The borders of India and Pakistan are tense once again. The hints and cries of war are in the air, albeit mostly from the Pakistan side. Today, in this age of economic prudence, no nuclear nation wants to engage into an all out war. But then the question arises: Why these clouds of war over India and Pakistan? The answer is infact a counter question: Is Pakistan a sane nation?


History doesn’t lie when it shouts out loud that Pakistan has always fed its people on anti-India rhetoric. While India is a united nation despite its differences, Pakistan is deeply fragmented. There are many parties who rule that country. The army is all pervasive. Its brainchild, ISI thrives on anti-India operations. The unholy cartel between ISI, the army and terrorist groups is a threat to all. Whenever tensions start to build up between the two nations, it is this nexus that steps up the hostilities.


I feel that India has a very prudent economist as its Prime Minister. Dr Manmohan Singh knows that a war will lead to flight of capital and investments from the country. India, as a developing nation, can’t afford that. We can take a cue from Russian misadventure of Georgia earlier this year. Despite an assured Russian win right from day one, Russian stock markets plummeted about 70% during the initial attack itself. Coupled with declining oil prices, Russian economy is fast moving into a high trouble zone. India knows this and that’s why don’t want to engage into a war.


Pakistan, on the contrary, has nothing to lose. It’s economy, capital reserves etc. are nowhere near India’s and are in deep red. It has nothing in its reserves except a predilection for a war. After the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, Pakistan feared a tough Indian retaliation. Moreover, the international pressure was mounting. The whipping up of war rhetoric seems, in the end, only a ploy to divert attention from Pakistan’s role in 26/11. But considering otherwise for an instant, that Pakistan may actually want a war to happen; the only question then remains: which Pakistan?


I can only think of the Pakistan of ISI-Pak army which wants a war with India. It is no secret now that Pak army Chief General Kiyani is at the centre of affairs in the country. And he is deeply anti-India. He knows that the morale of Pak army is at its lowest ever. Pak army is being forced to fight its very own creation, the Taliban, on Afghan border. Moreover, US troops in Afghan also use many of the Pak army’s resources to fight the Taliban. The only way to stem this rot is the movement of troops away from that border to the Indian one. The possibility of an Indian attack provides the answer to the missing point: How. No wonder, many analysts are seeing a direct role of Pak army in 26/11.


India doesn’t want a war because of a prudent analysis. These are tough times for world economies. And a growing one like India would not want to engage in a needless war. However, that doesn’t mean that we should junk this option altogether. We should consider war if we are left with absolutely no options. Pakistan knows that a war with India will leave it completely destroyed- financially and otherwise. A top secret Pak air force (PAF) report, which was submitted to Mr Zardari, clearly stated that in event of a war with India, PAF will lose control of its airspace within a week. Despite this, Pakistan is taking its chances. Having nothing to lose, it has no other option. The onus therefore, lies on India to decide. We are a prudent and practical nation. But if a war seems the only option, we can easily give what Pakistan wants: a full scale war. And if that happens, the whole world knows that a 1971 or a 1999 will be repeated.


Mayank Sharma



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