Most of our readers are not likely to know that last week featured a five day military encounter between the Indian Army and the commandos of the Pakistani quasi-military organization Lashkar-e-Toiba. This is the same organization that attacked Mumbai in November 2008 killing several hundred innocent civilians. The encounter took place in the thick forests of Kupwara, Kashmir in a difficult mountainous terrain.
All over the world and in India, the Mumbai attack was described as India’s 9/11. That was wrong. People forget that what made 9/11 the real 9/11 was NOT the attack on New York, but the huge military retaliation by America.
Nothing will ever be India’s 9/11 because India has shown itself to be incapable of even a minor military response let alone a response like America’s.
Instead, India retaliated as India always does. It denounced Pakistan in the strongest possible words. Then, like the proverbial goody-goody school boy, India ran crying to America, the school principal, and to the UN, the school board, to complain bitterly against the mean school bully, Pakistan. America and the world did what principals always do (at least in India), they patted the crying Indian Government on its back, praised it for its tolerance. Then they yelled at the school bully Pakistan and sternly warned him to not do it again. Pakistan then did what school bullies do. They behaved for a while, acted nicely; told the Principal that they will be good. Then, after a few weeks, the bully Pakistan attacked the goody-goody boy India again.
This has been the strategy of the Pakistani Army for the past decade. They developed it after their humiliating defeat in Kargil in 1999. That debacle taught Pakistani Army that they could not handle the Indian Army. So they devised a strategy to use quasi-military forces to fight Indian civil society in limited encounters. This strategy would pit trained Pakistani commandos against Indian local police and Indian local administrations. This strategy has worked brilliantly for over a decade. The crowning success of this strategy was the spectacular attack on Mumbai. (For a more detailed description of the strategy, see our article “The Mumbai Attack – It Was Not Terrorism” – January 10, 2009 – www.cinemarasik.com/2009/01/10/the-mumbai-attack–it-was-not-terrorism.aspx ).
As we wrote in that article, the Pakistani Generals believe that the Indian Government “would shout and scream, but shy away from doing anything concrete. They believe that Indian Society is rational at its core and will not retaliate because a conflict might cause more damage than the original attack. So far, they have been proven correct.”. This is why the Pakistani Army, via its quasi-military commandos (or militants as it calls them), keeps attacking India again and again.
Last summer, they blew up the Indian embassy in Kabul killing 43 people. The Indian Government complained to America; America was very stern with Pakistan; Pakistan was very contrite with America in private and Pakistan disclaimed all responsibility in public. What was the result? No action against the Pakistani Army.
A few months later in November 2008, they carried out a devastating attack on India’s heart, Mumbai. It was so spectacular an attack that even the timid Indian Government decided to express its resolve. They complained even more stridently to America and America laid down even more stringent demands on Pakistan. What was the result? No action against the Pakistani Army.
So, within 4 months after the Mumbai attack, (using the same Lashkar-e-Toiba organization) they launched this recent attack in Kashmir. It took the Indian Army 5 days to repulse this attack. Seventeen Pakistani attackers died but six Indian soldiers dies including an Army major.
Brigadier Gurmeet Singh of the Indian Army described this encounter as a first major infiltration attempt and said that more militants from across the Line of Control are waiting to sneak into the Valley. “As per intelligence reports 300 to 400 militants are awaiting on other side of the Line of Control to sneak into the Valley. We are prepared to tackle any infiltration attempt,” he said.
No other major Army in the world would wait so spinelessly for 300-400 trained enemy combatants to attack its country. Every self-respecting (this naturally excludes Indian Government) Government in the world would ask its Army to launch a pre-emptive strike to kill these 300-400 commandos before they could attack. In contrast, the Indian Government would rather wait for the attack patiently in the great tradition of Indian “tolerance”.
This is how sheep wait to be attacked by wolves. We feel ashamed to use such an analogy but we believe it is the most appropriate analogy to describe the pathetic attitude of the Indian “educated” elite and the Indian Government.
We spent 4-5 weeks in Mumbai after the Mumbai attack in November 2008. We spoke to many people through out Mumbai, people from different strata of Indian Society. We were astonished to find that almost all “educated” Indians (the well-to-do intellectuals that form the elite of Indian society) felt that military retaliation against Pakistan would only cause more damage, even more that caused by the attack. They argued that India should inform the world about Pakistan and get America or the UN to do something. but, India should not retaliate militarily because it would only hurt India more.
This was true of all age groups among the “educated” Indians. They keep asking “why do these people do such terrible things? What do they hope to gain by these attacks?”. The “educated” Indians, soft to their core, do not understand that wolves attack and kill sheep because it is their nature.Sheep lie waiting peacefully for the attack because it is their nature. Pakistan has trained wolves for such attacks, wolves from its badlands who love to attack and kill. These wolves are infiltrated into Indian Society across the long border or across the sea as in the case of the Mumbai attack.
We must point out that the poor and the working class in Mumbai had a totally different outlook. They were very angry and wanted to see a terrible military retaliation against Pakistan. As one of them said to us “it is better to die in a real war than live like sheep”. It is this comment from an illiterate taxi driver that made us develop our analogy and select it as the title of this article. But these are poor workers, street vendors and taxi drivers. They have no voice, no ability to get on TV and no one in the Indian Government cares about what they think.
The masters of Indian “educated” sheep, the Indian Government, have decided that the costs of going out and killing the wolf packs before they attack are too high; that it is cheaper as well as safer to let a few hundred people die in every attack by Pakistani commandos. As the Indian Government rationalizes, India, unlike Israel, has over one billion people. So, they think, what does it matter if about 3,000 Indians have died in Pakistani attacks during the past few years?
Just look at how quickly and easily Indian society has for
gotten the shame of the Mumbai attack. The attack is now remembered only as a passing bad dream. The Indian intellectual appeasers have already started congratulating Mumbai for its ability to rebound from the attack. They point out that the damaged hotels have reopened and business is back to normal. In a way, this is a tribute to the remarkable spirit of India. In another way, it solidifies the sheep analogy because this is exactly how sheep behave. For a little while after a brutal attack by wolves, the sheep exhibit signs of fear but as time goes on, the sheep recover and go about grazing peacefully.
The “educated” Indians are getting encouraged by signs that the Obama Administration is finally getting tough with Pakistan. It fulfills their dream of getting America to solve India’s Pakistan problem and leaving them free to lecture to America about morality. After all, there is nothing “educated” Indians like more than telling America how to behave more morally in the world.
We think they are misguided. We think that the Pakistani Army has fully solved America. It knows how to address the new concerns of each new American administration; how to make soothing sounds of cooperation and how to get the maximum amount of monetary & military aid in the process while continuing to do exactly what it wants to do.
The Pakistani Army is being softly brazen because it knows that if it keeps up the relentless pressure against the American forces in Afghanistan and lets every new American plan fail in practice, the Obama Administration will get exasperated and leave Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Army will offer sweet inducements to achieve this result. The Pakistani Army will promise that they will NOT let the Taliban launch any attacks on American soil and they will keep this promise as they have for the past 7 years. They will also promise to become a front-line American ally against Iran. How could the Obama Administration refuse such an offer?
In exchange, Pakistani army will demand massive amounts of money and massive quantities of military aid, including, more F-16s and air force drones. How could the Obama Administration say No?
If this scenario materializes, Pakistani Army will regain effective control of Afghanistan. Then, the combined resources of Pakistan and Afghanistan will be pitted against India in the same strategy – frequent, deadly covert attacks by Pakistani quasi military forces against Indian Civil society. Wolves will continue to attack, sheep will continue to get killed, their government masters will continue to get rich and the World will keep praising India for its tolerance.
The only way to break this cycle is for India to go on the offensive and begin cross border limited attacks against terrorists in Pakistan. The Indian Army should explicit announce its plans to escalate if Pakistan retaliates. Wolves are very smart animals; they never attack when they face a dangerous enemy and they always run away when they feel they are weaker.
But, this is only possible when Indian society wakes up or a leader emerges in India that wakes up Indian Society from its sheep-like passive state.
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