There has been a discussion among the strategic and defence experts about the proxy war games being levelled by Pakistan against India. This is seen as the revival of the 1990s strategy of Pakistan to create internal conflict in India and to strive towards the ‘Qurban Ali Doctrine’ which calls for a 1000 cuts philosophy to bleed India to death (Policy of Balkanisation of India).
Proxy War | Background
The Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) — known as the ‘deep state’ — have been waging a war against India through asymmetric means as part of their strategy of ‘bleeding India through a thousand cuts’. Pakistan’s war began in the early-1980s when the deep state backed militancy in Punjab. The war was intensified in 1989-90 when the Pakistan army and the ISI began to support an uprising in Jammu and Kashmir.
Proxy War | Against India
- Pakistan’s war in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India is clearly a war being waged by one state against another through asymmetric means. The terrorist groups like Lashkar-e Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad are sponsored, financed, armed, trained and indoctrinated by the ISI. They are provided covering fire to help them infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC) by the Pakistani Army.
- Pakistan claims that it only provides political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiri insurgents whom it calls ‘freedom fighters’. In reality, the terrorist groups are ISI protégés and do its bidding, much like the Haqqani network does so in Afghanistan.
- ISI has a separate wing that controls all the activities of all anti-India terrorist organisations. It runs the terrorist training camps in PoK and other parts of Pakistan.
- ISI organises infiltration across the LoC with the help of Pakistan Army. Hundreds of radio transmissions between the ISI handlers and the terrorist group commanders in Jammu and Kashmir are intercepted by Indian Signals units every month.
- Pakistan has lost no opportunity to accuse India – its army and police forces of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir while conducting counter-insurgency operations. It is performed through an aggressive diplomacy in United Nations, OIC and other Arab multilateral groupings.
- Pakistan is operating a big network of printing and circulating fake Indian currency notes through its own government presses in order to undermine Indian economy.
- Recently, the ISI has once again begun to support and provide shelter to the so-called Khalistanis with a view to launching renewed efforts to revive the separatist movement that had been wiped out from Punjab in the early 1990s.
- Terrorist attacks targeting military and critical installations like Pathankot and Uri are testimony to the fact that Pakistan is waging a proxy war against India through asymmetric means.
Proxy War | Way forward
Pakistan’s deep state is unlikely to back down from its strategy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts and waging an asymmetric war through terrorist organisations. The army under General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the new COAS, will continue to raise the bogey of an existentialist threat from India as hostility with India is necessary to justify the army’s disproportionately large strength and the funds necessary to equip and maintain the war machine.
- India’s strategy should be to gradually raise Pakistan’s cost for its war against India and eventually make the cost prohibitive.
- The political, diplomatic and military strategies should be synergised into a comprehensive strategy.
- Only when the Pakistan army begins to hurt and bleed, will the deep state realise the futility of its nefarious designs on India.
- It will then be forced to come to the negotiating table to discuss dispute resolution through peaceful means.
Proxy War | Conclusion
India should not punch below its weight or above its weight, but improve its weight and punch proportionately. The strategy to target the ‘jaw’ for a ‘tooth’ has been recently adopted by India and it should keep up the momentum with a hawk’s eye over political and diplomatic strategies that could be adopted to isolate Pakistan internationally.