February 20, 2010

THERE IS NO PAKISTAN:

The Indo-Pakistan cliff of hoary cliches (Vir Sanghvi, 21 Feb 2010, Indian Express)

Here is a small sample of what you’re probably hearing — and a short explanation about why it makes very little sense.

One: A strong and stable Pakistan is in India’s best interests.

This argument is as old as the hills. The underlying assumption is that were Pakistan to break up, thousands of mad militants would attack India. There is a tiny grain of truth to this view so I will not dismiss it out of hand but consider the opposite view.

In 1971, Pakistan broke up. Half of the country actually seceded and became Bangladesh. The immediate consequence of this weak and enfeebled Pakistan was two decades of peace. Throughout the 70s and the 80s, we had very little trouble from Islamabad. Plus, with East Pakistan gone, funding for rebels in Nagaland and Mizoram dried up. Consequently, both problems were solved and the insurgencies ended.

If Pakistan were to break up, if Sindh or Baluchistan seceded, there is no way this could do India any harm. Rather Pakistan would be so obsessed with its own problems that we would have a degree of peace.

Further, the real threat to India is not from freelance jihadis. They are quite happy killing other Pakistanis. The threat to us comes from organised terror planned by state and semi-state actors. Such forces are at their peak when Pakistan is strong and stable.


Not only would we all benefit from turning the violence further inwards, but it is futile to try and contain the centrifugal forces driving the artificial remnants of colonialism apart. Of course, that includes India....

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2010 4:45 PM
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