An Open letter to India’s Respected Leaders

published on December 6, 2008

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji and Shri Lal Krishan Advani Ji,
 
Mumbai.  The one word that has finally told Indians that enough
is enough. As a powerful nation of a billion people let us now redefine
our strategy against terrorism and apply those countermeasures that
will deliver real results.
 
What we have done so far just won’t work. That is, swatting away
endlessly at the hordes of fanatic foot soldiers of terrorism emerging
from Pakistan just won’t work. Thousands of terrorists have been and
will continue to be nurtured under state patronage across the border in
Pakistan, ready to unleash terror in India in wave after mindless wave.
The situation that India has faced for thirty years – and much of the
rest of the world also now faces – is a new paradigm of warfare. In
this new form of warfare as usual the citizens and infrastructure of
one state are violently and repeatedly attacked by another state –
however instead of this type of war being fought directly by a state,
it is fought by proxy terrorist armies set up by the aggressor state.
Thus enabling the aggressor state to plausibly deny its responsibility,
escape direct retribution and continue its campaign endlessly with a
minimal cost to itself.
 
After suffering asymmetrically huge losses as a result of decades of
such warfare by Pakistan, our Indian governments one after another have
yet to come up with a strategy which forces Pakistan to stop nurturing,
financing and training anti-India terrorists as its mercenaries of
warfare. The time has now come for India to redefine its strategy
against terrorism. To plan our new strategy, let us revisit the four
strategies used so far by the Indian state – which have however failed
to turn off the terrorism tap firmly under Pakistan’s control.
 
[1] Diplomatic Duelling. This results in mutual accusations and
provides an ideal platform for Pakistan to engage India in a debate on
the world stage – temporarily elevating its standing to that of India’s
before the international community. This does not inflict any real cost
on Pakistan – rather it works to its advantage.
 
[2] Military Muscle-Flexing. This results only in mutual sabre rattling
and provides a platform for Pakistan to project itself as a victim
instead of an aggressor – while also elevating itself as India’s rival
before the world. As any unilateral cross-border military attacks or
even special forces operations are largely ruled out for several
reasons (which are not elaborated on here), military muscle-flexing
again does not inflict any real cost on Pakistan – and again works to
its advantage.
 
[3] Confidence Creation. This seems logical but won’t work for two
reasons. (1) The very need for Pakistan’s creation and continued
existence is based on projecting India as an evil aggressor – refer
even the content of Pakistan’s standard school text books which
indoctrinate all Pakistani children with this hateful message. (2) The
very lucrative political-economic-military domination of Pakistan by
its army and ISI officers will cease if Pakistan makes long term peace
with India – therefore the Pakistani army and ISI will continue to
engineer terrorist incidents within India specifically to ensure any
progress made towards peace is reversed. No confidence creation
measures will change this core reality in Pakistan while it remains
under army and ISI control – however such measures will only soften
India’s position.
 
[4] Internal Inquisitions. It is well documented that Pakistan’s
anti-India terrorism policy involves its ISI instigating, funding,
arming, training and facilitating disgruntled segments of Indian
society to attack India from within. However any heavy-handed
inquisitions against segments of India’s own society by executive arms
of the Indian Government can easily fuel the smouldering embers of
perceived or real dissatisfaction. Such internal inquisitions by India
will not inflict costs on Pakistan – but they will work to its
advantage by weakening India.
 
So then what is the solution? Should India stop pursuing strategies [1]
to [4] above? No, as the above are valid tools which the state of India
needs to selectively apply – albeit with more finesse – as parts of its
multifaceted approach to defeat Pakistan’s terrorist war against India.
 
However the problem is – these strategies alone just won’t work. What
we now urgently need is to add new strategies going forward. Ones that
don’t just build up our defences against relentless attack (e.g. add
more security forces, improve inter agency coordination, get better
intelligence, etc.), but instead ones that inflict unbearable costs on
the sponsors of terrorism within Pakistan without inflicting
significant costs on India. I.e. we now need strategies that will work
and deliver results.
 
One such strategy that will work is an economic counter-escalation
strategy that will reverse the asymmetric situation, i.e. that will
raise the cost to Pakistan by several orders of magnitude without
raising the cost for India. This can be achieved by two simple yet bold
steps that can be very quickly taken by the Government of India – and
the taking of which lies completely within our Government’s legal power.
 
STEP A: The Government of India passes a resolution to declare Pakistan
a state sponsor of terrorism unless within three months it turns over
to India the leaders and top level teams of the all terrorist
organizations and supporting underworld terrorist organizations who
have been operating against India and who are being hosted in Pakistan.
In advance of passing such a resolution the Government of India should
put in to the public domain sufficient legal evidence to prove beyond
doubt the complicity in anti-India terrorist acts of the accused
Pakistani organizations and their ISI sponsors.
 
STEP B: If after three months the required action is not taken by
Pakistan – for whatever reasons / excuses – then the Government of
India should pass a law that requires all companies operating in or
having their offices operating in India to display within three months
on their product packages and customer-facing documents a prominent one
line declaration stating “Has Business with Pakistan”… if they or any
of their parent/subsidiary/sister companies continue to either sell in
or source from Pakistan. This new law should also require companies to
certify in writing within three months to the Government of India their
compliance status with respect to this law, but it would not penalize
any of the non-compliant companies operationally or financially. Then
let India’s public and industry decide whether they wish to do business
with a company that retains business dealings with a country which is a
state sponsor of terrorism against India. This will result in many of
the world’s companies having to choose between India and Pakistan. For
those that chose the latter – India may not want them anyway. India’s
citizens and business community will wholeheartedly back such strong
legislation. A billion people nation and a trillion dollar economy will
thus speak forcefully in one voice to Pakistan and to all the companies
in the world who continue to deal with Pakistan.
 
When Pakistan’s economy starts to collapse as a result of many
companies starting to pull out in response to the above two steps by
India, the well-lined pockets of its military-intelligence leadership
who have been sponsoring anti-India terrorism will also start to get
emptied. As a result they will have just two options left: (i) see
Pakistan implode economically destroying both their personal wealth and
source of future income, or (ii) comply, i.e. hand over to India the
leaders of its terrorist organizations and permanently dismantle its
terrorist infrastructure.
 
The cost to India of applying this strategy will be minimal and this
will not be in breach of any international laws. However the costs to
Pakistan of continuing to sponsor its terrorism against India will
rapidly become unbearable as a result of the above steps.
 
As Indians we see Pakistan’s citizens as recently (albeit sadly and violently) estranged brothers and sisters. We wish them well and do not
wish them harm. It seems that even the new Government of Pakistan
offers genuine goodwill towards India. But so long as Pakistan’s real
rulers – the army and the ISI – are hell bent on waging a unending and
escalating terrorist war that is burning our country, destroying our
industry and murdering our innocent citizens and honoured guests, well
then, the citizens of India expect the Government of India to hit back
hard, hit back quickly, hit back smartly and hit back with the desired
effect.
 
So Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji and Opposition Leader Shri Lal
Krishan Advani Ji, here is the one question that now demands an answer: Should we Indians who have entrusted our country’s safe keeping
in to your capable hands expect any less from you than to uproot the
tree of anti-India terrorism from the soil of Pakistan where it has
taken root? We trust that your experience, that your wisdom and that
your love for this country will not let us down in this hour of need.
 
Yours respectfully,
 
A Billion Citizens of India

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