Spooked by an unfinished doctrine?

The Pakistani military establishment has its reasons to over-react to General Deepak Kapoor’s remarks

This time, it’s an obscure comment at an internal seminar about a new doctrine that the Indian army is working on. The doctrine is not even ready in draft form. It has not even been endorsed by the Army Headquarters. And, as we know from the story of ‘Cold Start’, the Army’s endorsement doesn’t mean that the other services, the defence ministry or the Cabinet Committee on Security has accepted it. That tells you something about how serious India’s political leadership is about defence strategy. It also tells you how ridiculous the Pakistani establishment looks when it goes into hysteria about a new Indian army doctrine that is still work in progress.

Now the army chief being the army chief merely said that the army will be ready to fight China and Pakistan simultaneously and quickly. This shouldn’t be news to anybody. The fact that both China and Pakistan have nuclear weapons, and that this makes large-scale war unlikely, doesn’t mean that the armed forces in those countries don’t prepare for conventional war. In the India-China and the India-Pakistan context, where bilateral relations are hardly like those between the United States and Canada, for instance, the conventional military balance across the border is important, and itself acts as a deterrent to outright conflict.

Furthermore, till the time the Pakistani military-jihadi complex remains intact, it makes abundant sense for India to possess the necessary military capacity to conduct swift, decisive operations across the border. No army wants to go to war, and to some extent, the prospect of having to fight the Indian army will discourage the Pakistani military leadership from using jihadi groups for acts of terrorism.

All this, though, is not some bold new innovation in military strategy. So why is the Pakistani establishment in such a state of excitement?

At one level, given the history, war hysteria is understandable. But it serves two key purposes: first, it rallies the Pakistani people behind the military-jihadi complex. Second, it allows the Pakistani establishment to inflate the ‘Indian threat’ to audiences in the United States, both as an explanation for its reluctance to allocate more resources to the border with Afghanistan, and also to justify its use of US financial assistance to purchase military assets for use against India.

We saw this happen after the 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai. And we’re seeing it again now.

11 thoughts on “Spooked by an unfinished doctrine?”

  1. Is it implying that Pakistani establishment and Military (as you put Pakistani military-jihadi complex) should not reply to Indian Military Chief’s statements?

  2. The cute Pak establishment projects its fears onto Dilli, seems like.

    They momentarily forgot that in Dilli, unlike in Islambad, the Army chief doesn’t decide policy, doctrine, law, judicial appointments, land allotments or constitutional validity. Hence, the flurry of worry. Just my 2 paise only.

  3. This whole thing is lowering my opinion of the media in Pakistan.

    The India Times story reports that the Indian Army’s General Staff is working on revising the plan to fight China and Pakistan at the same time. This is their job, and is not much more remarkable than the fact that the Sun rises in the East. Incidentally, it also quotes General Deepak Kapoor as saying that the Indian army is ready to fight China and Pakistan at the same time. He pretty much has to say this, whether or not it is true, because saying the Indian Army isn’t ready to fight would encourage the Chinese to try to push India around. So this isn’t news either.

    The Pakistani press then extracts part of this non-story, and quotes General Deepak Kapoor out of context as saying that India is ready for war against Pakistan and China. Even out of context, this doesn’t mean anything. Unless the political types want a war it’s not going to happen.

    Then the story makes it way to the editorial writers and the bloggers … we all know what happens then.

    Hopefully, the only result of this will be time wasted writing and reading the stories …


  4. Any army prepares (or at least thinks it is) for the worst case scenario. Media in both the countries have this habit of sensationalising non-issues at the same time downplaying the real ones, they have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  5. Nitin,
    I think that Pak’s paranoia stems from their historic view of the Army (like in Pakistan) as the strongest decision maker in the political scene. They do not realize the Indian Army’s role in India is mostly related to tactical support in the form of offense/defense in the context of Indian political strategy.

    As postulated by Von Clausewitz, War (and hence army) is simply a means to a political end and not mainstream politics itself. The Pakistanis seem to have conveniently forgotten this with Army being synonymous with politics in that country.


  6. For Pakistan to survive, it needs to project a threat, even if it be imaginary, from India as real and grave. With Pakistan in denial mode and its psyche remaining stagnant since 1947, it is difficult for normalising relations with Pakistan. People to people contact, bus services, track 2, etc. makes no sense unless there is a change in attitude and Pak is able to fulfil its promise on terror.

  7. I would be glad..if Army is even ready to give Pakistan a bloody nose..without sending our armed forces on a suicidal masochistic mission like in Kargil without decent close air support and all(initially..for far too long). Forget CHina..with the total snafu state of air-defence,artillery and armor..will army even capable of holding on to existing territories..god knows..

  8. What does giving pakistan a bloody nose buy India other than give Pakistan an excuse to go on its “Indian threat in Eastern border” caterwaul? It is all easy to get emotional and demand revenge overtly, but that just narrows India’s options severely and is pretty stupid.

    It is always best to keep one’s eye on the real enemy: Pakistani military, its consistent benefactors in US/UK/KSA, and its global terrorist capabilities and assets that provide the material support required to conduct terror attacks. Pakistan needs to be dismantled and the local tribes empowered in both Pakistan and Afghanisthan. The terror ecosystem that exists because of the nexus between the Pakistani Army, America, an Allah triumvirate need to be expunged from India’s environs with extreme prejudice.

  9. “Pakistan needs to be dismantled and the local tribes empowered in both Pakistan and Afghanisthan. The terror ecosystem that exists because of the nexus between the Pakistani Army, America, an Allah triumvirate need to be expunged from India’s environs with extreme prejudice.”

    – I agree.

    And instead of a M-J complex, they will be left with mom and pop shops killing each other when not doing other things. There needs to then be a mechanism that can keep them that way – busy, and not grow into a “complex” again.

Comments are closed.