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1980s
31 May 14,, 18:27
Should make for an informative read:

Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199892709/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0199892709&linkCode=as2&tag=httpwaronthec-20&linkId=LAU4IT4IQDA3OONG#reader_0199892709)

Since Pakistan was founded in 1947, its army has dominated the state. The military establishment has locked the country in an enduring rivalry with India, with the primary aim of wresting Kashmir from it. To that end, Pakistan initiated three wars over Kashmir-in 1947, 1965, and 1999-and failed to win any of them. Today, the army continues to prosecute this dangerous policy by employing non-state actors under the security of its ever-expanding nuclear umbrella. It has sustained a proxy war in Kashmir since 1989 using Islamist militants, as well as supporting non-Islamist insurgencies throughout India and a country-wide Islamist terror campaign that have brought the two countries to the brink of war on several occasions. In addition to these territorial revisionist goals, the Pakistani army has committed itself to resisting India's slow but inevitable rise on the global stage.

Despite Pakistan's efforts to coerce India, it has achieved only modest successes at best. Even though India vivisected Pakistan in 1971, Pakistan continues to see itself as India's equal and demands the world do the same. The dangerous methods that the army uses to enforce this self-perception have brought international opprobrium upon Pakistan and its army. And in recent years, their erstwhile proxies have turned their guns on the Pakistani state itself.

Why does the army persist in pursuing these revisionist policies that have come to imperil the very viability of the state itself, from which the army feeds? In Fighting to the End, C. Christine Fair argues that the answer lies, at least partially, in the strategic culture of the army. Through an unprecedented analysis of decades' worth of the army's own defense publications, she concludes that from the army's distorted view of history, it is victorious as long as it can resist India's purported drive for regional hegemony as well as the territorial status quo. Simply put, acquiescence means defeat. Fighting to the End convincingly shows that because the army is unlikely to abandon these preferences, Pakistan will remain a destabilizing force in world politics for the foreseeable future.

Editorial Reviews

"In this painstakingly developed and brilliantly argued book, one of America's leading South Asia scholars examines Pakistan's chronic insecurities and grand ideological ambitions that generate high levels of conflict for itself, the region, and the world. Using extensive primary and secondary sources, Christine Fair shows conclusively that Pakistan is insecure not only for its inability to obtain Kashmir, but due to a civilizational notion that it ought to be a co-equal with India and that it should employ all means, including Jihadist violence, to obtain strategic parity with its larger neighbor. Her findings have far-reaching consequences and immense policy implications." --T.V. Paul, McGill University, and author of The Warrior State

"Provocative and essential: this book will make you think seriously about one of the world's newest danger points." --Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution, and author of Shooting for a Century

"Pakistan is at an historical crossroads yet again. It needs to clearly define its future by ending the ambivalence about good and bad militancy. Either it becomes a successful democratic entity with a thriving economy or it heads into debilitating internal and external conflict. Fair's penetrating critique of its mid-level military narratives, often charged with Islamist dogma, is a must-read for both civilian and military leaders, as they seek a course correction in their domestic governance and relations with friends and foes." --Shuja Nawaz, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council, and author of Crossed Swords

"Pakistan's dominant institution, the army, has embraced an anti-Indian Islamo-nationalism that alone can explain some of its less professional institutional decisions. In her well-researched book, Fair analyzes the ideological underpinnings of the Pakistan army's strategic culture. It is a valuable addition to the literature on the subject with original material often overlooked by scholars in the past." --Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan ambassador to the US, and author of Magnificent Delusions

"In this book, Fair combines a deep knowledge of South Asia with insights from international relations theory. It provides a compelling assessment of Pakistan's strategic behavior focused on the preferences of the most important institution in the country -- the Pakistani Army. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the security environment in this important region of the world." --S. Paul Kapur, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School

About the Author

C. Christine Fair is an Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program within Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She previously served as a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, a political officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul, and a senior research associate in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the United States Institute of Peace.

Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War: C. Christine Fair: 9780199892709: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199892709/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0199892709&linkCode=as2&tag=httpwaronthec-20&linkId=LAU4IT4IQDA3OONG#reader_0199892709)

Double Edge
01 Jun 14,, 11:39
Christine is always fun to listen to at talks and discussions. Fluent in Hindi, Punjabi & Urdu.

And a sense of humour (http://www.amazon.com/Cuisines-Axis-Other-Irritating-States/dp/1599212862/) :)

Minskaya
01 Jun 14,, 12:38
Christine is always fun to listen to at talks and discussions. Fluent in Hindi, Punjabi & Urdu.

And a sense of humour (http://www.amazon.com/Cuisines-Axis-Other-Irritating-States/dp/1599212862/) :)
It seems her analysis is spot-on...

Pakistani government feels weight of army's heavy hand (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-27/news/sns-rt-us-pakistan-sharif-army-insight-20140523_1_afghan-taliban-general-raheel-sharif-mehreen-zahra-malik-islamabad)

Double Edge
01 Jun 14,, 14:06
That was an interesting article but i did not see Fair's input in there :confused:

Minskaya
01 Jun 14,, 14:21
That was an interesting article but i did not see Fair's input in there :confused:

In the case of Pakistan, the tail (government) cannot wag the dog (military)

1980s
01 Jun 14,, 14:47
A recent article of her's which touches on the theme of her latest book can be found here: Who’s Killing Pakistan’s Shia and Why? (http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/whos-killing-pakistans-shia-and-why/)

ambidex
01 Jun 14,, 15:23
"Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War" - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3DIOjTmX0M)

zraver
01 Jun 14,, 15:59
Did anyone else chuckle at the title? Fighting to the end.... the PA is a bunch of surrender monkeys.

1980s
01 Jun 14,, 20:39
"Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War" - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3DIOjTmX0M)

Good video.

Ive only watched the first 30 mins so far but Christine Fair has articled so well what many of us who are not from that part of the World have come to learn and understand about Pakistan over the past several years. Its been said before on here many times and Fair has pretty much reiterated the massive inferiority complex suffered by Pakistan and its deluded self-perception of its own power and importance.

Pakistan clearly has no identity or purpose other than to be anti-India, which it is mostly a brake-away territory of. Its only other cause to exist seems to be to meddle in Afghanistan by sponsoring Sunni Islamist movements to pacify the Pashto population so that they do not rebel against Pakistan and become too powerful as a nationalist force in Afghanistan.

Fair says that Pakistan's unrealistic sense of itself goes back to before its actual creation. This seems to be true for more reasons than she has mentioned. Having read quite a bit now on this region over the past several years i have came to see that the peoples of the northwest Indian subcontinent have suffered a kind of strange and confusing psychological paradox that was imprinted onto them during their transformation under British rule.

It seems that the British in their typically self-serving orientalist and pseudo-anthropological 'studies' invented out of thin air what they decided was a broadly unified ethnic group they called "Punjabis", who are a actually just a collection of sub-ethnic Indian "castes" and tribes that spoke several closely related dialects and inhabited the same region. Before the British rule in India, i have not found any mention of a "Punjabi people" or a "Punjabi nation" in any historical source. They have no unique history or civilization, no unique national symbols, flags, currency, dynasties etc etc Only a brief kingdom established by a Sikh in the 19th century that survived independently a few decades. The rest of this region's history is basically apart of wider Indian history but has the distinction of always being conquered and occupied by one foreign force or another, with its name and borders changing several times (the latest name "Punjab" is itself a foreign imposed name).

From what i understand, British orientalists drew-up the borders of Punjab and nurtured the establishment of a unified "Punjabi" ethnic group that never existed before among the peoples that lived in that region by giving them a shared sense of "provincial" identity, despite their "caste" and religious differences. Pseudo-anthropological 'studies' by British orientalists accompanied this by trying to inflate and patronize the ego's of many of these "caste" groups in Punjab by labelling them "martial groups" with the hidden intent to recruit large numbers of Indians into the British army to help suppress against any revolts against British rule and to use as front-line soldiers and cannon fodder in other parts of the World.

Not surprisingly Punjabi groups, particularly Sikh and Muslim ones that had suffered centuries of occupation and humiliations by foreign Muslim invaders and discrimination from "high caste" Hindus, were more gullible and easily seduced than other Indians were by British tongue-in-cheek designations of being "martial races" and so readily joined the British army in large numbers after they had been manipulated and their ego's inflated.

Now, here lies a psychological paradox inherited and suffered by Pakistan. For generations while they were under British rule, they had been told by orientalist Brits that they were a "martial race" and so, were manipulated to join and serve the British army and its interests. But ironically, this "martial race" designation is in contradiction to their own history as Punjab has a bad track record of regularly having been invaded, defeated and plundered by foreign armies, many of them quite small, and having almost never offered any successful resistance. Most of the time, Indians from Punjab didnt even resist at all and suffered massive casualties, particularly against Turks and Afghans.

I think this legacy and confusion still plays on the minds of Pakistan's army, which it inherited from British India days. This can be seen in their inability to find any historical local hero's of their own, because they have none. They are thus forced to produce weapons and name them after, ironically, foreign kings and warlords that attacked and looted their ancestors. But still in their own minds they (Punjabis) are a "martial race" stronger than other Indians for no other reason than because the British told them so!

Likewise, Punjab Muslims are a comparatively recent Muslim people, having only converted to Islam long after that religion was established and flourishing in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Their Hindu forefathers were not respected by their foreign Muslim conquerors (even after they had converted to Islam they were discriminated against), nor by their fellow "high caste" Hindus. I think this inferiority complex feeds into Pakistani ideology quite a lot as regards its anti-India fixation and its quest to be "equal" to India, dominate Afghanistan and to be the one and only Islamic "superpower".

Pakistanis/Punjabis whatever you want to call them seem to be trying to compensate for something they have historically never had, ie respect, security and "power".


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3DIOjTmX0M

Double Edge
01 Jun 14,, 23:35
It's a bit depressing what she says. Nothing changes, continue as usual. This is a civilisational conflict, an ideological conflict, India is the bad guy, period, fullstop, end of story. It begins or ends with the PA. Make peace with India and there is no point in the PA existing any more.

See, Indians have been saying this for ever but the Americans would not listen. They had to get burned themselves and Fair had to stop supporting the Paks after she saw American troops getting killed and the USG was seen more or less looking the other way. Then she starts to get a little more critical of the US-Pak relationship. Say anything bad about Pakistan, lose your visa. She is PNG in Pakistan now. She doesn't care, she's visited the place often enough.

The last bit is quite telling. When the army is at its lowest point do the civvies try to throw it under the bus and take over ? No

After 1971, people continued in the PA, no court martials. They just lost half the country but hey, it's not a defeat. She recounts what the dawn headline on Dec 16 1971 said..

Victory on all fronts

This is when there were over 60k POWs and they were surrendering.

So the notions of defeat or victory are unique in Pakistan and have no parallels anywhere past and likely future.

The next time the army was at a low point was after May 2011, Abottabad. Did the civvies rise up ? they rose up and defended the army.

If those two incidents would not change the mentality of the people there who firmly believe the Army is the premier institution in the country then what more can we expect. How low does the PA have to be for things to change.

So what does India do amongst all of this ? play for status quo. Because we cannot change the game.

The cold war came to an end because the other side collapsed, well we can't let that happen in this case because Pakistan is too important to fail.

ambidex
02 Jun 14,, 08:25
It's a bit depressing what she says. Nothing changes, continue as usual. This is a civilisational conflict, an ideological conflict, India is the bad guy, period, fullstop, end of story. It begins or ends with the PA. Make peace with India and there is no point in the PA existing any more.

See, Indians have been saying this for ever but the Americans would not listen. They had to get burned themselves and Fair had to stop supporting the Paks after she saw American troops getting killed and the USG was seen more or less looking the other way. Then she starts to get a little more critical of the US-Pak relationship. Say anything bad about Pakistan, lose your visa. She is PNG in Pakistan now. She doesn't care, she's visited the place often enough.

The last bit is quite telling. When the army is at its lowest point do the civvies try to throw it under the bus and take over ? No

After 1971, people continued in the PA, no court martials. They just lost half the country but hey, it's not a defeat. She recounts what the dawn headline on Dec 16 1971 said..

Victory on all fronts

This is when there were over 60k POWs and they were surrendering.

So the notions of defeat or victory are unique in Pakistan and have no parallels anywhere past and likely future.

The next time the army was at a low point was after May 2011, Abottabad. Did the civvies rise up ? they rose up and defended the army.

If those two incidents would not change the mentality of the people there who firmly believe the Army is the premier institution in the country then what more can we expect. How low does the PA have to be for things to change.

So what does India do amongst all of this ? play for status quo. Because we cannot change the game.

The cold war came to an end because the other side collapsed, well we can't let that happen in this case because Pakistan is too important to fail.

There is nothing unusual that wouldn't make sense to an Indian vis a vis her opinion on peace between both. There was another facet to the same equation which I learnt from OOE,'The China factor'.

We are rather one step ahead in awareness or in theory at least, about USA's strategic compulsion of leaving Afghanistan and seeing Afghanistan going to the dogs again.

US-Taliban Prisoner Swap: What Does it Mean for India? Video: NDTV.com (http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-buck-stops-here/us-taliban-prisoner-swap-what-does-it-mean-for-india/323913?hp&video-featured).

Watch from 06:27 mins. Now I see a blood bath coming which was predicted by OOE some times back.

What attracted my eye and ear more was her opinion on Iran and an opportunity missed to develop Chabahar port to access Afghanistan. All blames to Bush who didn't recognized Iran's role post 9/11.

Double Edge
02 Jun 14,, 09:09
The bottomline : making peace with India is tantamount to surrender, capitulation for the PA

It does not matter how many times they lose. Its not viewed as defeat for them.

When military victory isn't possible then go for a PR victory. When that does not work try something else.

Never give up.


There is nothing unusual that wouldn't make sense to an Indian vis a vis her opinion on peace between both. There was another facet to the same equation which I learnt from OOE,'The China factor'.

We are rather one step ahead in awareness or in theory at least, about USA's strategic compulsion of leaving Afghanistan and seeing Afghanistan going to the dogs again.

US-Taliban Prisoner Swap: What Does it Mean for India? Video: NDTV.com (http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-buck-stops-here/us-taliban-prisoner-swap-what-does-it-mean-for-india/323913?hp&video-featured).

Watch from 06:27 mins. Now I see a blood bath coming which was predicted by OOE some times back.

What attracted my eye and ear more was her opinion on Iran and an opportunity missed to develop Chabahar port to access Afghanistan. All blames to Bush who didn't recognized Iran's role post 9/11.
Yeah he said that. Told me this when i joined this place.

I'm still waiting to see how the election results go.

ambidex
02 Jun 14,, 14:33
Yeah he said that. Told me this when i joined this place.

I'm still waiting to see how the election results go.

My be you missed his point, It had nothing to with change in political landscape but some thing scripted by USA, NATO et al before leaving the region. The video I posted about recent swapping/deal is a one part of that script. Did you read/watched the names, their designations and brief resume people who have been just released by USA in the video I posted.

Double Edge
03 Jun 14,, 00:44
My be you missed his point, It had nothing to with change in political landscape but some thing scripted by USA, NATO et al before leaving the region.
What script are you referring to ? Once they are out whatever script is down to regional actors.

By elections i mean i want to see how things turn out and the key point is funds. No funds then it all goes to pot ie blood bath.

whether funds arrive depends to a certain extent on whether who the Afghans elect is seen as effective in managing the situation. The 3 priorities for the Afghan president are economy, security & reconciliation.


The video I posted about recent swapping/deal is a one part of that script. Did you read/watched the names, their designations and brief resume people who have been just released by USA in the video I posted.
Important people in the Taliban, a list whittled down no doubt after intense negotiations, much like we had to do back in '99 after IC 814 got hijacked.

Officer of Engineers
03 Jun 14,, 04:26
What script are you referring to ? Once they are out whatever script is down to regional actors.Or the ones with the money. Najibullah was winning when he had Soviet money. He was holding his own when the USSR collapsed and he only lost when Yeltsin cut off funding.

In this particular scenario, Pakistan will not be allowed to run her games again. Five major powers stand against her in Afghanistan. Iran, Russia, China, the US, and India. Not one will ever allowed a Pakistan run Taliban to come to power ever again.

As for the Taliban, the seeds of vengeance has been sowed. It has yet to be unleashed.

Double Edge
03 Jun 14,, 09:45
Or the ones with the money. Najibullah was winning when he had Soviet money. He was holding his own when the USSR collapsed and he only lost when Yeltsin cut off funding.

In this particular scenario, Pakistan will not be allowed to run her games again. Five major powers stand against her in Afghanistan. Iran, Russia, China, the US, and India. Not one will ever allowed a Pakistan run Taliban to come to power ever again.
yes, a stable Afghanistan is in the interest of nearly all the neighbours. Would add KSA, UAE & Turkey in that list too.

Listening to a speech by one of the presidential candidates and he mentioned the security budget for Afghanstan is $4bn annual. The afghan state revenue is $2bn. The Chicago agreement promises $35 bn over nine years. The Afghan's have to set aside $0.5bn as their share towards security annually. He mentioned two key requests that had to be met. (working) helicopters and med evac which was crucial for troop morale.


As for the Taliban, the seeds of vengeance has been sowed. It has yet to be unleashed.
There are efforts at reconciliation to make. if the Taliban are not in the mood then they will be dealt with by the Afghan army.

Deltacamelately
03 Jun 14,, 11:33
Its to be seen if the ANA can hold on its own and not let the Taliban rule vast swathes of Afghanistan yet again. Blood letting alone won't suffice.

Officer of Engineers
03 Jun 14,, 17:16
Its to be seen if the ANA can hold on its own and not let the Taliban rule vast swathes of Afghanistan yet again. Blood letting alone won't suffice.Colonel,

I don't think it will be the ANA, at least no an ANA under Kabul's command. It will be a whole bunch of local warlords with their own militias and local loyalties being paid by Kabul to wear their uniforms. They're the ones who are going to do the bloodletting and unlike before, there is no Pakistani backed national force to dislodge them.

Do recall that Dostum switched sides, he was never defeated.

Double Edge
04 Jun 14,, 00:09
you're thinking china pre-Mao ?

Officer of Engineers
04 Jun 14,, 01:06
I'm thinking Somalia, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Afghanistan post Soviet occupation, Chechnya pre-Putin. There are a lot of examples to choose from.

Deltacamelately
04 Jun 14,, 07:44
Colonel,

I don't think it will be the ANA, at least no an ANA under Kabul's command. It will be a whole bunch of local warlords with their own militias and local loyalties being paid by Kabul to wear their uniforms. They're the ones who are going to do the bloodletting and unlike before, there is no Pakistani backed national force to dislodge them.

Do recall that Dostum switched sides, he was never defeated.
Sir,

All of these will boil down to availability of funds. That's what I meant by "ANA holding on its own". Not that I insist on the Yanks squandering their tax payers money on that sh!thole. But if the money stops flowing adequately, then Kabul has no hope in hell to hold on. Could the rest of the powers you mentioned above, create a kitty and keep the show going? Could they form a coalition of military advisers/contractors post NATO/ISAF's withdrawal?

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 07:58
Could the rest of the powers you mentioned above, create a kitty and keep the show going? Could they form a coalition of military advisers/contractors post NATO/ISAF's withdrawal?

Delta, seeing as India is one of those powers mentioned, what do we really get out of it (helping Kabul and the ANA hold on)?

Seeing as we have a Gujarati ghanchi leading the show, the obvious question is going to be aapre waste suun? (what's in it for us).

Doktor
04 Jun 14,, 08:00
It's so damn obvious, but you refuse to see it for some reason.

Pakistan can't be focused on two borders.

Doktor
04 Jun 14,, 08:14
Col,


Do recall that Dostum switched sides, he was never defeated.
Then why he moved into self-exile in Turkey? Twice.

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 08:22
It's so damn obvious, but you refuse to see it for some reason.

Pakistan can't be focused on two borders.

Thank you for pointing out the obvious.

But why do we need to get tied into a multi power funding kitty for that objective? Especially when our larger interests are never going to be fullly aligned with most of them.

Double Edge
04 Jun 14,, 09:19
Nobody wants an unstable Afghanistan in the region. A terrorist breeding ground which leaks out and unpredictably creates trouble for any one at any time. No Indian troops need to be sent over at all. We do our bit along with others. Funds, training. We have a BSA with Afghanistan already.

Deltacamelately
04 Jun 14,, 09:28
Thank you for pointing out the obvious.

But why do we need to get tied into a multi power funding kitty for that objective? Especially when our larger interests are never going to be fullly aligned with most of them.
Though there's a lot in that, including what Doktor alluded to, its also about money put to good use. You save some by not funding Kabul, allow the Paks to get the ball rolling yet again in Afghanistan, you spend much more in tying them in their eastern border.

The Talibs and Haqqanis must not be allowed to get a free ride once again in that place. The Paks have meager resources to play on both sides. And its unwise to expect the US do all of the spending for all the time. The best bet is to get all the regional players share the expense and policing.

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 09:36
Though there's a lot in that, including what Doktor alluded to, its also about money put to good use. You save some by not funding Kabul, allow the Paks to get the ball rolling yet again in Afghanistan, you spend much more in tying them in their eastern border.

The Talibs and Haqqanis must not be allowed to get a free ride once again in that place. The Paks have meager resources to play on both sides. And its unwise to expect the US do all of the spending for all the time. The best bet is to get all the regional players share the expense and policing.

Why not concentrate our efforts, and money, on Iran instead. Between them and Afghanistan's rag tag ANA, I am sure you'd agree that the former is a better bet to tie up Pakistan on their Western flank.

And we have a direct sea route to them.

And they have oil.

Basically, one way or the other, we are going to remain bit players in Afghanistan without Iran. I'd rather we address the prime target first and not get lost in the secondary bogey. Iran has as much to lose, if not more, from a lawless Afghanistan than we do. They share a land border, which we do not. One way or the other, we need to face Pakistan, and only Pakistan. Our indirect objectives vis a vis Pakistan via Afghanistan can and would be better served out of Iran.

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 09:51
Nobody wants an unstable Afghanistan in the region. A terrorist breeding ground which leaks out and unpredictably creates trouble for any one at any time. No Indian troops need to be sent over at all. We do our bit along with others. Funds, training. We have a BSA with Afghanistan already.

Nobody wants an unstable nuclear Pakistan in the region. But its there.

And it breeds and leaks terrorists a lot more than Afghanistan ever did. And their leakage is into our soil directly. Sans buffer.

Deltacamelately
04 Jun 14,, 10:03
Why not concentrate our efforts, and money, on Iran instead. Between them and Afghanistan's rag tag ANA, I am sure you'd agree that the former is a better bet to tie up Pakistan on their Western flank.

And we have a direct sea route to them.

And they have oil.

Basically, one way or the other, we are going to remain bit players in Afghanistan without Iran. I'd rather we address the prime target first and not get lost in the secondary bogey. Iran has as much to lose, if not more, from a lawless Afghanistan than we do. They share a land border, which we do not. One way or the other, we need to face Pakistan, and only Pakistan. Our indirect objectives vis a vis Pakistan via Afghanistan can and would be better served out of Iran.
Its all about priorities and expectations. Iran is not going to provide any wedge vis-a-vis Pakistan. Never did, never would. They don't have such misplaced expectations, nor do we. The ANA must be kept well oiled and geared up - else the Talibs would get freed to concentrate on Kashmir more often than not. They must be tied-up in Afghanistan and kept on the run. For this to happen, the funding must be continued or else the next President in Kabul will be the next Najibullah. India alone can't do that, the others need to chip in and the good thing is - the benefits will be commonly shared between all the players. Pakistan can do squat about this.

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 10:09
Its all about priorities and expectations. Iran is not going to provide any wedge vis-a-vis Pakistan. Never did, never would. They don't have such misplaced expectations, nor do we. The ANA must be kept well oiled and geared up - else the Talibs would get freed to concentrate on Kashmir more often than not. They must be tied-up in Afghanistan and kept on the run. For this to happen, the funding must be continued or else the next President in Kabul will be the next Najibullah. India alone can't do that, the others need to chip in and the good thing is - the benefits will be commonly shared between all the players. Pakistan can do squat about this.

Thanks Delta.

But could you provide some more on why you do not believe Iran could be useful? They have all of the same issues with Pakistan that Afghanistan traditionally does. Similar large restive populaces of share ethnicity, and contested land. And they have a powerful army, that for them at least, is no longer required to the same extent on THEIR Western flank.

Why can't we leverage this, or more accurately based on what you are writing, obviously knowing a lot more than what we do, why have we not been able to leverage this?

lemontree
04 Jun 14,, 10:10
Why not concentrate our efforts, and money, on Iran instead. Between them and Afghanistan's rag tag ANA, I am sure you'd agree that the former is a better bet to tie up Pakistan on their Western flank.

Because Iran is not considered Pakistan's strategic depth, it is Afghanistan.


And we have a direct sea route to them.

And they have oil.
We buy oil from them anyway.


Basically, one way or the other, we are going to remain bit players in Afghanistan without Iran. I'd rather we address the prime target first and not get lost in the secondary bogey.
The way it works is like this:-

Pakistani Armed forces - Approx 500,000 - Maximum of these units are facing India.
Indian Armed Forces - Approx 10,00,000 - 50% face China & 50% face Pakistan

So you have zero numerical superiority against Pakistan.
They continue to hit and run in India and we cannot do much as the forces of the two nations are roughly equal in numbers.

But when Afghanistan comes in, which has a old border dispute with Pakistan, then you can force Pakistan to divide their forces that are facing India.
This takes away their strategic reserves and we have more room for manoeuvre.

Double Edge
04 Jun 14,, 10:16
Nobody wants an unstable nuclear Pakistan in the region. But its there.

And it breeds and leaks terrorists a lot more than Afghanistan ever did. And their leakage is into our soil directly. Sans buffer.
So why add further to existing problems ? This is one that has a broad consensus in the region as well as further afield. We can actually do something here and our presence is welcome.

Investing in Iran is constrained until relations between iran & the west are resolved, primarily with the US. That last bit is still an open question. This is why we have been slow to fund Chabahar even though its a no brainer in the big picture. Think about a 3rd front for the Paks to worry about.

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 10:21
Thanks LT. I was missing you. Especially the opportunity of being on the same side for a change. ;)


Because Iran is not considered Pakistan's strategic depth, it is Afghanistan.

But to deny them that, we need to go through Iran. How else are we going to do heavy lifting there? You cannot outsource a war, which is basically what we do without any meaningful presence but just funding and "oiling."


We buy oil from them anyway.

But we need their land access. We need their over flight. We need them (just thinking aloud here) eventually as a staging ground for our own forces should we think of pincering Pakistan.


The way it works is like this:-

Pakistani Armed forces - Approx 500,000 - Maximum of these units are facing India.
Indian Armed Forces - Approx 10,00,000 - 50% face China & 50% face Pakistan

So you have zero numerical superiority against Pakistan.
They continue to hit and run in India and we cannot do much as the forces of the two nations are roughly equal in numbers.

As I said to Doktor, most first timers on defence forums understand this concept bro. But thanks for the added professional inputs nonetheless. Its the next part whose surmise I am questioning (in my previous post/s).


But when Afghanistan comes in, which has a old border dispute with Pakistan, then you can force Pakistan to divide their forces that are facing India.
This takes away their strategic reserves and we have more room for manoeuvre.

ALL of these are the same with Iran.

+ Iran is a much bigger stick to wave at Pakistan's exposed flank.

+ Iran has the same motivation (if not more when you bring in the sectarian angle).

Which is why it boils down to what Delta alluded to.

Why is Iran not interested, and has never been?

And as a follow on, why have we not been able to make Iran interetsed?

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 10:25
So why add further to existing problems ? This is one that has a broad consensus in the region as well as further afield. We can actually do something here and our presence is welcome.

I am not questioning our involvement and the need for the same in the region. I started out by questioning the need for India to join some sort of alliance for the same instead of putting in our own bit on our own, untied, no strings attached. Especially as the other players are not exactly friends.


Investing in Iran is constrained until relations between iran & the west are resolved, primarily with the US. That last bit is still an open question. This is why we have been slow to fund Chabahar even though its a no brainer in the big picture. Think about a 3rd front for the Paks to worry about.

I'm glad you are in agreement to the basic premise.

On the bolded part, I'm questioning why it has to be the 3rd front, and why not give it a promotion to 2nd. A lot more bang for buck.

Double Edge
04 Jun 14,, 10:28
I'm thinking Somalia, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Afghanistan post Soviet occupation, Chechnya pre-Putin. There are a lot of examples to choose from.
yes i understand what you meant now. This is an n-sided fight whereas one tends to view it as just Taliban vs ANA.

So the ANA has to achieve a monopoly on violence. This is a minimum required for Afghan state to be considered viable.

The challenge is for this not to turn into an ethnic conflict between peoples of the north & south. ANA is northern alliance dominant. South is pashtun.

Double Edge
04 Jun 14,, 10:38
I'm glad you are in agreement to the basic premise.

On the bolded part, I'm questioning why it has to be the 3rd front, and why not give it a promotion to 2nd. A lot more bang for buck.
if you look at my earlier posts i have always championed good relations between the US & Iran. With that basis i've been able to challenge a lot of anti-iran rhetoric, which mostly stems from US domestic politics and has less to do with strategic interests between the two.

Does not have to be a 3rd front, the objective is to complicate war planning for the Paks. Does not even have to be front. but if it creates doubt in their minds and results in a diversion in allocation of resources then we are safer. It raises the bar to wage war with us. As they are determined to fight to the end, then it is our responsibility to make it more expensive.

lemontree
04 Jun 14,, 10:44
Thanks LT. I was missing you. Especially the opportunity of being on the same side for a change. ;)
You will always find me on your side, you will never find me on the side that harms Indians or India.


But to deny them that, we need to go through Iran. How else are we going to do heavy lifting there?
1. Iran is still and international pariah.
2. Why will Iran allow India to use their land to fight India's war?..especially when they are not threatened by Pakistan.


But we need their land access. We need their over flight. We need them (just thinking aloud here) eventually as a staging ground for our own forces should we think of pincering Pakistan.

Why?..you have all the staging grounds in India.
Pakistan is next door, so why do you need over flights over Iran?
Pincering Pakistan, is out of the question, since they are nuclear. You can push them only to some extent.


Why is Iran not interested, and has never been?

And as a follow on, why have we not been able to make Iran interetsed?
Because Iran has been fighting to save its own identity since 1979.
Its strategic enemy is USA and Israel.
Iran's strategic war is in Syria and Lebanon not in Pakistan. They are middle-east centric, their competitors are other oil producing gulf states.
Pakistan is of no concern to them.

You see Iranian Hezbolla fighters in Syria and Lebanon, but none of them are defending their Shia brothers in Pakistan.
Till some time ago, Iran's two major concerns were - Saddam Hussain and The Taliban. Now they both dont exist (at least the later is not the same as before).

Deltacamelately
04 Jun 14,, 11:54
SB,

The good Capt has answered most of your questions specifically in post no. 38. Add to that, Iran has never considered Pakistan as an equal or as a middle east power, inspite of all the hoopla that the Paks have made. For them the Paks are just a break away Indian territory not important enough for special Iranian attention. The are just content that there is no threat from the Paks. It's not their fight.

Also, their border with the Paks in Sistan-o-Baluchistan is predominantly inhabited by Sunni Balochs who have an antagonistic relationship with the Shia Hazaras of the Pakistani Baluchistan and a demonstrated favourable view of the PA. Iran is unlikely to provoke the PA in its sensitive back, just because India is interested.

They have rather stood with Pakistan in her past wars with India.

We need Chabahar not for putting boots in Afghanistan, nor because we require a staging ground. We need it for access into Afghanistan and the greater CAR. It's about money and fuel.

sated buddha
04 Jun 14,, 12:00
Also, their border with the Paks in Sistan-o-Baluchistan is predominantly inhabited by Sunni Balochs who have an antagonistic relationship with the Shia Hazaras of the Pakistani Baluchistan and a demonstrated favourable view of the PA. Iran is unlikely to provoke the PA in its sensitive back, just because India is interested.

Thanks Delta. I did not quite know or even appreciate this important snippet. In effect the tables turned regionally with respect to the sectarian majority of the national whole of each Islamic country respectively.

But weren't the PA killing the hazara? Don't they have a longstanding and ongoing fight against the state for Indpendence or something?

Deltacamelately
04 Jun 14,, 12:23
But weren't the PA killing the hazara? Don't they have a longstanding and ongoing fight against the state for Indpendence or something?
Exactly. And Iran does squat about that inspite of the Hazaras being Shia. They are more bothered about their Lebanese Shia friends instead and just don't want to give any incentives to the PA, by fiddling their Sunni Bloch population. They also keep a wary eye on the Saudis and are very much aware of Pakistan's love affair with the KSA.

ambidex
04 Jun 14,, 13:27
It's so damn obvious, but you refuse to see it for some reason.

Pakistan can't be focused on two borders.

Pakistani are far more clever than what you have constrained them to.

“A safe army is better than a safe border” DR. B.R.Ambedkar

Pakistan Army knows no one is going to march into Islamabad from both the borders.

They are killing Afghan leaders, American soldiers and attacking Indian missions without getting bogged down. If you still don't know their ways of war then you are missing the plot. They have been bleeding everyone with IEDs for many years. All they need is Amon Nitr (spellings) plus some liquid.

Strategic depth rather to do with geography or use of militants as proxies, is cheaper ways of doing strategic strikes.

India do not need to have numerical superiority to fight their type of war neither Afghans. But both see confronting Pakistan the orthodox/conventional way, which fails every time even before it starts.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jun 14,, 13:33
Col,


Then why he moved into self-exile in Turkey? Twice.So that he could avoid defeat.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jun 14,, 13:35
They are killing Afghan leaders, American soldiers and attacking Indian missions without getting bogged down. If you still don't know their ways of war then you are missing the plot. They have been bleeding everyone with IEDs for many years. All they need is Amon Nitr (spellings) plus some liquid.Training terrorists have a way of coming back to bite you. Ask the Israelis. The Hezbollah was their creation.

Hell, ask the Pakistanis, the TTP was their creation.

ambidex
04 Jun 14,, 13:51
Training terrorists have a way of coming back to bite you. Ask the Israelis. The Hezbollah was their creation.

Hell, ask the Pakistanis, the TTP was their creation.

That still doesn't stop PA doing strategic strikes in Afghanistan and India. Their way of war, the only method feasible to them, is working for them.

BTW My perception about TTP being anti Pakistan has changed after recent attack on Hamid Mir (Geo TV Journalist). Soon his brother blamed ISI for the attack, TTP took the responsibility.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jun 14,, 14:03
That still doesn't stop PA doing strategic strikes in Afghanistan and India. Their way of war, the only method feasible to them, is working for them.Is it working? Their strategic objectives are being reduced left, right, and centre. Kashmir is a closed door for them. The Afghan-Pakistani border is a criminal's dream and a police nightmare. They have no hope of dislodging Kabul and their best bet is to keep the ANA factionalized so that they don't gang up on their Taliban ... and the ANA has no qualms about starting a war against Pakistan.

And on top of all of that, Beijing told Pakistan to quiet down.


BTW My perception about TTP being anti Pakistan has changed after recent attack on Hamid Mir (Geo TV Journalist). Soon his brother blamed ISI for the attack, TTP took the responsibility.Just as the Hezbollah was doing the dirty work for the Israelis against FATAH. It took a couple of decades before FATAH and Hezbollah saw a common enemy ... but they're still shooting at each other.

ambidex
04 Jun 14,, 14:37
Kashmir is a closed door for them.

Soon US forces entered in Afghanistan the Kashmir was put on back burner. It will ignite again.


The Afghan-Pakistani border is a criminal's dream and a police nightmare.

Then you are not reading massive PA offences and targeted operations on these borders right, it is not to make these lands civilized or exert writ of the state (they know they never had, will never have) but to make these war lords work for them against Afghanistan. Criminal activity/smuggling support their local economy and the loses they incur have never found place in their ledgers.


They have no hope of dislodging Kabul and their best bet is to keep the ANA factionalized so that they don't gang up on their Taliban ... and the


They talk for Afghans. They call them freedom fighters who are fighting against all the foreign elements excluding Pakistanis. They use their religious vulnerabilities against Kafirs. Their Punjab base LeT, extension of PA, can hit Indian consulate near Iranian border. They are quite happy with it, anything more will be bonus they wouldn't antagonize to quench.


ANA has no qualms about starting a war against Pakistan.

Which ANA will lose. This is what I am talking (rather I took a clue from your previous assertion on another thread) that both India (numerically superior) and ANA (out numbered) has to stop contemplating fighting a conventional war with PA.


And on top of all of that, Beijing told Pakistan to quiet down.

Beijing is rather telling them clever ways of fighting the enemy, by not starting a war they will lose.


Just as the Hezbollah was doing the dirty work for the Israelis against FATAH. It took a couple of decades before FATAH and Hezbollah saw a common enemy ... but they're still shooting at each other.

I still believe all the armed insurgents good or bad for Pakistan are fungible commodities for PA. They enjoy massive support from their civilians so any faction hitting their cities doesn't embarrass them as an institution. This is what C.Christine Fair is saying in her book.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jun 14,, 15:29
Soon US forces entered in Afghanistan the Kashmir was put on back burner. It will ignite again.Re-igniting is a hell of a lot harder to igniting. India had near a decade to give everything the Kashmiris want. It's damned hard to ask a people to go back to the bad times when they just got good times.


Then you are not reading massive PA offences and targeted operations on these borders right, it is not to make these lands civilized or exert writ of the state (they know they never had, will never have) but to make these war lords work for them against Afghanistan. Criminal activity/smuggling support their local economy and the loses they incur have never found place in their ledgers.Oh I'm reading it. They're just mowing the lawn. Cut off the top and the rest are still growing. They need to do a Putin and put one of their own thugs into power. Not even close.


They talk for Afghans. They call them freedom fighters who are fighting against all the foreign elements excluding Pakistanis. They use their religious vulnerabilities against Kafirs. Their Punjab base LeT, extension of PA, can hit Indian consulate near Iranian border. They are quite happy with it, anything more will be bonus they wouldn't antagonize to quench.All I'm reading is death by annoyance. It's not even a death by a 1000 cuts. Whoopee doo. You blew up a consulate near Iran. As if that is going to make a difference in the strategic balance of things.


Which ANA will lose. This is what I am talking (rather I took a clue from your previous assertion on another thread) that both India (numerically superior) and ANA (out numbered) has to stop contemplating fighting a conventional war with PA.My point is that there are armies that are looking for a fight against Pakistan. It's a war Pakistan can win ... but not without losing a hell of a lot on the Indo-Pakistani border.


Beijing is rather telling them clever ways of fighting the enemy, by not starting a war they will lose.I was referring to Afghanistan. Islam takes a backseat to Chinese monetary interests.


I still believe all the armed insurgents good or bad for Pakistan are fungible commodities for PA. They enjoy massive support from their civilians so any faction hitting their cities doesn't embarrass them as an institution. This is what C.Christine Fair is saying in her book.That much I got but that is of little concern to me. They can kid themselves all they want but the reality on the ground dictates what they can do and what they cannot do.

Double Edge
04 Jun 14,, 16:20
BTW My perception about TTP being anti Pakistan has changed after recent attack on Hamid Mir (Geo TV Journalist). Soon his brother blamed ISI for the attack, TTP took the responsibility.
PA pushed the Mehsuds into North Waziristan. I don't know why you say TTP has changed their ways.


They talk for Afghans. They call them freedom fighters who are fighting against all the foreign elements excluding Pakistanis.
But once the US leaves where is the foreign element to fight ?

Double Edge
18 Aug 14,, 11:18
Christine has been doing the rounds and i found this interesting exchange (especially the Q&A) at the heritage foundation from a month ago. This isn't full on hard core Christine by herself but flanked by two US officials that served in policy as well as the military. They agree with her book but distance themselves from some of her more blunt recommendations at times in effect exercising a more moderating take.

They also don't buy the wholly cynical ie depressing take. Christine does offer a small ray of hope in the sense that the composition of the PA is changing as in they are recruiting from the provinces a good deal more than in the past. This changing makeup of the PA poses its own challenges to the PA but it could be a game changer in the years ahead.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjnrETPDuls

To the question why does the US keep supporting the PA (and presumably will continue to do so in the future) despite having proof that they acted against US interests
- the PA is the only thing that stands between the nukes and the militants
- the US already has a number of enemies in the region and adding another isn't going to help things
- the consequences of going after pakistan are pretty dark that going back to carrots becomes more attractive. The problem is what to do about it. Pakistan is too dangerous to fail.

This is what allows the PA to continue their policy with US help. No big revelation for India. Conditioning support based on results isn't very productive either. kerry-Lugar did not achieve positive results quite the opposite. So we are going to have to deal with this crap for a few decades more. Even if Congress prevents it the executive an issue a waiver and has done so even when sanctions were in effect on Pakistan, the first time where the US sanctioned pakistan was April '79 and then the soviets invaded and Reagan used his waiver.

What we can hope to change in the future is less involvement in Kashmir from the US because to do so would be for the US to aid & abet the PA's ideology. It's already happened, the late Holbrook was denied an Indian visa so his remit was just Af-Pak. And its the ideological component that the PA is tasked with defending in addition to geography. The ideology arguably being the more important. Convincing more people about this over the security seeking notion has been an uphill battle for India.

There was one very interesting question asked - whether in her research she ever discovered that the PA thought it could win a nuke war. She says they do not mention it ie warfighting isn't their goal. So when the tactial nuke development happened we could not figure out what the PA was upto, because it went against everything Stuart Slade as well as deterrence theory says.

The bit we missed is the tactical nukes have a compellence component to them. Compel who ? the US. Compel the US to intervene and in effect stop the war ergo defend Pakistan. Why ? because otherwise they could end up in the wrong hands and be used against west interests.

So the Indian side has to move faster than the US can get into theatre ie cold start or fait accompli. But this will drive a wedge between the US & India ie Pak win.

Will be interesting to see what Modi can bring to the table in the coming years. For now the spiel is lets fight poverty instead of each other.

antimony
19 Aug 14,, 01:32
The bit we missed is the tactical nukes have a compellence component to them. Compel who ? the US. Compel the US to intervene and in effect stop the war ergo defend Pakistan. Why ? because otherwise they could end up in the wrong hands and be used against west interests.

So the Indian side has to move faster than the US can get into theatre ie cold start or fait accompli. But this will drive a wedge between the US & India ie Pak win.

Will be interesting to see what Modi can bring to the table in the coming years. For now the spiel is lets fight poverty instead of each other.

Sounds like we are playing this as per somebody else's playbook. The Pakistani establishment shouts itself hoarse about how safe the nukes. are. I say lets take them at face value. If anything the Pakistani establishment loves (the generals, feudals, feudal politicians, feudal industrialist), is self preservation. So why should we assume that US has to intervene in everything?

S2
19 Aug 14,, 07:17
Lots of really fine points and a very good discussion.

"The bit we missed is the tactical nukes have a compellence component to them. Compel who ? the US. Compel the US to intervene and in effect stop the war ergo defend Pakistan. Why ? because otherwise they could end up in the wrong hands and be used against west interests.

So the Indian side has to move faster than the US can get into theatre ie cold start or fait accompli. But this will drive a wedge between the US & India ie Pak win."

Should India execute a rapid assault on Pakistan from the east and threaten a breakthrough either endangering Punjab or, worse, sever the south from north you'd be correct that it's not going to be about what the US can move in theatre. We wouldn't try.

We WILL put forth every effort to seek a cease-fire. The reason is simple and has only peripheral interest related to securing Pakistani nukes from terrorists. You are two nuclear-capable states and one of those two is about to be sundered. There is little question but that Pakistan would go postal.

The potential that a few hundred nukes might get lobbed from both sides at one another puts about 1.4 billion people at immediate risk.

You'll do at that point what you'll do but it won't be for lack of somebody, anybody trying to stop the unthinkable from possibly occurring. COLDSTART is as flat-out de-stabilizing as GSFG exercises straight out of their cantonment areas immediately into assault echelons back in the day.

No assembly of forces from the WARSAW PACT, to include their E. German hosts. No reserve call ups from the Soviet interior. No movement of active Soviet fronts out of western Russia.

All those act as indicators. They knew it. So did we.

Just GSFG and straight out of their barracks, though. That changes the picture. NATO's biggest nightmare and the most destabilizing element of our nuclear deterrent. It could happen so quick we'd lose coherence and see them on the Rhine before we knew what hit us.

Oh yeah. We assumed that scenario was full NBC all the way.

ambidex
19 Aug 14,, 09:21
Yeah he said that. Told me this when i joined this place.

I'm still waiting to see how the election results go.

Re: Bloody war coming in AF

'Take No Prisoners': Order in Afghanistan as Battle Gets Deadly (http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/take-no-prisoners-order-in-afghanistan-as-battle-gets-deadly-578001?pfrom=home-otherstories)

Tronic
19 Aug 14,, 11:12
Not entirely disagreeing with the gist of your post, but...


It seems that the British in their typically self-serving orientalist and pseudo-anthropological 'studies' invented out of thin air what they decided was a broadly unified ethnic group they called "Punjabis", who are a actually just a collection of sub-ethnic Indian "castes" and tribes that spoke several closely related dialects and inhabited the same region. Before the British rule in India, i have not found any mention of a "Punjabi people" or a "Punjabi nation" in any historical source. They have no unique history or civilization, no unique national symbols, flags, currency, dynasties etc etc Only a brief kingdom established by a Sikh in the 19th century that survived independently a few decades. The rest of this region's history is basically apart of wider Indian history but has the distinction of always being conquered and occupied by one foreign force or another, with its name and borders changing several times (the latest name "Punjab" is itself a foreign imposed name).

From what i understand, British orientalists drew-up the borders of Punjab and nurtured the establishment of a unified "Punjabi" ethnic group that never existed before among the peoples that lived in that region by giving them a shared sense of "provincial" identity, despite their "caste" and religious differences. Pseudo-anthropological 'studies' by British orientalists accompanied this by trying to inflate and patronize the ego's of many of these "caste" groups in Punjab by labelling them "martial groups" with the hidden intent to recruit large numbers of Indians into the British army to help suppress against any revolts against British rule and to use as front-line soldiers and cannon fodder in other parts of the World.

Not surprisingly Punjabi groups, particularly Sikh and Muslim ones that had suffered centuries of occupation and humiliations by foreign Muslim invaders and discrimination from "high caste" Hindus, were more gullible and easily seduced than other Indians were by British tongue-in-cheek designations of being "martial races" and so readily joined the British army in large numbers after they had been manipulated and their ego's inflated.

Punjabis share a commmon language, culture, heritage, music, folklore, festivals, etc which are unique only to Punjab and Punjabis. Ethnically, Punjabis are not one ethnic group but a composition of several distinct tribes and clans (Jatts, Gujjars, Kamboj, Rajputs, Labanas, Gakhars, Ahirs, Arains, etc.) Each of these clans is also found in neighbouring states and provinces; like the Jatts of Punjab are culturally very distinct from the Jats of Haryana although ethnically they are more or less the same. Same with the other clans.

It's true, Punjabis did not have a sense of cultural or ethno-nationalism until the British showed up. Regionally; Punjab's history before the Muslim invaders goes back to the Kuru Kingdom. The Pauravas came later and whose rulers Porushtma (Porus) and Ambhi (Taxiles) were defeated by Alexander. The Indo-Greek kingdoms left behind a mix of Hellenic, Sanskrit, Hindu and Buddhist architecture, symbols and coinage from the time. Indo-Scythians too left their mark and few Punjabi clans claim descent from Scythians; especially the Kamboj clan of Rajuwal who claim descent from the Indo-Scythian King Rajuvula. The various clans lay claim to a distinct history and lineage, and the Jatts even had their own distinct language, "Jatki", before they adopted Punjabi and assimilated into Punjab.


But ironically, this "martial race" designation is in contradiction to their own history as Punjab has a bad track record of regularly having been invaded, defeated and plundered by foreign armies, many of them quite small, and having almost never offered any successful resistance. Most of the time, Indians from Punjab didn't even resist at all and suffered massive casualties, particularly against Turks and Afghans.

The Sikh religion itself is a manifestation of the resistance against foreign armies. It's a military order (the Khalsa Panth) formed entirely as a reaction to the invaders.


I think this legacy and confusion still plays on the minds of Pakistan's army, which it inherited from British India days. This can be seen in their inability to find any historical local hero's of their own, because they have none. They are thus forced to produce weapons and name them after, ironically, foreign kings and warlords that attacked and looted their ancestors. But still in their own minds they (Punjabis) are a "martial race" stronger than other Indians for no other reason than because the British told them so!

There is a long list of historic Punjabi heroes. Pakistan's dilemma is it lays claim to a Mughal foreign heritage thus it has to erase and disown it's own local heroes (Punjabi Muslims such as Abdullah Bhatti who revolted against foreign Muslim rulers). Bring in the Sikhs, and you've got heroes ranging from Sikh women leading revolts against much larger armies (Mai Bhago - SikhiWiki, free Sikh encyclopedia. (http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Mai_Bhago)), pre-teen children choosing death over subjugation to foreign rulers (Supreme sacrifice - SikhiWiki, free Sikh encyclopedia. (http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Chotta_Sahibzade)), and even elderly warriors coming out of retirement to challenge foreign armies (Baba Deep Singh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Deep_Singh)).


Pakistanis/Punjabis whatever you want to call them seem to be trying to compensate for something they have historically never had, ie respect, security and "power".

Pakistanis are not synonymous with Punjabis. Indian Punjab has become the Punjabi cultural center while the Pakistani Punjabis chase after a delusional identity. Take this; Pakistani Punjab has declared it's official language to be Urdu and not Punjabi. The Pakistani Punjab legislative assembly and all government functions in Pakistani Punjab are handled in Urdu. Punjabi has no status in Pakistani Punjab. That is their identity crisis.

Double Edge
19 Aug 14,, 17:35
Re: Bloody war coming in AF

'Take No Prisoners': Order in Afghanistan as Battle Gets Deadly (http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/take-no-prisoners-order-in-afghanistan-as-battle-gets-deadly-578001?pfrom=home-otherstories)
Not just yet. There is an uptick in violence.

Still have to decide who won the elections, there are charges of vote rigging from both sides. Once settled i expect they will sign a SOFA.

antimony
19 Aug 14,, 18:24
One of the key takeaways from Christine Fair's talk ( and vindication of my own feelings on this), is the misguided nature of US policy on Iran. Iran could have been, if not an outright ally, at least more cordial in dealing with AFPak.

A more careful dealing with Iran might have provided the Us with a fallback option if the Pakistani arrangements did not work out and might also have provided dividends elsewhere.

1980s
20 Aug 14,, 01:38
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjnrETPDuls

Good discussion overall, but what a chore it was listening to David Sedney. I have no idea who he is, altho he has an impressive resume. But what a bumbling buffoon he came across through much of that.


Punjabis share a commmon language, culture, heritage, music, folklore, festivals, etc which are unique only to Punjab and Punjabis.

Its language may be distinct, but it is hardly unique, about 2/3's of it the same as Hindi and Urdu from what a language teacher once told me (he taught Punjabi evening classes at a university). It has a distinct alphabet of its own, but that too is modelled on the style of other Indo-Aryan languages and from what i have read, was originally created exclusively for the Sikh religious text and was never accepted as the official alphabet of Punjabi language until the 1960s. Historically, Muslims and Hindus alike both rejected it. Hindus grudgingly accepted it in the 60s, Muslims never accepted it because it is "Sikh". For Hindus and Muslims, who made-up over 80% of the Punjab population before 1947, Punjabi was considered a dialect rather than a language in its own right. If I am not mistaken this is still a common attitude in both countries today despite the Indian government's eventual recognition of Punjabi as an official language. Also, i understand that historically Punjabi was actually a collection of several closely related dialects with a limited literary tradition. Once again, it wasnt until after the British conquest that these dialects were eventually classified together and labelled as a single language, ie Punjabi.

The language issue alone is a good example of what i was talking about in my older post; that Punjabis are historically not a nation, not even a people with a sense of common ethnicity, despite their racial, linguistic and cultural commonalities. They are a collection of native communities in northwest India that were administratively brought together and defined as Punjabis by the British for their own administrative ease and convenience in how they wanted to define and rule their Indian colony.

This is not a unique situation to India, the British (and others) did this people-inventing (sometimes constructing, other times deconstructing) across much of Africa too, deciding "ethnic groups" where previously such identities or divisions were either not perceived in that way by the natives themselves or just didnt exist.


Pakistanis are not synonymous with Punjabis. Indian Punjab has become the Punjabi cultural center while the Pakistani Punjabis chase after a delusional identity. Take this; Pakistani Punjab has declared it's official language to be Urdu and not Punjabi. The Pakistani Punjab legislative assembly and all government functions in Pakistani Punjab are handled in Urdu. Punjabi has no status in Pakistani Punjab. That is their identity crisis.

I have read that the British introduced Urdu as the administrative language during the "Raj". So Pakistan just inherited what the British had already introduced to them a century before. Like i mentioned earlier, Punjabi was considered a dialect by Muslims and Hindus. Historically it never had any use or function in political or administrative affairs because Punjabis were never a nation and only have a limited literary tradition but no history of political or scientific use for their language.

So their present identity crisis is way beyond a language issue. It the result of not having a stable identity period, and one (perhaps even two) that has been imposed on them from top down by foreigners. Pakistani identity being ideological but having no actual roots or even logic obviously contributes most to the confusion. Similarly, being Punjabis appears to have little or no historical meaning either, especially for Muslims since that identity ties them to a Hindu or Sikh past they want to deny, while being Indian is obviously anathema to the Pakistani ideology. Thus the even more confused narrative of what it is and means to be Pakistani as time has gone by; from homeland for Indian Muslims to bastion of Islam and Islamic colonisation against the Indian infidel.

Anyway, i am not of course denying that today Punjabis are an ethnic group and have a sense of common cultural identity. Clearly they do see themselves today as their own ethno-cultural group, albeit with variations or competing narratives as to their history as you pointed out. But when you actually research their background and history, their identity doesnt go very far back and has quite a dubious origin, largely one made in British orientalism.


One of the key takeaways from Christine Fair's talk ( and vindication of my own feelings on this), is the misguided nature of US policy on Iran. Iran could have been, if not an outright ally, at least more cordial in dealing with AFPak.

A more careful dealing with Iran might have provided the Us with a fallback option if the Pakistani arrangements did not work out and might also have provided dividends elsewhere.

I think Fair was pretty ambitious to suggest that Iran could potentially have been persuaded to allow its territory to be used as a transport route to Afghanistan. The Khatami government would not have been able to make such a deal without the approval of Ayatollah Khamenei, who i think it is safe to say would have rejected any suggestion that US arms or personal could transit through Iran.

Iran anyway has had an opaque policy towards Afghanistan, although it is true that the Bush admin seriously undermined itself by acting belligerent towards Iran when the country had been offering to support the international mission there. As such, Iran has been praised for playing a constructive role with one hand while accused of sabotage with the other. But no one knows whether the contradictions in Iranian behavior is some kind of perverse strategic game or just a reflection of Iran’s incoherent policy towards Afghanistan.

antimony
20 Aug 14,, 02:23
I think Fair was pretty ambitious to suggest that Iran could potentially have been persuaded to allow its territory to be used as a transport route to Afghanistan. The Khatami government would not have been able to make such a deal without the approval of Ayatollah Khamenei, who i think it is safe to say would have rejected any suggestion that US arms or personal could transit through Iran.

Iran anyway has had an opaque policy towards Afghanistan, although it is true that the Bush admin seriously undermined itself by acting belligerent towards Iran when the country had been offering to support the international mission there. As such, Iran has been praised for playing a constructive role with one hand while accused of sabotage with the other. But no one knows whether the contradictions in Iranian behavior is some kind of perverse strategic game or just a reflection of Iran’s incoherent policy towards Afghanistan.

I do not share either her optimism of Iran or her pessimism for Pakistan, but you can't argue that a non-enemy Iran would have been in America's favour, in AfPak and elsewhere. If nothing else, it would have made the Pakistanis less belligerent, since now many over there feel that that all they need to do to make America cower is close the supply lines to AF.

Officer of Engineers
20 Aug 14,, 03:26
There was one very interesting question asked - whether in her research she ever discovered that the PA thought it could win a nuke war. She says they do not mention it ie warfighting isn't their goal. So when the tactial nuke development happened we could not figure out what the PA was upto, because it went against everything Stuart Slade as well as deterrence theory says.Why are you asking a civie about military policy?

Tronic
20 Aug 14,, 06:28
Its language may be distinct, but it is hardly unique, about 2/3's of it the same as Hindi and Urdu from what a language teacher once told me (he taught Punjabi evening classes at a university).

It's as unique a language as French and Spanish are to each other. Punjabi and Hindi/Urdu have their roots in Sanskrit as the European languages have their roots in Latin. They may share many words, but the grammar, the vocabulary and the link words are all distinct. This does not make them all mutually intelligible. Most Punjabis understand Hindi as not only is it compulsorily taught in schools but also because Bollywood culturally dominates all of South Asia and beyond.

Punjabi is changing and morphing due to a very strong Hindi cultural influence. "Buha" (door) has become "Darwajah", "Baari" (window) has become "Khidki", "Ganda" (onion) has become "Pyaaz", "Chetta" (to remember) has become "Yaad", etc, etc. My younger cousins speak a much more "Hindified" Punjabi than me. My generation's Punjabi is more "Hindified" than that of our grandparents. It's all about cultural influence and Hindi is dominating through Bollywood and television so I'm not surprised if a teacher told you 2/3rds of the words today are similar to Hindi or Urdu.



It has a distinct alphabet of its own, but that too is modelled on the style of other Indo-Aryan languages and from what i have read, was originally created exclusively for the Sikh religious text and was never accepted as the official alphabet of Punjabi language until the 1960s.

Gurmukhi is styled on the ancient Sarada script. The only other Indo-Aryan language using the Sarada script is Kashmiri, used by the Kashmiri pandits. Most other Indo-Aryan languages use the Devanagri script. Prior to Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi was used as the alphabet of writing Punjabi which was an Arabic script. Gurmukhi was designed by the Sikhs to reject Shahmukhi which was perceived as foreign. The Punjabi Muslims didn't reject the Arabic script for probably the same reasons the Persians didn't ditch their Arabic script for the Avestan or Pahlavi scripts or why the Muslim Javanese cultures continue to adopt the Arabic script. The Koran is in Arabic and hence considered a holy script by the Muslims.



Historically, Muslims and Hindus alike both rejected it. Hindus grudgingly accepted it in the 60s, Muslims never accepted it because it is "Sikh". For Hindus and Muslims, who made-up over 80% of the Punjab population before 1947, Punjabi was considered a dialect rather than a language in its own right. If I am not mistaken this is still a common attitude in both countries today despite the Indian government's eventual recognition of Punjabi as an official language.

Gurmukhi was never imposed on the Muslims. The Sikh Kingdom/Empire, however you like to call them, did not use Punjabi as their administrative language but Farsi. The reason being that the Sikhs ruled over not only Punjab but all of Kashmir and annexed Eastern parts of Afghanistan from the Durrani Afghans. There were more Pashtuns living under Sikh rule than there were living in Afghanistan. To keep such diverse and largely hostile subjects pacified, the Sikh rulers decided to continue to use Farsi as the administrative language even after the expulsion of the Muslim rulers.

The Hindus never rejected Gurmukhi. Many prominent authors writing in the Gurmukhi script in both the 19th century and early 20th century are Hindus. Why Punjabi was suppressed during the 1940s to 1960s by the Indian government was due to the rise of Sikh nationalism. The holiest Sikh shrines fell into the newly formed Muslim Pakistan as well as Lahore, which Sikhs viewed as their historical and cultural capitol. Moreover, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Multan had very significant Sikh populations which would have to be uprooted. So when the partition happened, the Sikhs argued that the partition was carried out without keeping the interests of the Sikhs at heart by any of the negotiating parties. So, the Sikhs argued for a state where the Sikhs would be majority and be able to have some autonomy to look after their own interests. The Sikh political parties decided to carry out this partition by arguing on linguistic lines. The former East Punjab comprised of territories of today's Indian Punjab, and the states of Haryana and Himachal. The people of Haryana and Himachal are largely Hindus and though ethnically related to Punjabis, they do not speak the Punjabi language. Arguing on partitioning the state on linguistic lines automatically made the Punjabi speaking Sikhs the majority in the Punjab while the non-Punjabi speaking Hindu areas of Punjab were carved out and became their own separate states. So the suppression of Punjabi from the late 1940s to 1960s was largely due to the political events of that time, not for any historic reasons.


Also, i understand that historically Punjabi was actually a collection of several closely related dialects with a limited literary tradition. Once again, it wasnt until after the British conquest that these dialects were eventually classified together and labelled as a single language, ie Punjabi.

Punjabi philosophical works written by Baba Farid date back to the 12th century. Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussein, Waris Shah, Damodar Das, Bhai Gurdas, Qadaryar, Bhai Nand Lal, Najabat, and the list is filled with many other historic Punjabi poets and writers. Successive Sikh gurus further contributed to developing Punjabi literature and the Punjabi language, and Gurmukhi was developed in the 16th century, which they used to compile the Sikh holy book. With the introduction of the printing press in Punjab, Punjabi literature using the Gurmukhi font developed further and many Punjabi authors such as Dhani Ram, Mohan Singh, Puran Singh, Kahn Singh Nabha, Nanak Singh, Kripa Sagar, etc rose to prominence.

Moreover, the Punjabi dialects do not translate into the writing form, it is mainly a difference in how we pronounce some words. The main Punjabi dialects are Malwi, Majhi, Doabi, Bagri, Lehndi, Bhawalpuri but the only thing which differs is the accent, not the writing style or the words.


The language issue alone is a good example of what i was talking about in my older post; that Punjabis are historically not a nation, not even a people with a sense of common ethnicity, despite their racial, linguistic and cultural commonalities. They are a collection of native communities in northwest India that were administratively brought together and defined as Punjabis by the British for their own administrative ease and convenience in how they wanted to define and rule their Indian colony.

The Sikhs view themselves as a distinct ethno-religious nation. Moreover, they view themselves as the harbingers and guardians of Punjabi heritage and Punjabi culture. Though this heritage and culture is deeply tied in with the Sikh religion. This identity precedes the British by about 4 centuries. The Sikhs, before they united together to form the Sikh Confederacy, were smaller military bands (called 'Jathas') which fought each other for territory and power but quickly banded together against any foreign invaders wading through Punjab. So from that perspective, the Sikhs definitely viewed themselves as one nation, which happened to be Punjabi. Never actually thought about this before, but I agree with you; the Punjabi identity itself is historically not a nation.



I have read that the British introduced Urdu as the administrative language during the "Raj". So Pakistan just inherited what the British had already introduced to them a century before. Like i mentioned earlier, Punjabi was considered a dialect by Muslims and Hindus. Historically it never had any use or function in political or administrative affairs because Punjabis were never a nation and only have a limited literary tradition but no history of political or scientific use for their language.

So their present identity crisis is way beyond a language issue. It the result of not having a stable identity period, and one (perhaps even two) that has been imposed on them from top down by foreigners. Pakistani identity being ideological but having no actual roots or even logic obviously contributes most to the confusion. Similarly, being Punjabis appears to have little or no historical meaning either, especially for Muslims since that identity ties them to a Hindu or Sikh past they want to deny, while being Indian is obviously anathema to the Pakistani ideology. Thus the even more confused narrative of what it is and means to be Pakistani as time has gone by; from homeland for Indian Muslims to bastion of Islam and Islamic colonization against the Indian infidel.

Makes sense.



Anyway, i am not of course denying that today Punjabis are an ethnic group and have a sense of common cultural identity. Clearly they do see themselves today as their own ethno-cultural group, albeit with variations or competing narratives as to their history as you pointed out. But when you actually research their background and history, their identity doesnt go very far back and has quite a dubious origin, largely one made in British orientalism.

I disagree that Punjabi identity was one constructed by the British. If anything, the Sikhs were the first ones to unify Punjab as a homegrown entity, and naturally, see themselves as the harbingers and guardians of the Punjabi identity. This identity is tied in with both religion and ethnicity. Sikhism is a Punjabi religion and the Sikh identity is largely a Punjabi identity. In terms of the religion itself, there are many non-Punjabi Sikh communities but they are not exactly seen as mainstream until and unless they adopt the Punjabi language, the Punjabi dress, and the Punjabi culture. So in that sense, "Punjabi" may not be a historic nation, but "Sikh" is largely seen as synonymous with "Punjabi" (in India and around the world) and that is surely a nation, and it's an identity which traces back to the 15th century. 4 centuries before the British stepped foot in Punjab.

1980s
21 Aug 14,, 19:39
Gurmukhi is styled on the ancient Sarada script. The only other Indo-Aryan language using the Sarada script is Kashmiri, used by the Kashmiri pandits. Most other Indo-Aryan languages use the Devanagri script. Prior to Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi was used as the alphabet of writing Punjabi which was an Arabic script. Gurmukhi was designed by the Sikhs to reject Shahmukhi which was perceived as foreign. The Punjabi Muslims didn't reject the Arabic script for probably the same reasons the Persians didn't ditch their Arabic script for the Avestan or Pahlavi scripts or why the Muslim Javanese cultures continue to adopt the Arabic script. The Koran is in Arabic and hence considered a holy script by the Muslims.

What you call 'Shahmukhi' is a term coined within the past 20 years or so by a Pakistani organisation called the 'Academy of the Punjab in North America' if i am not mistaken. From what i understand, the name was coined in honor of a poet called Waris Shah for his contribution in the 18th century to the literature of what is now called Punjabi language. However, the alphabet itself is identical to the Urdu alphabet, which in turn is based on an old fashioned Persianized Arabic alphabet called nastaligh.

I have seen this myth of a 'Shahmukhi' alphabet parroted around occasionally. But on actual investigation, 'Shahmukhi' doesnt exist, it’s the Urdu alphabet. Thanks to the rise of things like wikipedia 'Shahmukhi' has also now been erroneously linked to the Persian meaning of the word 'Shah' (King) rather than the later Indian use of this word which seems to have been an honorific or family name used across South Asia (in this case, a poet called Waris Shah).


Gurmukhi was never imposed on the Muslims. The Sikh Kingdom/Empire, however you like to call them, did not use Punjabi as their administrative language but Farsi. The reason being that the Sikhs ruled over not only Punjab but all of Kashmir and annexed Eastern parts of Afghanistan from the Durrani Afghans. There were more Pashtuns living under Sikh rule than there were living in Afghanistan. To keep such diverse and largely hostile subjects pacified, the Sikh rulers decided to continue to use Farsi as the administrative language even after the expulsion of the Muslim rulers.

Tronic, you appear to be presenting to me a revisionist narrative of history of the same kind that Christine Fair has exposed the Pakistanis for. Let me give you some questions and points to think about and look into for yourself.

1) Just out of curiosity, how do you know that more Afghans lived under Sikh rule than in Afghanistan itself? What evidence is there for this? What does that even have to do with anything relating to our debate?

2) Sikhs filled a power vacuum and on doing so inherited the structure of a bureaucratic machinery and tradition that had already been put in place across northern India hundreds of years earlier. For whatever reasons, this bureaucracy had been using Persian as the language of administration for centuries. The Sikh kingdom obviously retained this because there was no alternative and no tradition or precedent in their own language.

3) The indigenous population of this kingdom was far larger than the non-Indian one, and presumably most of the Muslim subjects would have been Punjabi-speaking communities. So what sense would it have made to appease the minority Afghans by retaining Persian for administration when these Afghans were not even Persian-speaking and the majority of the population regardless of religious belief would have been all linguistically and culturally related to their Sikh rulers?

4) The above again goes back to my earlier point that Punjabis are not a nation and had no sense of a common national identity or even common ethnicity until the British period during which such notions were introduced. They had no history or tradition of statehood, administration, politics, law etc of their own and in their own language. As such, the bureaucratic machinery already in place was retained. This is not unusual in history.

Continuing to use Persian as their administrative language out of some sense of cosmopolitanism or in some hope of either appeasing or pacifying Afghans under their rule might sound like a good theory or explanation to you as to why they didnt switch to using Punjabi as their court language, but is there any evidence of this? I think you will find the answer is "no", but if i am wrong then please share the evidence.

I will also point out that Sikhs invaded both Afghan towns and Afghan tribal land, the latter having no history of administration or sovereign rule but rather suzerainty and tribute extraction. Sikhs may have sought to rule these lands but could not control them, let alone administer them. The Afghan kingdom itself couldnt even control all their own tribes. So i dont think it would have mattered to either Sikhs or Afghans whatever language was used at court since Sikhs clearly werent in the business of appeasing Afghans and Afghans werent any more amenable to being ruled by Sikhs using Persian at their court than if Sikhs had used their own language. Afghans rejected them period and would have always done so, their court language was irrelevant, no to mention that few of those tribal Afghans would have understood Persian anyway.


The Hindus never rejected Gurmukhi. Many prominent authors writing in the Gurmukhi script in both the 19th century and early 20th century are Hindus. Why Punjabi was suppressed during the 1940s to 1960s by the Indian government was due to the rise of Sikh nationalism. The holiest Sikh shrines fell into the newly formed Muslim Pakistan as well as Lahore, which Sikhs viewed as their historical and cultural capitol. Moreover, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Multan had very significant Sikh populations which would have to be uprooted. So when the partition happened, the Sikhs argued that the partition was carried out without keeping the interests of the Sikhs at heart by any of the negotiating parties. So, the Sikhs argued for a state where the Sikhs would be majority and be able to have some autonomy to look after their own interests. The Sikh political parties decided to carry out this partition by arguing on linguistic lines. The former East Punjab comprised of territories of today's Indian Punjab, and the states of Haryana and Himachal. The people of Haryana and Himachal are largely Hindus and though ethnically related to Punjabis, they do not speak the Punjabi language. Arguing on partitioning the state on linguistic lines automatically made the Punjabi speaking Sikhs the majority in the Punjab while the non-Punjabi speaking Hindu areas of Punjab were carved out and became their own separate states. So the suppression of Punjabi from the late 1940s to 1960s was largely due to the political events of that time, not for any historic reasons.

I have to once again question your history, because it sounds very revisionist to me. I can debate this subject with you because for a long time self-determination movements have been an interest of mine, and Sikhs are one of the cases i have studied. I suggest you look into the Hindu response to the language issue in the 1951 and 1961 Indian censuses and the reasoning behind their dissociation from Punjabi at the time, particularly if written in the Sikh alphabet. You should also look into the uses and perceptions of Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi languages during the British era because this is the context in which you will find the origins of the development of a “Punjabi people” but the subsequent confusions and disagreements over its identity (including language and the prejudices against their own language), history and eventually its future.


Punjabi philosophical works written by Baba Farid date back to the 12th century. Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussein, Waris Shah, Damodar Das, Bhai Gurdas, Qadaryar, Bhai Nand Lal, Najabat, and the list is filled with many other historic Punjabi poets and writers. Successive Sikh gurus further contributed to developing Punjabi literature and the Punjabi language, and Gurmukhi was developed in the 16th century, which they used to compile the Sikh holy book. With the introduction of the printing press in Punjab, Punjabi literature using the Gurmukhi font developed further and many Punjabi authors such as Dhani Ram, Mohan Singh, Puran Singh, Kahn Singh Nabha, Nanak Singh, Kripa Sagar, etc rose to prominence.

Moreover, the Punjabi dialects do not translate into the writing form, it is mainly a difference in how we pronounce some words. The main Punjabi dialects are Malwi, Majhi, Doabi, Bagri, Lehndi, Bhawalpuri but the only thing which differs is the accent, not the writing style or the words.

The Sikhs view themselves as a distinct ethno-religious nation. Moreover, they view themselves as the harbingers and guardians of Punjabi heritage and Punjabi culture. Though this heritage and culture is deeply tied in with the Sikh religion. This identity precedes the British by about 4 centuries. The Sikhs, before they united together to form the Sikh Confederacy, were smaller military bands (called 'Jathas') which fought each other for territory and power but quickly banded together against any foreign invaders wading through Punjab. So from that perspective, the Sikhs definitely viewed themselves as one nation, which happened to be Punjabi. Never actually thought about this before, but I agree with you; the Punjabi identity itself is historically not a nation.

I said that historically the language had a limited literary tradition, not that it was non-existent. Sikh history is irrelevant to the discussion because that is a history and identity which the Muslim population doesnt consider to be its own, even though they share a common space, language, culture etc I was not arguing that there isnt a Sikh identity prior to the British empire, but that there wasnt a common Punjabi one.


I disagree that Punjabi identity was one constructed by the British. If anything, the Sikhs were the first ones to unify Punjab as a homegrown entity, and naturally, see themselves as the harbingers and guardians of the Punjabi identity. This identity is tied in with both religion and ethnicity. Sikhism is a Punjabi religion and the Sikh identity is largely a Punjabi identity. In terms of the religion itself, there are many non-Punjabi Sikh communities but they are not exactly seen as mainstream until and unless they adopt the Punjabi language, the Punjabi dress, and the Punjabi culture. So in that sense, "Punjabi" may not be a historic nation, but "Sikh" is largely seen as synonymous with "Punjabi" (in India and around the world) and that is surely a nation, and it's an identity which traces back to the 15th century. 4 centuries before the British stepped foot in Punjab.

What you’re basically doing is taking Sikh history and Sikh perceptions of themselves and trying to call it "Punjabi" as if Sikh narratives and Sikh descriptions of what it means to be "Punjabi" are universally shared and accepted by the Muslim and Hindu populations. But that isnt the case at all, especially not with Muslims. They reject the Sikh perception of history and identity as their own and as universal to "Punjabis". To them it is just "Sikh" history, not something they care for or feel that they necessarily share with you. Their own history and perceptions of what their identity and culture is is quite different. And that again winds back to my initial post about the region lacking a commonly perceived identity/character of its own, especially a political and "ethnic" one.

Trying to conflate Sikh identity with "Punjabis" and superimpose Sikh perceptions, history and narratives as being universal to "Punjabis" i think just confirms how un-organic and constructed the “Punjabi people” actually are. Sikhs may have a common identity and history of 4 centuries, Punjabis however do not. The two histories and identities are not mutually exclusive, no matter how much some Sikhs try to attach themselves to the idea of a “Punjabi nation” and superimpose their narrative of their history onto the rest of the “Punjabis”. Fact is, in the historical record no “Punjabi people” existed until the British established its rule in northwest India, and Sikh perceptions of being Punjabi are not the same as Muslim or even Hindu ones.

Unlike Sikhs, the Muslim population of that region never produced their own polity or political aspirations until the 20th century. Before that, they were long subordinated to foreign rule like the rest of the population and apparently, content to live under and identify with those foreigners than aspire to rule themselves. This in no small part is probably due to the fact that a sense of common regional and ethnic identity just did not exist among them until the British arrival. Before that, society there was built and identified on "caste" affiliations and religious differences, despite the cultural, racial and linguistic commonalities of the population.

As for Sikhism being a "Punjabi religion", as in, something inherently tied in with how you might conceive of what "Punjab" means, you should read Oberoi's 'Construction of Religious Boundaries'. You will find that British orientalism has had as big an impact on how Sikhism is understood (or misunderstood) today as it had on nurturing concepts like distinguishable regional/provincial "ethnic groups" modelled on European lines whereas previously no such concept had existed among the Indians before in their own native tradition and society.

Officer of Engineers
24 Aug 14,, 04:07
There was one very interesting question asked - whether in her research she ever discovered that the PA thought it could win a nuke war. She says they do not mention it ie warfighting isn't their goal. So when the tactial nuke development happened we could not figure out what the PA was upto, because it went against everything Stuart Slade as well as deterrence theory says.DE, here's the point you're missing. Tac nukes are under the command of Colonels. Are you telling me that Christine has uncover evidence that the Pakistanis have issue released authority to Colonels?

notorious_eagle
24 Aug 14,, 17:09
DE, here's the point you're missing. Tac nukes are under the command of Colonels. Are you telling me that Christine has uncover evidence that the Pakistanis have issue released authority to Colonels?

Sir

That is not happening

antimony
25 Aug 14,, 07:27
DE, here's the point you're missing. Tac nukes are under the command of Colonels. Are you telling me that Christine has uncover evidence that the Pakistanis have issue released authority to Colonels?

I thought it very clearly means that they are not thinking about nuclear warfighting at all; they are really that concerned about a flaring nuclear scenario, regardless of what theyn tell the world.

Officer of Engineers
26 Aug 14,, 14:20
Then they are not tac nukes. They are strategic nukes placed on short range missiles. Frankly, I believe the original intent. An 8 missile conventional barrage which makes more sense, delivering equivalent damage and without the Colonel having to beg Islamabad for release authority. By the time he gets it, the battle picture would have changed.

For use as tac nukes, the Colonel needs that permission now so that he can start training and being qualified (extremely doubtful since even the crews are not qualified but only familiarized) for weapons release.

Double Edge
26 Aug 14,, 23:06
Good discussion overall, but what a chore it was listening to David Sedney. I have no idea who he is, altho he has an impressive resume. But what a bumbling buffoon he came across through much of that.
But he was the one who answered the retired Indian admiral who asked why was Indian advice on the matter taken so lightly. Now other policy wonks might have put it better but i doubt the substance would be different.


I think Fair was pretty ambitious to suggest that Iran could potentially have been persuaded to allow its territory to be used as a transport route to Afghanistan. The Khatami government would not have been able to make such a deal without the approval of Ayatollah Khamenei, who i think it is safe to say would have rejected any suggestion that US arms or personal could transit through Iran.
They were cooperative wrt to Afghanistan & Iraq.

A rapprochement between the US & Iran is ambitious i agree given each side is angling for leverage, the Ayatollahs statements wrt to increasing centrifuges ten fold at a hopeful point in the talks was unhelpful. But then that comment could be intended for another audience. Softening hardliners perhaps and trying to extract more concessions. The way of the bazaar.

But a 'meeting of minds' on mutual strategic interests would be a good start and might open the door to better relations further down the road. Iran could be a stable zone in a potentially increasingly unstable region.


Iran anyway has had an opaque policy towards Afghanistan, although it is true that the Bush admin seriously undermined itself by acting belligerent towards Iran when the country had been offering to support the international mission there.
And Iran's reward was to get lumped into the axis of evil which then gave the hardliners a boost.


As such, Iran has been praised for playing a constructive role with one hand while accused of sabotage with the other. But no one knows whether the contradictions in Iranian behavior is some kind of perverse strategic game or just a reflection of Iran’s incoherent policy towards Afghanistan.
Have wanted to comment on that underlined bit for a while. Given some of Dredd's posts on Iraq.

If Iran wanted to hurt the US in Iraq they could have done a lot more.

Whatever was done was on a tactical level vs other forces at play in interests of supporting the Shia in Iraq. At times they would be at cross purposes but this isn't unusual with govt agencies from the same country.

Double Edge
26 Aug 14,, 23:23
Why are you asking a civie about military policy?
or state policy for that matter. Why should the state dept change its behaviour because Christine has now written a book. Hopefully those that served in the field might be able to influence their thinking. Those that had to face the enemy themselves in the flesh.

Good you stopped by :)


DE, here's the point you're missing. Tac nukes are under the command of Colonels. Are you telling me that Christine has uncover evidence that the Pakistanis have issue released authority to Colonels?
Was thinking of SU & China '73.

Pakistan using the US as a component of their deterrence by compelling the US to intervene and force a cease fire. Whether that is the sole purpose of tac nukes i cannot say but it strikes me as an important factor. Tac nukes just do not make sense otherwise. This is from a thread here a couple of years ago. Why make them in the first place. No answer to that question.

No, she does not say she has the evidence. But i did hear her assert that the weapons are already assembled but not mated. I think you've said they're not even in an assembled form.

The tac nukes are never going to be used. No warfighting. Does not matter how large an advantage India gains in the future, Pak deterrence will still hold. Important for peace on the sub-continent, bad news is India has to put up with the same crap for longer.

Officer of Engineers
27 Aug 14,, 00:30
No, she does not say she has the evidence. But i did hear her assert that the weapons are already assembled but not mated. I think you've said they're not even in an assembled form.I tried to follow her links and reasoning but she fell into the same trap non-military people always do. They assumed Pakistani nuclear weapons technology is more advance than it has been demonstrated.

The key piece of evidence is the NASR missile with its claim of variable yield of Pu warhead. That alone made my head hurt more than it already does.


The tac nukes are never going to be used. No warfighting. Does not matter how large an advantage India gains in the future, Pak deterrence will still hold. Important for peace on the sub-continent, bad news is India has to put up with the same crap for longer.Or that they don't exist. For over 30 years, we assumed the Chinese had them. They didn't. We said the same for Israel. They also didn't.

The reasoning is very simple. You fight as you train and neither the Israelis, Pakistanis, Indians, nor the Chinese ever had to train to fight with tac nukes. Everybody else did, including the Canadians.

Double Edge
03 Sep 14,, 08:28
I tried to follow her links and reasoning but she fell into the same trap non-military people always do. They assumed Pakistani nuclear weapons technology is more advance than it has been demonstrated.

The key piece of evidence is the NASR missile with its claim of variable yield of Pu warhead. That alone made my head hurt more than it already does.

Or that they don't exist. For over 30 years, we assumed the Chinese had them. They didn't. We said the same for Israel. They also didn't.
The non-military people also make policy and execute it. So if they believe it then all is good.

It's not necessary to have working nukes. Just to be credible and most important to continue to maintain that credibility with Delhi & Washington. China got lucky in '73, Pakistan cannot afford that luxury. But China showed its a working model.

This has already been tested three times. '99,'01 & '08. Indian never breached the border. You said there was no way either could have used nukes because they just were not ready at the time.

But the net result was to check India as if they did exist. Magic.

And i have to believe the US was instrumental here. As far as Pakistan goes, if they cross the line the US will not hold India back. So it also works for India to a certain extent as well.

Two years ago we questioned whether tac nukes existed as they made no sense. Now i think we have enough to believe that Pakistan is working on them. They have to keep their scientists gainfully employed. Nobody questions whether Pakistan is working on them or not, however their actual operational readiness and functioning is an open question. The next chapter in Pak nuke development will be about trying to get them on subs. Same thinking again. Keep up the credibility image. Pesky details of how to deploy or whether they actually work or the inherent contradictions in having mated nukes on subs can be ignored.

So i don't think about colonels getting orders, i don't even think of working nukes as neither country will get a chance to use any. After three tests so far deterrence is holding just like in the cold war. who'd have expected that ? but this border is stable so long as Pakistan keeps their end up.



The reasoning is very simple. You fight as you train and neither the Israelis, Pakistanis, Indians, nor the Chinese ever had to train to fight with tac nukes. Everybody else did, including the Canadians.
Let's hope it remains that way.

They say there is no way to prove deterrence works. All we have are a bunch of anecdotes.

Double Edge
31 Oct 14,, 13:48
Building on the compellence bit further and the below talk Moeed (25:00) illustrates its been an essential component since 1998.

What happens in the event of an attack on India and its traced back to Pakistan. How do things play out. How to think about this.

India must be bold is the refrain otherwise the score will be 3-0. India must do something.

Whenever i question what the objectives to be attained i never get a proper answer. Presumably the idea is do something so they don't do it again. A punitive expedition. Fine. Paks view a ground assault as more destabilising than an air strike. Whereas its perceived the other way around in India.

Three options
- do nothing, simplest of the lot but with high political cost. If one considers the INC won the general elections and the same coalition was voted back in Maha within a year of 26/11 this cost seems to have not been as high as anticipated.

- punitive strike where India prefers the third party to intevene after the strike and then settle.

- More aggressive action by India where the role of the third party is considerably more complicated and in reality very reduced.

How to de-escalate after. Crucial bit. Easier when there was no nuke overhang. India & Pakistan never really fought wars in the sense everything or lots is destroyed as happens in 'wars' elsewhere instead we fight 'gentlemanly wars'. Some bashing, then we call it a day.

We can't de-escalate ourselves unless a third party intervenes. If third party does not intervene then it will be lured by either with explicit signaling. Where both do not settle with each other but rather with the third party. Three cornered bargaining is the term Yusuf coins here.

It's like pre-independence with muslim league vs INC. The brits had to mediate. We've not got out of that mode yet. So third party mediation has played a role in previous crises.


http://vimeo.com/106007572

Here is a recap (http://poniforum.csis.org/blog/event-recap-nuclear-dynamics-and-crisis-management-in-south-asia) of the talk


Dr. Moeed Yusuf’s portion of the talk focused on the role of third parties in South Asian crisis management, particularly the United States. He argued that unlike traditional thinking about crisis management, which envisions third parties as exogenous to the crisis and emphasizes the bilateral exchange of actions between principal actors, past crises in South Asia have followed a model of three-cornered bargaining. In this model, the third party mediator is in fact endogenous to the crisis itself, in that all actions by the principal actors are aimed not only at each other but also at influencing the third party as well.

Dr. Yusuf’s presentation highlighted the key role that the United States has played in managing crises in South Asia in the past, as well as the importance of U.S. management of future crises. This is because the United States can not only offer carrots and sticks for de-escalation, but can also act as a face-saver to allow both parties to de-escalate without incurring severe reputational costs. Dr. Yusuf also noted that crisis behavior in South Asia has been remarkably stable over time, thus making him skeptical of commonly-repeated claims that India will not show its usual restraint towards Pakistan the next time that there is a crisis in South Asia.

commander
31 Oct 14,, 15:25
I don't really believe we would be at peace with Pakistan even in the next century. Unless Pakistan crumbles from within and even then there will be small time headaches which we can handle. The PA needs money and money can only come their way if they keep sparking tensions between both the countries and keep their citizens paranoid about an Indian invasion and take over of Pakistan.

Double Edge
31 Oct 14,, 16:32
The goal is 'normalisation'. Meaning they don't attack us any more.

A crumbling pakistan or afghanistan is a major threat.

Indian economy needs to grow to a point where the PA sees the need for better relations. Right now difference in economies is 8:1 what happens when it is 15:1.

commander
31 Oct 14,, 16:40
The goal is 'normalisation'. Meaning they don't attack us any more.

A crumbling pakistan or afghanistan is a major threat.

Indian economy needs to grow to a point where the PA sees the need for better relations. Right now difference in economies is 8:1 what happens when it is 15:1.

Normalisation is the closest thing to peace per se with Pakistan that we can try to get which also is very much not possible unless India develops rapidly both economically , militarily and politically. A crumbling Pakistan means we only have to deal with the jihadists and not an entity like ISI or PA , which are no different from AQ but with legitimate govt funding.

Double Edge
31 Oct 14,, 20:14
A crumbling Pakistan means a lot of potential immigrants. A PA that is incapable of controlling its borders. Its a nightmare scenario. Crazy as it sounds it would then be in our interest to prop them up.

Better a prosperous neighbour which has an interest in better relations.

it will take time, we are 67 years down since 47, how about another 30 more :)

commander
31 Oct 14,, 20:41
A crumbling Pakistan means a lot of potential immigrants. A PA that is incapable of controlling its borders. Its a nightmare scenario. Crazy as it sounds it would then be in our interest to prop them up.

Better a prosperous neighbour which has an interest in better relations.

it will take time, we are 67 years down since 47, how about another 30 more :)

Who is gonna take those immigrants in ? They would pretty much flee towards the west or go down the jihadist path. We can man our borders can't we. However prosperous they become their ultimate agenda is to disintegrate India and eat the bread crumbs while at it.

Officer of Engineers
01 Nov 14,, 03:30
Who is gonna take those immigrants in ? They would pretty much flee towards the west or go down the jihadist path. We can man our borders can't we. However prosperous they become their ultimate agenda is to disintegrate India and eat the bread crumbs while at it.Do you have a choice?

Double Edge
01 Nov 14,, 17:19
Dr Yusuf is projecting the Pakistani perspective onto India. For India, since 1963, it has never been a triangle - it has always been a triangular pyramid. The Pakistani perspective is two-dimensional: India, Pakistan and Superpower X (USSR in 1965 and 1971, USA in 1990 and 1999). The Indian perspective is be three-dimensional: On surface it is exactly like the Pakistani perspective, but there is always the ghost of China lurking in the background - dictating allocation of resources, operational timeline, etc.
No, he's not both parties work off the third party since 1998. Before 1998 it was different to some extent. Thinking in a bilateral way and the US being external is no longer valid.

Point is after '98 the pattern has been consistent and chances are it will hold into the future. There, now we have a framework to think about it.

If one party isn't going to de-escalate without the presence of a third party then what can India do ?

If the paks retaliate after the initial indian strike, it pushes up the reputational stakes for India meaning India won't settle unless its 2-1, 3-2, 5-4..

That is when India would like the US to intervene. Basically India needs the US to hold the paks back and force a settlement.


On the question of a counter-terrorism, you are going into the paralysis-though-over-analysis mode.
What ?