Obama’s quasi-ultimatum to Pakistan

Okay, it’s a strong prod

In his opening remarks at the first Takshashila Executive Programme on Strategic Affairs, hosted by the National Maritime Foundation yesterday (wire report) (pic), K Subrahmanyam noted that the India media has ignored reports of how the Obama administration has put the squeeze on Pakistan asking it to jettison its duplicitousness with respect to jihadi groups. He chided Indian strategic analysts for assuming—on the basis of a lack of public statements over what the Obama administration intended to do about Pakistan—that Washington didn’t actually have a well-considered plan.

Today’s report in the New York Times supports Mr Subrahmanyam’s argument.

The Obama administration is turning up the pressure on Pakistan to fight the Taliban inside its borders, warning that if it does not act more aggressively the United States will use considerably more force on the Pakistani side of the border to shut down Taliban attacks on American forces in Afghanistan, American and Pakistani officials said.

The blunt message was delivered in a tense encounter in Pakistan last month, before President Obama announced his new war strategy, when Gen. James L. Jones, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, and John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief, met with the heads of Pakistan’s military and its intelligence service.

United States officials said the message did not amount to an ultimatum, but rather it was intended to prod a reluctant Pakistani military to go after Taliban insurgents in Pakistan who are directing attacks in Afghanistan. [NYT]

Well, it looks like the Obama administration’s answer to the question this blog has been asking for the past year is: drone strikes and ground-based covert operations deep inside Pakistani territory.

21 thoughts on “Obama’s quasi-ultimatum to Pakistan”

  1. Nitin

    I think it easy for an Indian to get to Paki bashing right away and I have been guilty of doing that “n” numer of times.

    I now think that looking at the complexity of Pakistan as a nation which has always struggled for an identity from the day of its creation and its constant “phobia” of India, India needs to take a moderate stands. By moderate I mean a more understanding stands of a neighbour who is at the verge of being called a failed state.

    There are many who would argue that this is a “weak stands” and India gets exploited because of her reluctance to be more aggressive. Post 22/11 the anger towards Pakistan is real in India. To these people, I will say, what is the point in trying to kill some one is on the verge of committing suicide!

    Will a drone attack serve its purpose? Drone attacks on Pakistan would only help unit the Jihadi elements in there and also help them in recruiting more for their cause. Pakistan has a real “phobia” of India and instances like the independence of Bangladesh has not helped this stands. I have heard that the Pakistan army goes about recruiting soldiers telling them if they are ready to go for war with India! This being the case, the Pakistan army has no interest in going against the Taliban or Laksher who they believe are waging their war against India. So lets not expect the Pakistan establishment to wage war on behalf of India and I am not surprised by their behaviour by releasing the likes of Hafiz Sayed etc

    A prosperous and successful Pakistan is in India’s interest, as the poor unemployed Paksitani would be less inclined to be brain washed by a Jihadi leader and be willing to commit his life for a unless cause like “Kill as many Indians before you die”. The Big question is, Is India ready to help in this cause? Are we magnanimous in helping a neighbour?

    I doubt from the sentiments that exists here

  2. Most of us understand that complexity of Pakistan as a nation. What do you mean by moderate stand ? We are already in a moderate stand. Pakistan tries to exploit the situation for its own cause and it is no mood to clear its mess.

    Pakistan is not in the verge of committing suicide; it is in the verge of transforming into a black hole sucking up things in its neighborhood.

    Drone attack certainly helps. If it is stopped, guys in that part of world are not going to change their stance to pro-America or pro-India stance.
    If drones are stopped, those guys will be alive and waiting for US to leave Afghan, so that they capture it again. Drone attack brings in constant change in the leadership in Taliban and doesn’t allow them to settle down. That is in fact good.

    If India is going to be more moderate, nothing is going to things in Pakistan; it will exploit more. Pakistan Army will not stop recruiting; it will recruit more with the dreams of capturing parts of India. Brainwashing will continue, may be their methods change.

    First of all, you have inform readers about what you mean by magnanimous ? Give away Kashmir ?

  3. Read last para as
    First of all, you have to inform readers about what you mean by magnanimous ? Give away Kashmir ?

  4. @ Invalid

    “First of all, you have to inform readers about what you mean by magnanimous ? Give away Kashmir”

    Let me answer your last question first – Who ever mentioned Kashmir here? When partition in the first place was a mistake (1947), India will never make another mistake. Borders are not drawn using religion as a parameter. For Pakistan, Kashmir is both sentimental and also more importantly the Big source of water as the major rivers flows through Kashmir and they are never comfortable with that ( it being a Indian territory and getting water through India)

    so magnanimous means are we ready to help this neighbour of ours sort it self i.e are we willing to start the peace talks?. For peace and stability of the region a stable Pakistan is in India’s interest.

    “Drone attack certainly helps. If it is stopped, guys in that part of world are not going to change their stance to pro-America or pro-India stance”

    Well the logic seems to suggest to wipe out every man here, are you? I only pity you here and thankfully our governmnet has level headed people who know the consequences of this.

    What can India do for Pakistan

    1) Pakistan needs huge investment in its education system so I am sure India needs to have a Af-Pak policy here not just a policy for Afganistan. India is helping Afganistan re build it self so a little in this direction to pakistan would only create goodwill and in time change the anti-India stands there.

  5. “A prosperous and successful Pakistan is in India’s interest, as the poor unemployed Paksitani would be less inclined to be brain washed by a Jihadi leader and be willing to commit his life for a unless cause like “Kill as many Indians before you die”.”

    That is just naive and ridiculous — Before you start pontificating in this manner, please go read up on the partition and the history of pakistan and their singular point of existence…NOT to be India.

    Nothing India can do will pacify their paranoia of having to live alongside Indians in the subcontinent. In fact, “stable” pakistani governments with a civilian facade as under the Bhuttos or Nawaz Sharif have been worse for India in terms of orchestrating terrorist attacks on Indians.

    Every few months some person comes up with this “stable pakistan is in India’s interest” nonsense as if it was a completely original thought that other analysts completely missed. If you think a stable pakistan is in India’s interest you need to explain the following without resorting to waffling and hand-waving — how do you guarantee that such a pakistan has given up its congential hostitlity for India? Unless there is that guarantee there is nothing that stops a stronger and richer pakistan down the line to revert to being hostile to India.

  6. “Well the logic seems to suggest to wipe out every man here, are you? I only pity you here and thankfully our governmnet has level headed people who know the consequences of this.”

    That is arguing by false choices. Who told you that the only alternative was to wipe out everybody, and why should anyone pretend that it is the only alternative? Pakistan is in a hell of its own making — the government shutdown schools and colleges and opened Madrassas for 20 years. So what else do you expect? Unless these trends are reversed, all fantasies of young Pakistanis giving up the gun will remain fantasies…..what do you think these jihad-oriented pakistani people who know nothing but religion and violence can do other than create mayhem? who is going to train them to do something else, and who is going to convince them to give up violence and start knitting sweaters?

  7. Karthik,

    “With a job that brought in an annual salary of over Rs. 19,00,000 a year, 31-year-old Peerbhoy is as distant as could be imagined from the madrasa-educated, no-prospects jihadist of media caricature.” link

    I’d like to know your enlightened stance on this issue.

  8. Every time India opened economic ties with Pakistan, it was rewarded with couterfeit Indian currency flooding India from Pakistan and a surge in drug trafficking to fund local terrorist cells. There is nothing to indicate Pakistan will do anything different this time around if India were to ignore the horror of 11/26 and the Pakistani penchant to insult the memories of the victims and reopen trade ties — no, Pakistanis have no intention of punishing the planners and organizers of 26/11 as it is very very clear. They continue to build terrorist training camps just across the international border to this which says a lot more about Pakistani intentions than all their words.

  9. A number of wealthy islamic states nuture and breed terrorists. Saying that wealth creation will change the mentality of the average Pakistani is absurd.
    Has American aid to Pakistan served to strengthen her social or defense infrastructure? Time and again, India has said it is willing to work with Pakistan for the interest of both countries. Even now, if the Pakistani governement were to approach India asking for assistance with converting their madrassas to schools, I’m sure we’d gladly obligue. However the fungibility other forms of aid provide is what Pakistan really desires.

  10. @ Karthik
    Water sharing treaties are there and India can’t divert more water for its use or disrupt Pakistan’s share. More over, you miss one more point here. Those rivers flow through India as well and irrigation in Punjab depends on that.

    Peace talks !!!. Don’t worry Indian govt will start that again in near future. You know, if peace talks continue along with 26/11 investigations, Pakistan would show to the world that India absolved Pak’s part in 26/11. You want to help Pak that way ?

    ” Well the logic seems to suggest to wipe out every man here, are you? ”

    I am not saying wipe out every one there. I said take out those whose mastermind terror attacks. If you think that every one there are terror masterminds, I don’t want to talk more on that. We all know that those men will be replaced by fresh ones. But we make change as the only constant among the leadership there. More over, drone attacks are carried out by US not by India. I don’t think, by meaning magnanimous, you want India to ask US to stop drone attacks.

    Asking India to invest in Pak’s education system !!! Thats funny.

    Main reason to comment about your views is that you are asking India to adopt more moderate stance, when it is already moderate enough.

  11. @ Jay Patel
    Correction to your first line : None of the wealthy Islamic states nurture & breed terrorists. They just monetarily support states that nurture & breed terrorists.

  12. Nitin,
    The US does not have much leverage with Pakistan – not to mention, they are paranoid about the jihadi-crazies accquiring nukes from the Paki military.

    If they dont listen to this “ultimatum” then what? They have faced a lot bigger ultimatum on September 12, 2001. The military-jehadi complex is very much in tact thanks to the astute Musharaff.

    United States officials said the message did not amount to an ultimatum, but rather it was intended to prod a reluctant Pakistani military to go after Taliban insurgents in Pakistan who are directing attacks in Afghanistan.

    After eight long years, Pakistan needs to be.. ahem.. prodded into action ? Remember the Pakis have home field advantage.

    If they just watched one week of American television on how the surge is playing out here in the US and how people are genuinely concerned of this being a war with no end, they would pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

    This “surge” is basically America’s last effort militarily in the region before it’s ultimate retreat – and it is trying to salvage as much face as possible before doing so.

  13. @ Murthy

    “how do you guarantee that such a pakistan has given up its congential hostitlity for India? Unless there is that guarantee there is nothing that stops a stronger and richer pakistan down the line to revert to being hostile to India.”

    Well I dont think we are looking for a guarantee here but lets not forget that Pakistan has been caught with its “pants down” with regards to it providing a safe haven for terrorist. Pakistan is embrassed that the international community has now embrased the stands that India has always taken. If you still think India should be at “war” with pakistan you are seeing the whole facts. The “war” is over, Pakistan has lost it credibility, its economy is in shambles. The victor in this war, India, is looked upon as a future global super power and with a booming economy.

    I think most people in this blog are viewing this issue like with it is the 1990’s where India needed to show hostility to win the proxy war with Islamabad. I also cant see why a moderate stands is considered weak. If Vajpayee government could have initiated two peace talks with pakistan and that too with a military dictator(Agra & Lahore bus diplomacy) inspite of Parliment attcak, Kargil and Kandahar hijack, why not this goverment?

  14. Should be read as “If you still think India should be at “war” with pakistan you are NOT seeing the whole facts”

  15. @ Invalid

    “Asking India to invest in Pak’s education system !!! Thats funny.”

    Well you would have said that in 1999 when the Kandahar hijack happened that India investing in building a strong Afgansitan was funny.

    If India were to consider herself as a global super power then she needs to act like one.

  16. @Karthik

    “If India were to consider herself as a global super power then she needs to act like one.”

    Investing in neighbours is a good idea. Period. It is immaterial if India consider herself a global super-power or not. But investing in a stray dog that is bent on biting you is a bad choice. Unfortunately Pakistan continues to use “a policy of 1000 cuts” as a state mandate.

    In 1999, Afghanistan was “ruled” by the Taliban. India did invest a lot in supporting the Northern Alliance (and not the Taliban). India continues to invest in building Afghan today.

  17. “Pakistan is embrassed that the international community has now embrased the stands that India has always taken.”

    Yes Pakistan is very embarassed. Pakistan is weeping. Pakistan is still saying that the India-US-Israel nexus is behind all the attacks. So apart from that, is there anything else that Pakistan is actually “doing”?

    “I think most people in this blog are viewing this issue like with it is the 1990’s where India needed to show hostility to win the proxy war with Islamabad.”

    Unfortunately if experience is anything to go by, it makes the case only stronger to harden your stance.

  18. K. Subrahmanyam is being too optimistic. Is it even realistic to think that US troops will go into Pak without Pak’s permission. It may kill a terrorist here and terrorist there, but putting down terror apparatus will not happen, because it’ll involve US taking over Pak. In fact, there are plenty of signs that Obama is appeasing Pak just like Bush did.

  19. Kartik writes:

    “Well I dont think we are looking for a guarantee here but lets not forget that Pakistan has been caught with its “pants down” with regards to it providing a safe haven for terrorist. Pakistan is embrassed that the international community has now embrased the stands that India has always taken. If you still think India should be at “war” with pakistan you are seeing the whole facts.”

    I see, so you claim you see “the whole facts” is it? So why exactly don’t you want a guarantee that Pakis will not hate India when it is richer because of India’s help? What is your motivation for saying “it is okay if Pakistan betrays India in the future?”

    As an Indian, assuming you are one, why would you want to help your enemy grow stronger today in order to have a lot of Indians killed fighting them tomorrow? You need to explain that first before you pretend to know all the facts.

  20. Kartik rambles:
    “If India were to consider herself as a global super power then she needs to act like one.”

    Umm…so, other than yourself, who exactly is claiming that India wants to consider herself a superpower, today or somewhere down the line? A link to an Indian leader or official who has said such a thing would support your point.

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