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An Appeal to the Indians

05 July, 2005

By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)


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After more than half a century, three wars, Siachin and Kargil, innumerable border clashes, colossal loss of precious lives and resources on both sides, the clouds of animosity over the sub continent had started yielding to the silver lining of the peace in the region. Much wanted confidence building measures (CBMs) seemed to be well on their way to usher in an era of brotherly friendship and prosperity to the teeming millions on both sides of the great divide. But the prospects of peace and tranquillity in the region, which could result in bringing together the largest democracy in the world and the most powerful Islamic country, with a highly enterprising human resource of a billion and a quarter justifiably proud of their rich heritage, culture and enviable civilisation in a sub continent endowed by the Creator with a rich reservoir of natural resources must have sent shudders down the spine of many a western power who would have soon found themselves at the mercy of Indo-Pak in their worldly affairs. 'They must not get together' would have been the cry of all political Pundits of the West.  Uncle Sam, who already had a hold in Pakistan, took upon itself to move into India as well to shatter the peace prospects of the region. An incessant flow of visits by the highly placed US diplomats started to India, wooing her and offering her all she needed. Immediately F-16s, F-18s and Patriot ABMs were offered. As if this all was not enough last week Washington and Delhi signed a 'new framework for ! the US-India defence relationship' that envisages expanding two-way defence trade, increasing opportunities for the transfer of defence-related technology, co-producing and developing new armament and expanding collaboration on missile defence. Wow, what a master plan? Who will gain by it all?  India? No way.  USA? Yes certainly. Such a scheme of affairs will not only pull India out of the sphere of the influence of Russia but will also make her dependent upon the US for all time to come. Bharat Karnad of India in a recent article says," Indeed, military reach and clout have historically opened up markets for trade and commerce, been the engine for economic growth and for the dissemination of cultural values. Trade follows flag even in a globalized milieu." 

One really wonders that on the one hand we talk of peace, friendship, soft borders, complimentary trade and commerce all leading to the weal of the common man. Pakistan even offered curtailment of the forces on both sides proportionately to cut down the defence expenditure and divert such saved funds to the social sectors of education, healthcare, employment, industry to alleviate the poverty and combat the back breaking inflation.  On the other hand we find ourselves arming with the latest state of the art weaponry and weapon systems promising nothing but mutual self destruction. When we are talking of 'irreversible peace process', then against whom do we intend to use these weapons? Will not such acquisition of the defence technologies and weapon systems by India force Pakistan also to opt for some suitable counter measures to maintain a minimum deterrent level' to ensure her safety? Will it not give rise to the 'mistrust' once again and bring back the arms mad race between the two countries?  Will it not involve the huge HUGE useless, non-productive and wasteful defence expenditure which has been the main cause of the poverty in the region? Both countries are responsible nuclear powers and fully aware of the holocaust that a thermo nuclear engagement can cause to the both. Some advocate that in order to be world power it is essential for India to have regional superiority in the conventional weapons. However, in the event of a conventional war - God forbid - between the two, can any one say with certainty ! that the country at the verge of being vanquished will not use the ultimate weapon? After all what are the A bombs for? Just decoration pieces for a status symbol?  And if the use of nukes cannot be ruled out altogether then of what big deal is such superiority in the conventional weapons?


The Indian people have a much more say in the affairs of their country.  Their voice is heard and respected by the powers that be.  I would, therefore, ask them in the name of peace to prevail upon their government to desist from such defence arrangements with USA which are firstly entirely to the advantage of the USA, and secondly will make India dependent upon the USA for all time to come.  At the same time un-necessary and wasteful arms race will again raise its ugly head in the sub continent to the detriment of its masses languishing in abject poverty. Please save us also from becoming poorer in the process.

End.

Reader Comments:

India... aa ha!

India has just taken a leaf out of the US book on international strategy... remember what US did to USSR - it engaged them in an extremely expensive arms race; the burden of this arms race coupled with a poor economy ultimately led to the failure of a "super power". India is doing the exact same... engaging Pakistan in an expensive arms race - the one it can never win, the Paki economy is too small and fragile to hold on for long, coupled with internal religious disturbances (shea-sunni etc etc) would surely lead to a state failure!... In just a few years, we Indians will not have to deal with a "Pakistan"... instead we`ll deal with a number of smaller countries like "Balochistan", "NWFP", "Sindh"... would be great if you could comment on this strategy... Thanks!

Sumit Batra, Pakistan - 13 July, 2005

Hi colonel,
Nice dissection.
Opposition parties in india are principally oppose this pact but there is an strong possibility that they will support the govt altimately.
There are more than only pakistani angle in this deal like counterweight to china,nuclear technology for civillian uses, energy security upto some extent,military co-operation etc,etc.
One thing is for sure that two countries can't opt for a war,so better to create a healthy atmosphere.You want to start by Kashmir,We want to start it by expanding people to people contacts so that bitterness be diminished and political leaders can sold any tradeoff to their public.

Rohit, Hungary - 28 July, 2005

An Appeal to the Indians

Hello, Colonel Jafri sahib, here are another and much different views for better understanding and improving mutual relations.
India suffers from a deep paranoia of Islam. The common man in both countries yearns for mutual friendship and durable good relations. It is India's government. India remained under Muslim rulers starting from the military raids of Mahmood Ghaznavi upto the Battle of Plasy in 1750. But elsewhere in Hyderabad and some premier princely states, Muslim rulers held on until 1947. How the population, both Hindus and Muslims, had to cope up with the Persian language being court language boggles the mind. Few people were conversant with the language. Now there is no harm if the Muslims in India learn the Hindi language for assimilation in the Indian society.

India had little to worry from Pakistan's Eastern Wing. But it nurtured deep reservations about Pakistan's contiguous reach unto Morocco in the West and close borders with Afghanistan and the Central Asian Muslim Republics. Placed in similar situation as India does, we would have had same paranoia.

How best to cure India's "chinta" (Hindi word) for fear and worry? That India has something superior with which to win the hearts and minds of Pakistanis is out of question. It is for us, the Pakistanis, to deliver. How? We are mired in a derailed and stalled democracy. Unless we reinvent a two viable and mainstream political parties system that become mature and promote a bipartisan culture, relations with India will remain in abeyance. Much of present endeavours made are an exercise in futility. What about the most effective catalyst that brought about the strong appeal of Islam in the sub-continent, i.e., "Sufiism" and the "Aulia'Allah"? But our religious front presents a far cry from what will win the hearts and minds of Indians. Islam embodies miracles. And miracles do not need persuasion. But we have first to benefit from the very simple and elementary teachings of Islam. Media can play the big catalyst. Let me give my own personal example. I was born from Hindu parents. After the death of mother, father, a British educated Barrister, embraced Islam. I studied Islam somewhat in depth and started putting its miracles to my benefit. First, I had a spell of intense financial need. A pertinent verse of the Holy Qur'an flashed to my mind. According to a parable, Allah multiples return on money spend on welfare 700 times. So, I referred to the relevant verse and asked my Rabb to pay me out of my current account with Him, I having definitely spent something to yield the promised 700 times reward. Mind you, this verse precedes prohibition of "sood/usury". Who would go for riba when you get a return of 700 times and that also aimed at alleviating poverty and want!
Look at the prayer (supplication) that is translated as: O God make the 'halal' sufficient for me over 'haram' and make me affluent (ghani) out of Thine own bounty." It will be a good idea for "NAB" - the National Accounting Bureau - to have this message sink in with the masses. You may go on and on, hitting upon one miracle after the other. Here is another one. Said the holy Prophet in a sermon: Allah rewards a person who looks at his parents with love, care and affection, equivalent to a "hajj". Somebody mentioned that he had old parents that needed personal care so that he looked at him or her many a time every day. "For each look,' swab' of a "hajj", was the sublime reply.
It is going to be individual interaction with the Indians Hindus and, especially, the "dalits" -- the untouchables - that they would be drawn towards Islam. And a time might come when the Poet Iqbal's expression that "pasban mil gayia ka'bay ko sanam khanay say" becomes true.
"The hand that gives is better than the one that receives" is of essence in Islamic teachings. Our friends in the Islami Jama'ats and Alliance might be put to shame when their true face emerges asking donations and the hate worthy phrase "chanda" - donation. They don't feel least qualm when begging even the paltry sum of "fitra" for their political parties.
But there is no need for despondency and unnecessary confrontation with the Islamic Alliance. They are seekers of political power but being "an odd man out" in attaining a majority mandate in a democratic world, they would finally fade out.

India's Hindu needs Islam's blessings and bounties as much as we do. Let us reach out to them and cure their paranoia with the miracles that are so easy to practice and which do not need the self-promoting and exploitative religious parties.

Sher Mohammad.


Sher Mohammad, Pakistan - 30 July, 2005

Why is that Pakistanis fail to undertand that they have been the aggressors in all conflicts with India. In a recent article one of the Generals or Air Chiefs from Pakistan during the '65 war openly admitted in a book that Paksitan was responsible for instigating the war. He explained at length that there was absolute no coordination between the 3 wings of their armed forces and that he being chief got to hear at the last moment about the plans of his counterparts. He also admits that Pakistan pushed miltants during Kargil war and that too was not properly planned. Unconsciously Pakistanis have admitted to the Kargil conflict as a war of their own doing where as ther beuracrats and politicians claims that they only provide moral support. They harp on this all the time.

On the question of religion, Islam is a great religion but most of its followers just dont get its basic tenets. I find it amusing that wherever Muslims are in minority the cry hoarse for democracy and free will but whereever in majority they expect theocracy.

, United Kingdom - 12 September, 2005

No miracle needed

Respected Jafri saheb
I respect your view but onus does not lie in Indian hand.
For our policy is not Pakistan centric, may be some vote politics might siggest you from outside but for indians the quest is beyond pakistan at world level. Our arm purchase is not pakistan centric but pakistan stands to fear as it has attacked thrice and ruined herself for some kashmiris. If you seperate the rhetoric from anti pakistani statements, there is no concern or fear of pakistan. Islam is not trusted but we know how to live with it as we somehow we feel the muslims is india is some how converted lot, out own failure. I am in disagreement with sher Muhammad that any amount of Islam's blessings and bounties can help as we are convinced Islam is religion of warring tribes and has hardly anything to offer to hinduism, we have more myticism and charm and miracles than muslims can imagine. There is no philosophical depth in Islam.

I also feel Pakistan is unnecessarily stuck in parity wth india or even friendship with india. We have learnt a good geopolitic lesson of economic relation. Unless we have economic relation with Pakistan there is going to be no improvement and in any case indian is not going to give up kashmir. We have now forged economic and military relation with USA and they will be our ally as we are going to be theirs. Message is pakistan has to reform herself then to see outside.

vimal

vimal, Georgia - 13 September, 2005

reply to your appeal

riaz saheb i just want to tell you a secret. INDIA SCARE OF PAKISTAN. a truth.indan dont want to think how much distructions india can make in pakistan, india just think how distructions pakistani nuclear bombs can make in india. so i assure you if pakistan will not enter in indian border, india will certanily not attack on pakistan. now i want to tell you one more truth, even if india dont go for any defence deals with US, india still have supremacy in defence over pakistan.it may change from 2.5:1.0 to hardly 3.0:1.0 in favour of india no more than that. so even in case of some more advance defence deals, nothing is going to change on india pakistan border. all the US effort is just due to china factor. by all these deals, us can help india to overcome chinese supremacy over india. this way US want india to open a new front on indo-china border to easy taiwan-US-japan-s.korea eastern front. and india just want to have more and more benefit due to their comflict. in all the deals with, pakistan is no where. neither nuke bomb of pakistan is going to be taken off nor india is going to have any change on power equation on indo-pak border.

thanx and regards

sunny, Hungary - 28 September, 2005

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