is all in the open and its actions and designs have been exposed by The Guardian, India would not mind under­taking any future ‘projects’ inside Pak­istan that look like a ‘reaction’ rather than an ‘action’. The ‘assumed’ legitima­cy to ‘infiltrate and kill’ might have been created to have a free hand in harassing its archrival.
Has India joined hands with TTP in their common objective to weaken the State of Pakistan? Far-fetched but not impossible. Applying the analogy – an enemy’s enemy is a friend – and keep­ing in view India’s recent closeness with Afghanistan, this possibility cannot be ruled out either.
Should Pakistan be worried? No. It’s nothing new. Singh has said what Pak­istan would expect from India particu­larly since the developments of August 2019 and after experiencing a few vio­lations of its air space, ground, and wa­ters. If a cruise missile can accidental­ly land in Pakistan from India and the latter could get away with its sheer in­transigence, any misadventure could be expected. What must Pakistan do and how should Pakistan respond? Well, a standard response by the Foreign Of­fice, calling Singh’s remarks as ‘provoc­ative’ and ‘myopic’ and observing that such rhetoric only ‘impedes the pros­pects of constructive engagement in the long term’ – has already been given. Subsequently, the Defense Minister of Pakistan has vowed to give a ‘resound­ing response’ if it tried to infiltrate again. So far, so good.
What next? Besides taking up the mat­ter at every possible important world forum and urging the international community to check India’s ‘nefarious’ designs, Pakistan needs to take one im­portant overdue step. Let us desist from expecting miracles or making outland­ish proposals such as initiating bilateral trade with India, particularly during the ongoing ‘terrorized’ tug of war. Mean­while, let India get trapped in its own devious designs. As Napoleon Bonapar­te would advise – never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan and author of eight books in three languages. He can be reached at