Authored by: Amanullah Khan
Edited by: S. Sadia Kazmi
Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad
Strategic Vision Institute organized a monthly In-House seminar on “Indian Strategic Culture and Force Posture Development in the Light of Current Tensions” held on 29th September 2016 at the SVI premises. Lt Gen. (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi (former Pakistan’s Defence Secretary), Amb. Fauzia Nasreen (former Pakistani Diplomat), and Dr. Hussain Shaheen Soherwordi (Professor, University of Peshawar), were invited as guest speakers for the event. Executive Director of the Institute, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema chaired the session, while Director Academics, Ms. Syeda Sadia Kazmi moderated the discussion.
Ms. Shahzadi Tooba (Research Associate, SVI) welcomed the participants and introduced the worthy guest speakers. It was followed by opening remarks by Ms. Sadia Kazmi. She said that Indian strategic culture is by and large the legacy of the British. Nehruvian “forward defence” policy is reflective of the same mindset which essentially aims at counterbalancing the adversary and maintaining the power balance. However India adopted this policy without having a sufficient power base. This lack of power base led to India’s worst defeat vis a vis China in 1962. Not only was it the collapse of Nehruvian policy of counterbalancing the opponent but also the failure of India’s so called non-interventionist/ non-interference posture. The same policy is today being aggressively pursued by India vis-a-vis its neighboring states. None of the regional states usually show any considerable resistant against India’s aggressive regional policies except for Pakistan. Pakistan because of its nuclear capability, has re-gained some kind of strategic equilibrium against India. However, India continues to exercise its influence on the other regional states, owing to its large size, demography and political and diplomatic clout. This is the gist of the present day “forward aggressive defence” policy that India is pursuing. With regards to Pakistan, many factors are at play in the present dynamics of relations between the two. Most importantly the historical genesis, the three wars, Kargil crisis, and an ever present antagonism and distrust has led to the present day hostile dynamics of India-Pak relations. In the most recent scenario, the Kashmir Issue is of utmost importance. The international appreciation of Kashmir struggle as an indigenous movement is a positive development. However, India is vigorously blaming Pakistan at all the important international forums for the unrest in Kashmir. The water conflict and ensuing water crisis is another critical area that continues to be a bone of contention between the two. These are all the different ways that India is employing in order to pressurize Pakistan. She rejected the possibility of war between the two countries but maintained that tensions might continue to escalate.
Ms. Kazmi after sharing her viewpoints requested the first guest speaker, Lt. Gen. Naeem Khalid Lodhi to share his opinion on the subject. He started with the Indian belief system and mindset. He noted that the Indian strategy had transformed from the notion of “enemy of my enemy is my friend”, to “long transition state,” that focuses on economic development and building a posture of a global power to enhance its prestige. He said that our ancestors would share their experiences with Hindus and made some thoughtful proverbs about them like, ‘Baghal mei churi Mun mei raam raam’. Such proverbs are still valid.
He elaborated that these things are bedrock of Indian strategic thought. Indian economic development and its bid to have UNSC seat is reflective of its strategically changed thought process. He talked about some past incidents and promises which India did not fulfill. In 1948, India went to United Nations regarding the Kashmir issue where the UNSC passed many resolutions and India promised to hold plebiscite in Kashmir but that plebiscite hasn’t been held till date. He further said that whenever India comes under international pressure regarding the Kashmir issue, it resumes talks with Pakistan and whenever it is at ease, it refuses to talk, which shows its highly non-serious behavior.
He elaborated that moral pressure and legal obligations do not work in case of India. Kinetic and economic strategies could work. He noted that Indian military operation thought process has moved from defensive to offensive. They have shifted from full war strategy to Cold Start Doctrine. At the same time nuclearization of South Asia is the main element that affected the thought process on both sides i.e. India and Pakistan. India has also shifted its strategy towards fourth and fifth generation warfare, a new kind of warfare, which operates in military, political and economic domains.
He said that Indian military development strategy is to remain the leading purchaser of arms and military technologies on the pretext that it is facing threats from China. India’s large size, large consumer market, huge diplomatic clout and developing economy make it an ideal candidate for regional policing role. Super power, America, is also supporting India to counter China.
Talking about Uri incident, he ruled out the possibility of India fabricating the whole incident as there is no rationale to kill 19 army personnel just to blame Pakistan for it. He also rejected Pakistan’s role in the attack due to timings and the negative impacts on the Kashmir cause. However he suggested that the third party action from either side to further deteriorate Pakistan-India relations could be a strong probability which led to provoking a reaction from the Kashmiri youth. Lt. Gen. Lodhi explained that the hype India created after the incident has a few objectives: first, to divert attention from the Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Secondly, India wants to tarnish Pakistan’s image through vigorous propaganda which could be later on used as a pretext to carry out small-scale strikes against Pakistan.
About war probability between Pakistan and India, he highlighted some factors that do not support war:
• India is a rising economy and this factor would not allow India to indulge in any hot war with Pakistan.
• India is seeking UNSC and NSG memberships, war with Pakistan would weaken its cases.
• Kashmir Issue can get momentum at international level once again if India goes to war with Pakistan. Whole world would believe that it is because of Kashmir issue.
• Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence is another factor that would not allow India to decide for a war option with Pakistan.
He also mentioned the factors that can propel India to go to war with Pakistan:
• First is the huge public pressure on the Indian government
• Modi’s background and mindset is also an important factor
• Great power illusion of India may also push India to go to war with Pakistan.
• Indian government’s defence agreements with the US and Afghanistan could also be considered as a factor that can encourage India for war with Pakistan
• The ongoing small scale skirmishes along the line of control may also escalate into a war
He concluded his presentation by quoting a statement reflecting on Indian designs against Pakistan:
“Ruthlessly suppress Kashmiri movement, malign Pakistan internationally, keep threatening to maintain pressure, and continue with covert operations from east and west, to undermine Pakistan economically (CPEC), and militarily.”
Finally he said that India will keep doing what it is already doing, and it is doing a lot against Pakistan, i.e., undermining Pakistan diplomatically, politically, economically and even physically by launching fifth generation war in Karachi, Balochistan, and FATA.
The second speaker Ambassador (R) Fauzia Nasreen started her presentation with the definition of strategic culture. She quoted a renowned scholar Lain Johnston who stated that strategic culture is “an ideational milieu which limits behavior choices”. This is so because the leaders, strategists, policy makers and decision makers operate within certain parameters entrenched in both tangible and intangible vortex. These could be geographical and historical factors, ideological moorings, aspirations steeped in perceptions and misperceptions as well as self-images and the understanding of “Self’ and ‘Other’. These approaches and preferences play a critical role in determining and formulation of concepts of the role and efficacy of use of force, diplomatic responses and military orientations in inter-state relations.
About Indian strategic culture, she referred to George K. Tanham who in 2010 in a Rand publication expressed that India had no strategic culture. This sparked reaction from the Indian diplomats and strategists who highlighted Indian particularism and the “Indian-ness” (Shiv Shanker Menon) of their strategic thought.
She elaborated on the ‘Indian-ness’ in the context of strategic culture and said that J.N. Dixit carried out a detailed review of the strategic orientations of various Indian leaders, strategists, scholars and others in his book “Makers of India’s Foreign Policy” where he alludes to the contradiction by referring to them as two themes: the moralist/ethical and the realpolitik. These as some indicate, emanate from the Ashoka and Gupta times. However, in modern times soft Hindutva and hard Hindutva choice would be more relevant, since the foreign and defence policy options and diplomacy of India are steeped in the crafty writings of Kutalya. She also quoted Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who belongs to Chanakyan school of thought, and summed up his approach as:
“The perceived national interests of the country should be the supreme priority in foreign policy. Safeguarding these interests, by whatever means available and whatever equations necessary, is justified. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Violent and aggressive challenges to your interests or your security should be met by similar approach of assertive and decisive use of force….. Relations between states are essentially a phenomenon of competitive acquisitiveness of one category or the other. Inter-state relations therefore are basically dependent on power equations. Attempt should be to ensure durable equilibrium with other states structured on one’s own economic and military strength.”
She pointed out that India also considers itself as the sole inheritor of British Raj. It follows the same policy choices within the subcontinent or South Asia considering itself as the ‘core’ and the rest of regional countries as constituting the ‘periphery’. It also suffers from the paranoia of disintegration or fragmentation and therefore, aggressively resists even genuine and legal demands of its states. India’s stance on Kashmir, a disputed territory has increasingly become intransigent owing to a misplaced notion that any change in status quo would cause a domino effect in so far as various other insurgency movements in the country are concerned. Dixit explains that Nehru was convinced that India was a major power in Asia especially in the South Asian region. Therefore, it merited a leadership role at the regional level as well as at the global level. His vision of South Asian region and India’s interests, extended to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Myanmar. India therefore, had carved out a large area as its sphere of influence. Its designs though have been frustrated by Pakistan and China with Indian strategists cautioning leadership to prepare for a two-front war.
In its bid to prevent any freedom of action and policy formulation, India’s pursuit of hegemony in strategic, political, economic and social contexts has curtailed sovereignty of smaller countries especially Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Delhi has used transit trade, water issues and ethnic linkages in influencing the behavior and diplomatic choices of these countries. RAW has been used as an instrument for subversive interference in the neighbouring countries to manipulate situations and create conditions for instability which would then provide an opportunity to India to become a party in resolving the conflicts and establish its credentials as a mediator. SAARC for example which provides a platform to these countries for leverage has been sabotaged by India and postponed almost 12 times on one pretext or another for political reasons although SAARC is supposed to be an apolitical forum. These postponements well indicated how India would want to see the regional countries adjusting their structures according to India interests. India’s opposition to CPEC is another example where it has tried to raise concerns about Gwadar as impacting the developments in the Indian Ocean, essentially to deny Pakistan other options. India has tried to subjugate Pakistan through various measures. In recent times by orchestrating Pakistan as a terrorism-sponsoring state and attempting to diplomatically isolate Pakistan. This is reminiscent of what Patel, whom Indians regard as the architect of India’s integration, advice of a full scale, firm and extensive military retaliation against Pakistan in 1947.
Talking about India’s global role, she said that in order to remain relevant at the global level, India projected its image during the Cold war era as a country championing moralist and ethical world order to gain popularity among the developing countries. However in recent times it has abandoned this position in favour of a hierarchical order. It is now competing with world power-states by developing nuclear and missile capabilities, a blue water navy and a military-industrial complex seen as characteristics of a super power, leveling itself up to the status of the P-5 of the UNSC as well as by building requisite economic strength. Since the end of the Cold war, India has shifted to uni-focused discourse on terrorism in Pakistan-India dialogue thereby sidelining the core issue of J&K. The present indigenous uprising in Kashmir and the defiance exhibited by the Kashmiris even in the face of brutalities being perpetrated by Indian forces has brought India down to desperate measures. The international community is not ready to countenance the grave violations of human rights and has shown less understanding of Indian position. The diplomatic blow to Indian motives has resulted in aggressive posturing of India leading to vitriolic statements, threats, mobilization along LOC, threat of renunciation of Indus Water Treaty, withdrawing from SAARC summit and the like. The Indian strategists well understand that imposing a war on Pakistan is not an option as Pakistan could deter Indian designs effectively as well as it would adversely affect India’s relations with major powers. Delhi will have to come around accepting dialogue with the passage of time which is also in its own interest.
In conclusion, she pointed out some salient features of Modi-led BJP government as following:
• Heavy reliance on sub-conventional warfare or what is called Doval doctrine; conventional build-up, stated Cold-Start doctrine and advancement in non-conventional weaponry, investment in triad. (Dilemma shrouds India’s acquisition of Tactical Nuclear Weapons given its less utility in terms of Indian nuclear outlook).
• India also seeks to mainstream itself in the global nuclear, strategic and missile frameworks and institution. It has already obtained entry in the MTCR and has spent untiring efforts in acquiring membership of NSG. Delhi has attempted to de-link Pakistan and India in the nuclear calculus, by making the nuclear status unequal for Pakistan in the non-conventional community.
• By strengthening its credentials as a member of BRICS, G-20 and investment in the new financial architecture such as AIIB, India is furthering its objective of getting recognized as a global power fit to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Though its actions have remained far from those of a responsible regional and global actor.
• Taking full advantage of the changing security paradigm, with US rebalancing its strategy towards the Asia Pacific, India has entered into strategic arrangements and partnership with the US. However, the latest US-India agreement on the use of bases could have some implications on India’s relations with Moscow, an indication of which was a recent snub to India on the question of military exercise with Pakistan ignoring Indian request to call it off.
• India is also desirous of maintaining equilibrium by engaging US and European countries for purchase of western arms and for building conventional might in keeping with its strategic calculations. With China as well it is advancing its economic and business interests while opposing Chinese footprints in Pakistan in the form of CPEC. With Russia, India wishes to use its relations to its advantage in the pursuit of its regional policies.
• In couching Pakistan-India agenda in the frame of terrorism, India has included Afghanistan in parroting Indian narrative. Its initiative to rope in Iran by signing Chahbahar agreement has not fulfilled Indian objectives as Iranian Prime Minister has expressed his country’s desire to join CPEC. Iran has rich experience in diplomacy and is well aware of balancing its strategic interests.
• To further its diplomatic offensive, India has heavily relied on media in its crude portrayal of Pakistan as the culprit for terrorist activities in India including the latest Uri incident. However, recent Pakistan Prime Minister and US Secretary of State’s meetings account reflected in the press release has seriously dampened Indian wishes. An Indian journalist, M.K. Bhadrakumar has concluded that through Indian TV channels on reporting on Uri, the Indian public is being made to believe that Pakistan was isolated which was delusional.
The third speaker, Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi started by explaining the term strategic culture which according to Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, is a collectivity of the beliefs, norms, values, and historical experiences of the dominant elite in a polity that influences their understanding and interpretation of security issues and environment, and shapes their responses to these. It is a perceptual framework of orientations, values, and beliefs that serves as a screen through which the policymakers observe the dynamics of the external security environment, interpret the available information and decide about the policy options in a given situation.
Notwithstanding these comments, strategic culture is an important concept to understand the disposition, responses, and decisions of the security policymakers. It offers a better understanding of how the leaders are likely to react to a security situation and what type of options they are likely to go for. Knowledge of strategic culture helps us to understand the sensitivities of a state and how to meaningfully engage in a dialogue with its leaders in a given situation. Many of the policy options or behavior patterns can be understood with reference to strategic culture. For example, the role of mujahideen or jihadis in Afghanistan, Kashmir or Palestine cannot be fully understood without reference to their historical narratives, orientations, beliefs, and values. Similarly, India’s reaction to its participation in the forthcoming SAARC summit, fanning insurgency in Baluchistan, or its support to political parties for subversive activities in Pakistan for a cause may not be appreciated by a rational choice approach. Ideological factors, historical narratives, and perception of the self as well as identification with the cause have better explanatory potential.
Most nations do not easily alter their international orientation. States tend to be conservative about foreign policy. Fundamental changes in foreign policy take place only when there is a revolutionary change either at home or in the world. Much as the ascent of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s produced radical changes in Chinese foreign policy, India’s relations with the world have seen a fundamental transformation over the last decade and a half. A number of factors were at work in India. The old political and economic order at home had collapsed and externally the end of the Cold War removed all the old benchmarks that guided India’s foreign policy. Many of the core beliefs of the old system had to be discarded and consensus needed to be generated on new ones. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the new wave of economic globalization left India scrambling to find new anchors for its conduct of external relations. He said his orientation would be to examine the origin, dynamics and the implications of India’s new foreign policy strategy.
He said that in India there are different points of view on the problematic relations with its neighbors. Kanti Bajpai noted that after the end of the Cold War, India had three branches of possible strategic development. He calls them Nehruvianism, hyperrealism, and neo-liberalism. Bajpai insists that the hyperrealists have the most pessimistic view of international relations: “Where Nehruvians and neoliberals believe that international relations can be transformed either by means of communication and contact, or by free market economic reforms and the logic of comparative advantage, hyperrealists see an endless cycle of repetition in interstate interactions. In fact Hinduism regards time as an eternal cycle of sequences, which human souls also tend to endure, continually reincarnating from one essence to another, thus Westerners – with their linear understanding of time – do not understand Indian sluggishness. Conflict and rivalry between states cannot be transformed into peace and friendship, except temporarily as in an alliance against a common foe, rather they can only be managed by the threat and use of violence.”
On India’s current foreign policy strategy, he stated that as per Raja C. Mohan, there is a set of important transitions:
1. The first was the transition from the national consensus on building a “socialist society” to building a “modern capitalist” one. The socialist ideal, with its roots in the national movement, had so dominated the Indian political discourse by the early 1970s, that a Constitutional amendment was passed in 1976 to make the nation into a “socialist republic”. But 1991 saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, the veritable symbol of socialism, and the edifice of India’s state-socialism began to crumble. Adapting to the new challenges of globalization now became the principal national objective. The change in the national economic strategy in 1991 inevitably produced abundant new options on the foreign policy front.
2. Implicit in this was the second transition, from the past emphasis on politics to a new stress on economics in the making of foreign policy. India began to realize in the 1990s how far behind it had fallen vis a vis the rest of Asia, including China, in economic development. With the socialist strait jacket gone, and the pressures to compete with other emerging markets, Indian diplomacy now entered uncharted waters. In the past, foreign aid was so symbolic of Indian diplomacy that sought to meet government’s external financing requirements as well as developmental needs. India was now seeking foreign direct investment, and access to markets in the developed world. The slow but successful economic reforms unleashed the potential of the nation, generated rapid economic growth and provided a basis to transform its relations with great powers, regional rivals Pakistan and China, and the neighbourhood as a whole.
3. A third transition in Indian foreign policy is about the shift from being a leader of the “Third World” to the recognition of the potential that India could emerge as a great power in its own right. While independent India always had a sense of its own greatness that never seemed realistic until the Indian economy began to grow rapidly in the 1990s. In the early decades of its independent existence, India viewed many of the international and regional security issues through the prism of the third world and “anti-imperialism”. The 1990s, however, brought home some painful truths. There was no real third world trade union that India believed it was leading. After a radical phase in the 1970s, most developing nations had begun to adopt pragmatic economic policies and sought to integrate with the international market. Much of the developing world had made considerable economic advances, leaving the South Asia way behind. While the rhetoric on the third world remained popular, the policy orientation in India’s external relations increasingly focused on India’s own self interest. There was a growing perception, flowing from the Chinese example, that if India could sustain high growth rates it had a chance to gain a place at the international high table.
4. The 1990s also saw India begin discarding the “anti-Western” political impulses that were so dominant in the world view that shaped Indian diplomacy right up to 1991. Rejecting the “anti-Western” mode of thinking was the fourth important transition of Indian foreign policy. As the world’s largest democracy, India was the most committed to Western political values outside the Euro-Atlantic world. Yet the Cold War saw India emerge as the most articulate opponent of the Western world view. A strong anti- Western bias crept into Indian foreign policy supported by the left as well as the right and underwritten by the security establishment. The disappearance of the Soviet Union and China’s rise as a great power demanded India to break the decades old anti-Western approaches to foreign policy.
5. The fifth transition in Indian foreign policy in the 1990s was from idealism to realism. Idealism came naturally to the Indian elite that won independence from the British by arguing against colonialism on the basis of first principles of Enlightenment. The new leaders of India had contempt for “power politics”. They believed it was a negative but lingering legacy from 19th century Europe that had no relevance to the new times of the mid 20th century. India tended to see its role in world politics as the harbinger of a new set of principles of peaceful coexistence and multilateralism which if applied properly would transform the world. Although Nehru demonstrated realism on many fronts, especially in India’s immediate neighbourhood, the public articulation of India’s foreign policy had the stamp of idealism all over it. Since the 1990s, India could no longer sustain the presumed idealism of its foreign policy. India had to come to terms with the painful reality that its relative standing in the world had substantially declined during the Cold War. Much like Deng Xiaoping who prescribed pragmatism for China, the Indian leaders began to emphasize practical ways to achieve power and prosperity for India.
He emphasized that Pakistan needs to learn a lot from the changing regional and international scenario. Pakistan’s foreign policy is more reactionary than proactive. Thus in the current circumstances, Pakistani leadership needs to keep the house in order. He opined that no one from the outside has isolated Pakistan rather it is the very foreign policy that has been formed in such a fashion which largely leads to the isolation of the state. Pakistan’s deteriorating relations with Afghanistan and Iran is no secret to anyone where an ineffective foreign policy has provided a ripe opportunity for India to fill the gap.
Dr. Soherwordi maintained that unfortunately Pakistan does not have a Foreign Minister for more than three years now. This reflects on the least priority given to this import issue by the present government which would naturally make the international community to not take Pakistan seriously. He further raised very significant and thought provoking questions by inquiring what is Pakistan’s foreign policy? It is nothing but CPEC. He stressed that instead of going for a multi dimensional phenomenon, Pakistan’s foreign policy is just focused on CPEC, that has casted its spell on the entire nation. He claimed that there hasn’t been any substantial effort to improve relations with the US. India just came to the fore after Uri incident. Relations with other regional countries like CARs and Russia are still to be seen in detail by the foreign office. Projection of Pakistan as a soft power is no more on agenda. “How many times do we witness Pakistan’s advertisement of its tourism, economy or being victim of terrorism on international media like BBC and CNN? Hardly ever!
He underscored that Pakistan has failed to internationalise the Kashmir issue. If it is getting world’s attention, it is due to the wrong policies of India.
Regarding the question of war between India and Pakistan, he said that in the current circumstances, India will hesitate to do so. The reasons are numerous. Diplomatic front does not allow for that. World community especially the great powers like the US, China, EU and Russia will not accept just Uri incident as a sufficient enough reason for its misadventurism. Shining India and Rising India will be at the disadvantageous end if it goes for a war. Moreover, its rising economy will not allow it to go for such an option. India is a growing economy if not emerging. Hence, a war will be suicidal for itself.
The floor was opened for question and answer session which led to a very interactive discussion among the speakers and the audience.
Mr. Shams uz Zaman posed a question to Dr. Soherwordi with two propositions that whether Pakistan’s problems are due to its foreign policy or the US policy of containing China is the real source of problems in the region between Pakistan and India. Dr. Soherowrdi said that he agrees with the first proposition that Pakistan’s foreign policy is not in a right direction due to which Pakistan is facing difficulties. He disagreed with the term ‘containment of China’ by saying that it is a very strong word and should be replaced with engagement of China. He argued that both US and China are economically dependent on each other so strongly with billions of dollars of investments and trade. Secondly, India cannot contain China, it is not possible for India to contain China at any level. General Lodhi added that Pakistan’s problems are a combination of both propositions: weak foreign policy, and super powers interventions and politics. He suggested that we need to overcome our vulnerabilities and effectively fight externally at diplomatic level.
Dr. Jassim Taqui made a comment that we are still at war and we must not presume that we are not. He suggested that security specialists should take into account the worst possible scenario. One should not be dismissive of a possibility of a localized war or even a surprise war. The civil and military leaderships should take into account that India might be using deception with Pakistan to divert its attention from a bigger action somewhere else. He maintained that the Uri incident was a False Flag Operation, aimed to divert the attention of the international community from India’s massive human rights violations in occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir. Lt. Gen. Lodhi responded to his comments by saying that he had already talked of fourth and fifth generation war which we are fighting at home. Dr. Soherwordi added that we should not leave any space for conspiratorial theories which breaks the backbone of research. Ms Fauzia Nasreen maintained that there is little chance for military confrontation between India and Pakistan because Indian knows that a conventional war can turn into a nuclear war. Dr. Taqui elaborated his point that False Flag Operations were practiced almost by all major intelligence agencies in the world since the 17th century and should not be wrongly perceived as reflections of ‘conspiracy theory’. He called upon strategists to enlighten the decision makers on the modes of anticipating and foiling a possible Indian localized and surprised war. According to him, such practice is paramount to preserving the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Pakistan.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema shared his views and suggested that we should consider Cold Start Doctrine of India which talks of a possibility of a Kargil like limited war. He asked the speakers to enlighten the audience about the possibility of limited escalation between India and Pakistan in the current scenario. Lt. Gen. Lodhi addressed his question by saying that Pakistan’s military forces have thoroughly analyzed the Cold Start Doctrine of India, and they have made strategy to counter it effectively by exhibiting it in military exercises. Pakistan is now talking of spectrum deterrence and not a minimum credible deterrence. He also stated that for a larger army only large scale operation would work against a weaker army. Small scale operation can easily be repelled by the small army. Further, he said that other factors such as public pressure on Indian government, big army syndrome, big economic syndrome etc., might make Kargil like limited escalation a possibility but India would not achieve anything substantial out of it. Amb. Fauzia Nasreen added that Pakistan has acquired the capability of tactical nuclear weapons which basically addresses the Cold Start Doctrine of India. She said that Kargil like situation does not seem likely but surgical strikes are possible and Pakistan should be careful of any such misadventure from India.
Dr. Adil Sultan clarified the concepts of minimum deterrence and full spectrum deterrence. He said that Pakistan’s policy is guided by the credible minimum deterrence while the full spectrum is the type of threat that is identified from limited to full-fledged war. He also said that Pakistan has a capacity to effectively respond to conventional threat with conventional forces whereas the nuclear weapons only further supplement the conventional capability.
Mr. Sohaib Abdullah in his question to Lt. Gen. Lodhi asked whether India has succeeded in creating a negative hype against Pakistan. Lt. Gen. Lodhi agreed that India has been quite successful in creating a negative hype mostly because of its large media network and also by making its voice heard diplomatically viz a viz Pakistan. However this could also go against India in case it does not satisfy its public with credible evidences. Dr. Cheema added that China would not like Pakistan and India to go to war with each other as it is not in the Chinese economic, military and strategic interests in the long run. Dr. Aftab Kazi commented that Indian diplomats are so proactive in gathering support by developing networks for India wherever possible abroad, while Pakistani diplomats are not up to the task. He shared some of his personal experiences in this regard. While replying to Dr. Kazi’s criticism on the diplomatic inefficiency, Amb. Nasreen said that it varies from person to person as there are many good Pakistani diplomats who are doing good job for Pakistan.
Mr. Mujaddad from Air University shared his ideas about the element of rationality in using nuclear weapons. He stressed that rationality should prevail on both sides about the usage of nuclear weapons. He maintained that Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state, however, India also is a big country, a nuclear state, and we should not underestimate its power despite the fact that it has dozens of active insurgencies within.
Dr. Sultan opined that Pakistan went nuclear because of its security concerns while Indian weapons program was for prestige purpose. Pakistan sees its nuclear weapons as weapons of last resort, only to deter enemy and not to cross the red lines. Dr. Cheema added that he agrees with Mr. Mujaddid that nuclear narrative in both Pakistan and India is not mature but the small strategic communities in both the countries are very much matured as compared to politicians. He criticized Indian public and media who have created the war hype and stressed that it is not reflecting the same level of maturity that existed between USSR and USA during the Cold war period.
To a question from Mr. Baqir about options Pakistan have if India really goes for surgical strikes against Pakistan, Lt. Gen. Lodhi answered that every option cannot be discussed but the minimum option is ‘quid pro quo’ meaning to respond with the same force. For Pakistan any surgical strike would be an act of war and it multiplies options for Pakistan, he said.
Ms. Sobia Paracha asked why Pakistan does not pursue a policy to economically integrate the region by giving transit trade access to India. Amb. Nasreen replied that the environment is not conducive for such initiatives and Pakistan would wait for the environment to normalize. Currently, Pakistan’s relations with Kabul and Delhi are not normal. Lt. Gen. Lodhi made it clear that often Pakistan Army is criticized for not letting the government to have cordial relations with India, which is just a propaganda. Dr. Cheema added that economic integration is possible only with a peaceful environment. Peace is prerequisite for economic relations to develop, and this is a universal principle. Presently, Indian attitude is speaking of enmity which leaves no space for building economic relations. At the same time Pakistan is not going to benefit much from any such economic initiative.
Mr. Sarfaraz asked as to what extent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) can play its role to influence Pakistan-India relations. Dr. Cheema stated that the SCO indeed has a significant role to play. The two leading members in the organization are close to Pakistan and India each, i.e., China with Pakistan and Russia with India. The organization will have a positive long term influence on the relations between India and Pakistan.
Another gentleman asked about the impact of Indian agreements with the west, especially with the US, on the strategic culture and force posture of India. Dr. Soherwordi replied that the US supports India because of China factor. It wants to engage China through India. Regarding Pakistan, the US believes that Pakistan is playing a double game.
Ms. Sadia Kazmi announced the end of the session and extended thanks to the worthy guest speakers for their time and valuable presentations. She also thanked everyone who participated in the event.
Media covered the proceeding of the in-house seminar: