Pax Indica: Double trouble

Between the military-jihadi complex and the putative Pakistani state

Excerpts from today’s Pax Indica column:

Image credit: Margulies

…What this means for the rest of the world is that it is a challenge to implement policies that distinguish between the military-jihadi complex and the putative Pakistani state. This is because the effects of policy are fungible between the two. When the international community imposed sanctions on Pakistan after it conducted nuclear tests in 1998, the average Pakistani suffered more than the average military officer and the average jihadi militant. The military-jihadi complex was able to externalise the punishment. But when the international community rewarded Pakistan for agreeing to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the average Pakistani benefited less than the soldier and the militant. The military-jihadi complex cornered the goodies. Not only are the effects of external actors transferable, they are controllable by the military-jihadi complex.

This is the crux of the problem. Of course, the policies adopted by New Delhi and Washington do not show that they have even registered this. They do sometimes distinguish between the civilians and the military, arguing that the former have to be strengthened relative to the latter. Grief awaits those who follow this script, because the military-jihadi complex has both civilian and military manifestations. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, for instance, are marching to a different band, compared to Interior Minister Rehman Malik and President Asif Ali Zardari.

Many observers hoped that Pakistan’s civilian government would use the Abbottabad incident to go one up over the military establishment. Instead, Prime Minister Gilani stoutly defended the ISI and shook his fist at the United States. “Civilians vs military” does not explain this as much “military-jihadi complex vs putative Pakistani state”. It makes sense if you look under the civilian attire and realise that Mr Gilani has been the military’s man from the time Mr Zardari became president.

As the United States enters a fresh phase in its relationship with Pakistan, it is all the more important to get the game and the players right. It’s not only about strengthening the civilian government, but really about bolstering the putative Pakistani state. It is not only about giving money to the civilian government but making sure that the civilian government itself is not comprised of people batting for the military-jihadi complex. It’s not only about punishing the military establishment, but making sure that the military establishment does not transfer the blow to the putative Pakistani state. Unfortunately, the Pakistani elite cannot be relied upon to play a constructive role in this process: they are more likely to bandwagon onto the military-jihadi complex in order to preserve the predatory nature of the status quo system.

Of course, it’s not easy. We still need to think about how we can contain the military-jihadi complex without snuffing the life out of the putative Pakistani state. But treating them as two different things will inject a clarity in the way we approach the problem. [Read the rest at Yahoo!]

4 thoughts on “Pax Indica: Double trouble”

  1. What about taking into account the role and motivations of the American military industrial complex. Their nexus with the Pakistani military and their ability to fool public opinion in the US. Hope lies in improving relations with the business community in Pakistan post haste, where their military has extensive stakes as well. The peace bonus through being part of a a rapidly growing slice of the economic pie which India offers
    has to be made irresistible.

  2. good grief. civilian doesn’t mean the pakistani govt or any element of the state.

    india can court the pakistani people while keeping the pakistani state at arms length and the MJC in the enemy column.


    1. not threatening IPL franchisees to ban pakistani cricket players. while cricketers are welcome, what was the need to invite Gilani to watch the match?

    2. not harassing pakistani citizens while they seek a visa.

    3. allowing pakistani media outlets like GeoTV and print media to tap the indian market.

    4. allowing airline companies to operate as many flights to india as they want without insisting on reciprocal gestures from the pakistani govt.

    5. proposing free trade across the border/sea, by waiving excise/customs duty. again without expecting pakistan to give such a waiver.

    when it comes to pakistan, indian establishment (both the bureaucracy and plain crazies outside) has no interest in improving relations over the long-term. hatred runs very deep. 3 successive prime ministers Gujral, Vajpayee and Manmohan have failed to rein-in the hawks. and so it goes …

  3. 1]

    The post 9/11 defense build up by pakistan is one of the most massive scaling up offensive attack capabilities of a country within a shortest period of time. It is due to this massive scaling up of capacities by the US-NATO combine that essentially provided them with the strength to carry out 26/11.


    At the core of Jihad Inc. complex is islamic nukes. Remove the nukes and the entire edifice of Jihad Inc. falls down like ninepines. So dismantling this complex effectively means denuking the islamic republic. Now we come to the dirty question – who will do it.


    American defense forces are dealing with the massive stress of Overextension. This has led to severe bleeding of both economics and force levels. The impending pullout from afghan theater on a deal with pakistanis is most viable and in complete national interest for Americans as overextension can have very lethal consequences no matter how much raw power you have. Soviet collapse is a classic example of overextension.

    The national interest and geopolitics of US-NATO combine and the chinese also converge together in pakistan. All three major power blocs have a special interest in the continued sustenance of the islamic republic and its Jihad complex and the key role it plays in the strategic containment of India.


    The Jihad complex will only pose a real threat to US-NATO combine once it develops missiles that can reach the European continent or to any of the US cities – or when the pakistanis become too adventurous for their own good and start applying strategy of nuke blackmail to israel as well – or when they make overt threats of loose nukes. Until then – it is not their lookout at all.

    The destruction of this complex therefore is the exclusive strategic imperative only for India. And this great task cannot be outsourced to any of the outside powers.

    Although the game of strategic depth in afghan theater and jihad inc. attacks on India is going to be back soon – it is a very changed situation now. Jihad Inc. with its nukes does suffer from a very bad mad dog syndrome as its strategy of using terrorism to attack and then protecting itself with nukes has run its course due to very limited time durations of these assymetries.

    The tragedy here is that India has suffered immense leadership and institutional disintegration in the past 20 years and this makes the ability to face up to external challenges completely unmanageable.

  4. Islamists are also fast developing tactical nukes to be used against Indian strike forces. It will be a grave miscalculation to think that islamic nuke expansion is due to saudi demand or meant to challenge western powers.

    This expansion of fissile materials and delivery systems is solely meant for India and the destruction of its cities and infrastructure. Indian Military Interdiction to abort this islamic nuke expansion is very vital as timing is everything. The objective of jihad inc. is to dynamically increase both the area of destruction and casuality rates inflicted in an enemy attack. Indian leaders would be required to take some tough decisions in this regard as delay would increase both these aspects and will be fatal.

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