Nawaz Sharif’s call for Pakistan to take the lead and withdraw troops from Siachen glacier is nothing more than a political statement— remember his feigning ignorance when battalion after battalion of Northern Light Infantry created massive intrusions astride Kargil and wily Musharraf insisted Nawaz was fully briefed? Then came Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani’s call to resolve the dispute saying his country follows “the doctrine of peaceful co-existence with its neighbours especially India”, which would put the slyest of foxes to shame. Surely Indians need no proof of ‘how peaceful’ Pakistan’s policy is towards India. Post this buttered preamble, Kayani called for demilitarisation of Siachen— a statement welcomed by India despite Pakistani foreign ministry rushing to add, “Let this be clear, there is no change in Pakistan's position on Siachen.”
Pakistani participants in Indian TV debates keep harping on “let us not look at the past”, but can we really ignore Pakistan’s hallmark deceits when our land strategy should be based on past lessons?
Notwithstanding Pakistani treachery on Kargil in 1999, a brief summary of the "Siachin dispute" beginning in the 1980s is necessary. Frankly, despite its assertions, Paistan is mainly concerned with the deployment of its troops on the massif of the Saltoro Range running west of the Siachin glacier. By a lucky chance, India discovered Pakistani troops camping west of the Saltoro Range in a bid to occupy it, acted with alacrity, and occupied the range in a daring helicopter operation in 1984. Pakistan rushed to gain control of the range, with both Indian and Pakistani forces arriving simultaneously at Gyong La. A flag meeting was held and an agreement reached that both parties withdraw. Indians did, but the Pakistanis re-enacted their back-stabbing legacy and occupied the pass in clear violation of the agreement made hours ago. That is the only significant foothold Pakistan has on the Saltoro Range, and any forward movement by them faces highly treacherous glaciated patches as well as our troops.
The second significant foothold was of Pakistan’s Qaid-e-Azam (renamed Bana Post after India snatched it from Pakistan) post on the highest point (over 22,143 feet) in the Northern portion of the Saltoro Range. Pakistan to date does not acknowledge the loss of this Qaid-e-Azam post. Reportedly, one Pakistani Army Captain was court-martialled for leaking the truth to the media, and their propaganda is that the post is still held by Pakistan.
Pakistan’s new found urgency to demilitarise Siachen needs to be viewed in following backdrop:
And now we come to the question of the 127 soldiers reportedly buried in an avalanche recently. Is the Pakistani military moved by this reported loss? What about the Kargil conflict when Pakistan ignored their own dead and many a Pakistani dead had to be buried by Indian troops— who did it with full honours in Muslim tradition. The Dawn, published in Karachi, brought out some 500 bodies of dead Northern Light Infantry soldiers being unceremoniously dumped in the dead of night at their next of kin’s doorstep. Don’t we remember Musharraf as President of Pakistan, telling international media, “There is not a single terrorist on Pakistani soil” and then again, “Even if the Kashmir issue is resolved, Jihad against India will continue”?
How do you trust such a country where the actual control is with the ISI-Military? Ironically, as India-Pakistan want to discuss Siachen, 40 terrorist training camps are running full swing in POK, details of which are with the Indian Parliament.
To our dewy-eyed journos going poetic about demilitarisation under hallucinations of white doves hovering atop Siachen glacier, it would be prudent to consider the following:
Lacks of strategic forethought and political unilateralism have been typical to India resulting in such mistakes as:
It is being bandied about that the army generals should be kept out and that the politicians should take the call on demiliarisation. Fair enough, that is the way it should be in a democracy. But unlike possible peace-prizes, real peace demands hard work. A smart leadership should avail of the best military advice it can get before making a decision. It would be prudent for the civilian leadership to ask the military for inputs after studying the following:
Additionally, India would do well not to look at Siachen in isolation but holistically review the entire Kashmir issue, the increasing combined threat from China-Pakistan, increasing radicalisation in Pakistan and Chinese aggressive posture, particularly in light of the continuing great game in the west, with US troops preparing to leave Afghanistan.
Without adequate thought, and foresight, signing on the dotted line of demilitarisation otherwise will amount to a tryst with deceit— another strategic blunder with grave consequences. The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) and posts held by both sides must be duly delineated on ground and map. Even with promised safeguards from Pakistan, given their history of deceit, it would be prudent to continue holding the Saltoro Ridge albeit thinly than what it is today with reciprocal reduction of troops on the Pakistani side. As part of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), dismantling of anti-terrorist infrastructure by Pakistan and bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to book should precede any peace talks.
Lt Gen Prakash C Katoch (Retd) is a Special Forces veteran of the Indian army who commanded the Siachen Brigade
Treachery is the only crime and folly that the Congress has not committed. Hopefully, someone will tell MMS that the warmth of Wagah candles can't melt even your earwax.
View the above youtube clip and hear the truth from the Pakistani side. The anchor admits that India will have no reason to believe Pakistani protestations that they will not ever attempt to reoccupy the glacier after the Kargil war.
The Pakistanis think that India will be stupid to trust them so why are we even thinking about it.
The only thing left to do is keep the area under continuous electronic surveillance while limiting the exposure of our troops to the cold.
You're absolutely right about Pakistan being a totally untrustworthy nation. We can do all the talking but we must keep our powder dry. Pakistan is able to recruit any number of young men willing to become cannon fodder because of their religion that promotes jihad. Hindu India does not have an equivalent to their savage scriptures but we have the brains to keep them at bay.
Why do we not have eyes in the sky like the US drones and let fly rockets on a regular basis just so that any stupid Pakistani regular will see the effect of being hit from the sky.
We should also involve our IT industry to develop a thousand technologies to combat the Pakistani people and not just the Paksitani army. We can use those desolate area within our borders to develop killer applications for safeguarding our borders.
I am not an informed techie so many of these things may already have been developed and activated. We should also develop remotly controlled night vision capability. Movement sensors are common place in the west and developing enhanced sensors must be child's play for our research institute which may also have commercial value in the future.
We have a technological advantage over Pakistan but not over China so our present advantage may not always stay in our favour. Will it be possible to have our heavy wepons or even medium guns fire everytime a movement is dioscovered along the border and directed to spots within Indian territory so that only anyone entering Indian space will face withering fire from what may well be robot soldiers.
And while on that subject why not develop robots that will stand and can be directed to return fire from a remote control point.
A factual report. Congrats to Gen Katoch. Hope the sponsors of '' Aman Ki Asha'' read this.Remember the old saying, the leopard never changes its spots. If one looks back on the last 60 years of Indo-Pak relations, it would be clear to an average man that Pakistani ruling establishment will always create problems for us. In collusion with its '' all-weather friend'' , Pakistan will not let us rest in peace.So never think of withdrawal. We have already surrendered enough to China and Pakistan and sacrificed thousands of precious lives since 1947. Let us hold on tightly to what we have got. Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it,to quote Edmund Burke.
Agreed. India needs to be careful because Pakistan's signature on any paper is not even worth a toilet paper as Pakistan, by design and purpose, is deceitful and fraudulent to the core.
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