India’s Ajit Doval Doctrine and the Current Flash Point

India’s Ajit Doval Doctrine and the Current Flash Point

Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan

# Tags: Kashmir, India, Pakistan, India’s Ajeet Doval Doctrine, War, India’s Aggressive Design, Political De-stability


Research Framework

India’s military annexation of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and the unabated extreme inhuman brutalities meted out to Muslims of IOK by India’s military are now in the fourth month. All the signs of an unpredictable violent outburst of Kashmir flash point, and India’s threats to Pakistan, still prevail. In this seriously dangerous scenario it is essential to examine India’s military annexation of IOK and threats to Pakistan as parts of the bigger picture of India’s offensive designs, rather than separately. In that context, as a first step, it is worth clearly understanding India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval’s Doctrine of tackling Pakistan, upon the foundation of which the whole edifice of India’s offensive designs is structured. That clear understanding facilitates a realistic examination and analysis of the other apparently separate but complexly interlinked related factors, for the purpose of drawing the ultimate inferences.

The framework of research, therefore, includes following important aspects:-

  • Ajit Doval’s Doctrine of tackling Pakistan.
  • The linchpin of Ajit Doval Doctrine.
  • The overriding vulnerability of Pakistan exploited by Ajit Doval Doctrine.
  • Pakistan’s party leaderships which created that vulnerability, resulting in the consequential successes of Ajit Doval Doctrine.
  • The only failure of Ajit Doval Doctrine.
  • US and its allied Western Powers’ tacit support of India’s military annexation of IOK; and of the next probable Indian actions (the cases of US and EU Western Powers).
  • India’s declared objective(s) after military annexation of IOK.
  • Comparison of military capabilities India vs Pakistan.
  • The overriding vulnerability of India.
  • Critical Comparison of India’s and Pakistan’s Overriding Vulnerabilities.
  • The ultimate inferences.

Ajit Doval Doctrine of Tackling Pakistan

Ajit Doval Doctrine of tackling Pakistan can be authentically understood by watching and listening to Ajit Doval himself in his address of 2014, published by Talk 4 Pak video channel of 17 August 2016. There were seven noteworthy points in his address: (a) he clarified that there are three modes of tackling an enemy; i.e. defensive mode, defensive-offensive mode, and outright offensive mode; (b) he emphesised that India had to change from it’s the then prevalent defensive mode to defensive-offensive mode against Pakistan; (c) he clarified that in defensive-offensive mode India has to go to the place from where offence is coming ( a probable reference to surgical strikes); and that, nuclear threshold is a difficulty in the outright offensive mode but not in the defensive-offensive mode; (d) when India adopts a defensive-offensive mode, we will work on the vulnerabilities of Pakistan which may be in any aspect, economic, internal security, political, international isolation, defeating Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy, etc; Pakistan has more vulnerabilities than India he also mentioned the possibility of Pakistan losing Balochistan; when we want we can start war, throw a stone, have peace, or start talks; (e) there is no nuclear war in modern world, you know the tricks, we know the tricks; (f) he highlighted the successes of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against Pakistan Army, and claimed that Taliban (TTP) listen to India rather than Pakistan; (g) for resolving insurgency problem in India, he said that the terrorist organisations are to be smothered(finished by suffocating) by denying them funds, weapons, and manpower. (1)   

These clarifications/assertions of Ajit Doval Doctrine, explained by himself, are very important to be kept in mind while analysing Indian actions since last some years, and its further intentions.

A correct understanding of the successes and failures of Ajit Doval Doctrine is critically important to understand what India has done so far, and what could be its next move(s).

The Linchpin of Ajit Doval Doctrine

If the afore-mentioned seven main aspects of Ajit Doval Doctrine are carefully pondered upon it becomes evident that the aspect “we will work on the vulnerabilities of Pakistan which may be in any aspect, economic, internal security, political, international isolation, defeating Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy, etc; Pakistan has more vulnerabilities than India”, is the linchpin upon which the whole edifice of the Doctrine is structured. The reason is obvious serious exacerbation of Pakistan’s internal and international vulnerabilities will render Pakistan too weak to effectively oppose any offensive/dismemberment effort against it by India.

The Overriding Vulnerability of Pakistan Exploited by Ajit Doval Doctrine

Ajit Doval’s assertion, that Pakistan’s vulnerabilities are more than India’s, is statistically incorrect. However, one of the vulnerabilities of Pakistan is so overriding that its exploitation by the well-known cunning and guile of Hindu mind allowed India to turn the balance in its favour. That vulnerability, therefore, deserves proper, albeit brief, explanation.

That vulnerability is the fact that unlike India, after the brief initial period of about four or five years of Quaid-e-Azam and his colleague politicians, the political system of Pakistan was taken over by those political/religious/ethnic/tribal parties the majority of which had/still has family-hierarchical leadership system. These hierarchical leaderships mostly were/are of the power-wielding feudal lords/filthy-rich tycoons/religious and tribal overlords, who grabbed and hold the grip on their parties and on governmental affairs in the manner of Sicilian mafia. While making party/governmental decisions, therefore, their main focus remained on their own vested political and financial interests obviously at the cost of Pakistan’s national interests.

That plaguing political system consequentially ingrained in Pakistan’s political and societal texture the damaging aspects of lack of democratic public participation in national affairs, non-development of political leadership, poor governance, widespread corruption, lack of societal justice, lack of national coherence, and lack of industrial and economic development, etc thereby gradually degenerating our national power potential in the internal and external spheres. That evil process has been more marked in the last about a decade. That is why in that period there has been the marked increase in India’s anti-Pakistan aggressive activities in Pakistan’s internal affairs through terrorism, sabotage, and subversion; military violations of Kashmir Line of Control (LOC) and of the working boundary; as also in Pakistan’s external affairs, like India’s efforts to get certain Pakistani organisations and persons declared as terrorists and getting Pakistan ‘black-listed’ for terrorism through FATF.

Hence it will not be incorrect to acknowledge that, except for few, most of the dominating party leaderships in Pakistan ‘sold’ loyalty of Pakistan to get their vested interests served by India or any other foreign power. That has been the aspect through which India’s Ajit Doval Doctrine scored maximum successes in seriously damaging Pakistan’s national power potential.

Pakistan’s Party Leaderships Which Created that Vulnerability, Resulting in the Consequential Successes of Ajit Doval Doctrine. 

In that context a very brief mention of just few of those parties which have been taking their turns in federal and provincial governments should suffice.

Nawaz Sharif, the leader of family hierarchical party PML-N, always preferred to keep Indian PM Modi and the Indian opinion makers appeased, because of his family business interests in India particularly his ties with the Indian steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal, etc. For obtaining Indian cordiality, despite the rather hot anti-Pakistan rhetoric of Indian PM Modi, Nawaz Sharif invited PM Modi as an honoured guest in the marriage ceremony of his grand-daughter. Similarly Nawaz Sharif also invited Sajjan Jindal with two other persons for a meeting in his private residence in Murree. The fact that the meeting was surreptitious is reflected from the report that Indian External affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said he had “no information” on the meeting (2). To appease the Indians, Nawaz Sharif even went to the extent of expressing his non-belief in the Two Nation Theory based upon which Quaid-e-Azam had demanded from the British Empire and got the creation of Pakistan. The excerpts from the address of Quaid-e-Azam and that of Nawaz Sharif’s address to Indian audience, on this aspect, can be watched and heard from the available video (3).

Family hierarchical party PPP’s leader Asif Zardari has also followed the same track of keeping India and major world powers appeased to safeguard his hidden wealth in foreign countries, as also his political hold on Pakistan, at the cost of damaging Pakistan’s national interests. To quote just two examples; (a) he lobbied through Husain Haqqani to get US’ help to ‘do something’ to weaken Pakistan Army and hence enable him to have uncheckable ruler-ship domination in Pakistan (the infamous ‘Memo scandal’); and then as President of Pakistan, managed to scuttle court proceedings by arranging safe escape of Husain Haqqani from Pakistan; and (b) when India launched its ‘false flag Bombay operation’, and raised hue and cry in world forums blaming Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency ISI for terrorism, without even checking the realities, he immediately tried to appease India by ordering ISI to be placed under ministry of interior and Director General of ISI to go to India to appear before the Indian inquiry committee to answer the Indian charge of terrorism though he had to sheepishly take both of these orders back due to huge angry hue and cry of Pakistani masses.

The case of Altaf Husain of MQM is also well-known. Indian premier intelligence agency RAW used him to spread massive wave of terrorism in Karachi (the economic hub of Pakistan) to devastate Pakistan’s economy and to create serious political destabilisation in the country. For that, RAW provided him huge funds and weapons, as also terrorism training in India for Altaf Husain’s terrorist mafia. Now, Altaf Husian has the ‘safe sanctuary’ in UK under the ‘protective umbrella’ provided by the strong combination of UK’s premier external intelligence agency MI-6 and India’s RAW a protection which even the ‘supposedly’ high quality rule of law of UK cannot pierce through.

As for the family hierarchical party ANP, suffices it to mention that its current leader Asfandyar Wali’s grandfather was staunchly against creation of Pakistan, though he lived in and drew his livelihood from what became Pakistan due to the referendum vote of the people of that province (now named KP). His father Wali khan also lived in and earned his livelihood in KP, but was so much anti-Pakistan that he preferred his last medical treatment in India, and issued his will that after his death he should not be buried in the soil of Pakistan, so he is buried in Afghanistan.

The list is long, but just to mention only one more example is the family hierarchical party Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam Fazal group (JUI-F). This party is the post-partition outgrowth of Jamiat Ulma-e-Hind (JUH) which was established in India in 1919. JUH had opposed Quaid-e-Azam’s struggle for creation of Pakistan, and even recently have passed a resolution, as mentioned by its general secretary Mahmood Madni, that Kashmir is an integral part of India” and “accusing Pakistan of using Kashmiris as a shield(4).

In the current scenario, the character of JUI-F’s leader Fazal needs a very clear understanding in a bit of detail; because these days he is performing the lead role in the serious political destabilising move in Pakistan in the name of “Azadi March” which is clearly serving the linchpin objective of India’s anti-Pakistan Ajit Doval Doctrine.

Fazal’s extremely insatiable lust for serving his vested political, financial, and corruption interests by gaining the ‘goodwill’ of any ‘power’ inside or outside Pakistan is well-known. For that purpose brief mention of three examples should suffice:-

Firstly, JUI-F’s Fazal had played the ‘religious card’ in politics to give a ‘fatwa’ (directed against Benazir Bhutto) that female leadership is not allowed in Islam, but when Benazir allotted him financially lucrative permits for Diesel business he unabashedly reneged from that ‘fatwa’ and remained silent for ever (5),

Secondly, Fazal had organised and led anti-US protests in Pakistan, but as reported by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty “In November 2007, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a leading Islamist politician whose Jamiat Ulam-e Islam political party is publicly anti-Western, sought U.S. envoy’s Patterson’s backing for his bid to become prime minster” (6).

That fact has also been confirmed by the “Wiki-leaked” official classified cable dated 27 November 2007 of US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson. Some extracts of that cable are: (i)” Responding to an invitation, Ambassador met for lunch with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader Fazlur Rehman on November 20”; (ii) “Also attending the lunch were Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Senator Talha Mahmood, Senator Aza Swati and Malik Sikander Khan”; (iii) “Haideri said that all important parties in Pakistan had to get the approval of the USG. JUI-F wanted to be a major party and therefore wanted to be more engaged with the U.S. At one point in the conversation, Rehman asked the Ambassador if the USG would deal with him if he was elected as Prime Minister and cautioned the USG not to put all of its eggs in the basket of Benazir Bhutto”; (iv) “Rehman indicated his desire to travel to the U.S. and suggested he could lobby the Congress and American think tanks”; (v) “Fazlur enjoys being courted by both Musharraf and Bhutto and sees himself increasingly in the lucrative position of being kingmaker, if not the next Prime Minister”,——- “Even if JUI-F’s voter support drops, he has made it clear that, free and fair elections notwithstanding, his still significant number of votes are up for sale” (italics and font emboldening added for significance)(7).

Thirdly, recently there were social media reports showing a photo of Fazal having a meeting with India’s anti-Pakistan NSA Ajit Doval along-with the afore-mentioned Mahmood Madni the secretary general of India’s anti-Pakistan Jamiat Ulma-e-Hind (JUH) (8).

The credibility of this photo is enhanced because it was also shown and commented upon by the famous senior lawyer and former Law Minister of Pakistan Mr. Babar Awan in his Babar Awan Official YouTube channel (9) dated 21 October 2019. Obviously the anti-Pakistan Ajit Doval and the anti-Pakistan secretary general of India’s JUH were not discussing with Fazal any pro-Pakistan plan.

The foregoing elaboration, albeit very brief, of the ‘Pakistan-damaging’ actions and activities of these ‘power-wielding’ parties of Pakistan clearly reflect the long list of Ajit Doval Doctrine’s successes in weakening Pakistan, to make it easier for India to launch further major offensive against Pakistan.

The Only Failure of Ajit Doval Doctrine

However, there is only one aspect in which Ajit Doval Doctrine’s efforts have failed miserably i.e. in Ajit Doval’s words “in defensive-offensive mode India has to go to the place from where offence is coming ( a probable reference to surgical strikes)”. The credit for that Pakistani success goes to Pakistan Armed Forces and their intelligence agencies.

US and Its Allied Western Powers’ Tacit Support of India’s Military Annexation of IOK; and the Probable Next Indian Actions (The Cases of US and EU Western Powers)

During the last more than three months US and its allied Western powers the farcical claimants of being the protectors of human rights and human values have refused to budge even an inch to actually act against the widespread extreme inhuman atrocities meted out to Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian military; obviously their mere showing of concernonly reflects the element of hypocrisy in their national character.

As a matter of fact it is now becoming clear that India’s PM Modi had beforehand obtained the tacit approval of US and its allied Western Powers not only for the military annexation of Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK), but most probably also for its further offensive designs to militarily annex the Pakistani administered Kashmir (AJK) and Northern Area (Baltistan, Gilgit). This fact is fully supported by credible inferences drawn from certain horse’s mouthdocument, reports, and well-known facts.

There is no doubt that US and European Union (EU) are major trading partners of India which has a large economy, probably fourth after US, China and EU. However, this is not the main aspect of the current deep political attachmentwith India of US and its allied Western Powers of EU, particularly France, Germany and UK. In reality, the credible document and reports clearly show that US and these of its allied Western Powers are now in a quite advance stage of bolstering India’s power potential to the extent of applying, through India, a politico-economic stranglehold not only on China but also on Pakistan the only Muslim nuclear power country. A careful look on the map makes it very clear that India’s annexation of IOK, Pakistani administered AJK and Northern Area is the key to such a design. Such an eventuality will not only cut off Pakistan from China, completely scuttle the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but will also allow India to actualise its PM Modi’s announced threat to divert river waters of Pakistan flowing from Kashmir.

The Case of US

The background and further developments of this scheme of bolstering India’s power potential through establishment of US-India strategic relations were discussed in detail in the horse’s mouthdocument (10) dated May 2019 of the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) which is the strategic level study institute of US Army War College. The fact that the target of this scheme, right from the beginning, has been China (PRC) and Pakistan is abundantly evident from this document. Some of its extracts which testify this fact are (underlining added to highlight the target countries): (a) subsequently, the United States made a dramatic concession to India in the form of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement of 2008. Under the terms of the agreement, the United States lifted a raft of sanctions that it had imposed on India as a consequence of its nuclear tests in 1998 (p. viii); (b) Faced with the PRC’s role in Asia and beyond, the United States needs a viable strategic partner to balance the power of the PRC. Given India’s own misgivings about the PRC, it should serve as a natural partner (p. xv); (c) From a U.S. perspective, India’s geographical position bordering China and Pakistan and astride one of the busiest and most critical maritime shipping routes on earth, ————- and our self-evidently shared concerns about India’s neighbors all seem to make increased security cooperation a natural step for both countries. ————  After all, both countries depend largely on maritime trade for economic growth; both share concerns about Chinese intentions and hegemonic, long-term, global investments in strategic, raw materials; and both are deeply troubled by an unstable state exporter of terrorism with nuclear weapons on India’s contentious western borders (p. 1); and (d) Currently, military-to-military cooperation is planned by a bilateral military cooperation group, and each of the three primary services for both countries (Army, Navy, and Air Force) has an executive steering group (p. 16).

The Case of EU Western Powers

In the case of EU, in 2004 it had entered in a strategic partnership with India (11). However, subsequently US’ main EU allies particularly France, Germany and UK also followed this US’ scheme of bolstering India against China (thereby also entailing Pakistan which is China’s deeply intertwined geopolitical and geo-economic ally). That happened when these powers felt seriously threatened in geopolitical sphere due to China’s fast increasing economic (along with its political connotation) ingress in EU through Chinese projects like BRI, etc, causing divisiveness in EU’s unity.

Many reports about this aspect are available. However, the much credible and more comprehensive is the testimony,  given before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, by Philippe Le Corre, the nonresident senior fellow in the Europe and Asia Programs at the Carnegie Endowment. It has been published (12) on 09 May 2019. Some of its noteworthy extracts relating to this aspect are: (a) China’s annual FDI into the EU skyrocketed from $840 million in 2008 to $42 billion in 2017, covering a wide range of geographic areas and industrial sectors. The count about doubles when including Switzerland, a non-EU country”; (b) The BRI now counts new European signatories, including Italy, one of the EU’s founding members, which also became the first G7 nation to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with China in March 2019. The latter episode has provided an important test for the U.S.-Europe security relationship. Upon the urging of American diplomats not to take part in the BRI, Italy has ——- chosen to defy both the U.S. and EU strategic posture in its decision to adhere to the project”; (c) Italy became the first G7 country to formally endorse the BRI in March. Switzerland followed suit on April 29. They joined 22 other European countries who had already signed MoUs: Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine”; and (d) Beijing has been making political inroads in several European countries, with implications for the U.S., NATO, and cohesion on security issues. There are examples of the political influence attached to China’s economic presence” – (i) In  the case of EU’s attempt to issue a statement of support for freedom of navigation, in the Philippines’ case against China over the South China Sea, three EU member countries Greece, Hungary, and Croatia refused to sign onto this joint declaration, (ii) in 2017 Greece blocked an EU statement at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) condemning China’s human rights violations—the first time the EU failed to speak with one voice at the UNHRC, and (iii) Hungary similarly refused to sign an EU joint letter denouncing the reported torture of lawyers detained by Chinese authorities.

It was for these reasons that the official document dated 12 March 2019 of European Commission’s High Representative of The Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy declared, China’s economic power and political influence have grown with unprecedented scale and speed, reflecting its ambitions to become a leading global power”, and also acknowledged China as a a systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance(13). In that context, the same Commission in its official document titled “Elements for an EU Strategy on India, dated 21 November 2018, had already declared In this context, the EU has an interest in strengthening its political and economic ties, as well as security and defence policy cooperation with India, a heavyweight on the Asian continent and an emerging global power. A strong partnership with India is key for a balanced EU policy towards Asia as a whole(14).

India’s Declared Objective(s) After Military Annexation of IOK

India’s declared objectives, after its military annexation of IOK, have been covered in media reports. However, the more authentic official version has been given in the article titled India Reclaiming PoK via War or Diplomacypublished by Indian publication enterprise The Dispatch dated 19 September 2019, authored by Dr. D. K. Giri who is the Director, Schumacher Centre Delhi, India. He asserted, Both our ruling political leadership and military establishment are claiming that PoK is soon to be retrieved from Pakistani occupation. On Wednesday, the Indian Foreign Minister hinted that it is a matter of time for India to acquire physical possession of PoK. Not many days ago, Indian Army Chief said, “Army is ready to take PoK back from Pakistan. It is for the government to decide when”. The Defence Minister says, “If there will be any talk with Pakistan, it will only be about PoK, nothing else.” Finally, the policy statement on PoK came from the Home Minister in Parliament as he moved the J&K Reorganisation Bill. To a query from an MP, Amit Shah emphatically asserted, “When we talk of Kashmir, we invariably include PoK and Aksai Chin(15).

It should be noted that in its official version of PoK India includes Pakistani administered Kashmir (AJK) and Northern Area (Baltistan, Gilgit). And, Aksai Chin is the China-India disputed area of Ladakh region of the IOK State of Jammu and Kashmir.

As for India’s declared objective relating to Aksai Chin, it logically appears to be on low Indian priority, because of four reasons: (a) India had suffered serious military defeat by Chinese military in this region in 1962; (b) in an address in 2016 India’s NSA Ajit Doval had admitted that China’s Comprehensive National Power is about three times of that of India’s, and in the next 50 years it would be difficult for India to equal it unless China undergoes some major internal problems (16); (c) Aksai Chin is strategically important for China because China’s National Highway 219 connecting Xinjiang with Tibet runs through it, hence this being a priority area for China to vigorously defend; and (d) it is easily accessible to Chinese, but difficult for the Indians from across the Karakorams.

Very obviously, therefore, the priority objectives of India now are: breaking IOK Muslims’ will to resist Indian occupation; and military annexation of Pakistani administered AJK and Northern Area. For this latter objective, the most suitable timeframe for India would be when Pakistan may be suffering serious internal de-stability (through acts like  the one attempted by JUI-F Fazal’s reportedly foreign funded ‘march’ to, and ‘dharna’ in, Islamabad); and, when the Indian military is sure to have the superior military capability to undertake the offensive against Pakistan.

Comparison of Military Capabilities India vs Pakistan

Undoubtedly all three services of Indian military have clear numerical superiority over Pakistan military. However, Pakistan has military high-tech superiority over India, particularly in air force and missiles. Besides that, Indian military also reflects poor battle-worthiness while fighting a military force. These aspects were clearly highlighted during the 27th February India-Pakistan air battle. In which without suffering any loss of its own, Pakistan Air Force shot down the two intruding Indian jet fighters; and not only that, in the pressure of that air battle, as admitted by Indian Air Force Chief, Indian air defence missile system also shot down India’s own Mi-17 helicopter killing the six Indian Air Force personnel aboard (17).

Besides that, Pakistan Army being world renowned for its battle worthiness definitely has marked superiority over Indian Army. As for Indian military, reports of significantly low morale in the officers and men of Indian military have at times been published. In that context the editorial of Indian national daily The Statesman dated 31 December 2017 mentioned the details (18). And, that editorial was discussed again, to highlight the problem of low morale of Indian military’s officers and men, by former Lt. General Prakash Katoch of Special Forces Indian Army in his article titled ‘Armed Forces Suicides, Welfare and Morale’, published by Indian Defence Review (19) dated 6 January 2018.

There are reports that India is trying to alleviate its high-tech inferiority in air force and missiles by inducting 36 French Rafale fighter jets from France (20) by May 2020; and five regiments of S-400 missile air defence system from Russia (21) by October 2020. That means that even if these inductions are expedited, the complexities of training of operational and maintenance officers and crew, as also the development of the related logistics, will certainly require at least about six months for the 36 Rafale jet fighters and the S-400 air defence system to become battle-worthy in Indian military. That time span is therefore of high significance for obvious reasons for both India and Pakistan.

The Overriding Vulnerability of India

Since India’s serious offensive threats to Pakistan persist, proper understanding of this aspect is of high significance for Pakistan for planning any strategic riposte.

Out of the various oft-reported vulnerabilities of India, certainly its overriding vulnerability is its lack of internal national cohesion and consequential instability. According to an article published in Washington US-based Foreign Policy Journal there are In all, an estimated 30 armed insurgency movements are sweeping across the country, reflecting an acute sense of alienation on the part of the people involved. Broadly, these can be divided into movements for political rights (e.g. Assam, Kashmir and Khalistan [Punjab]), movements for social and economic justice (e.g. Maoist [Naxalite] and north-eastern states), and religious grounds (e.g. Laddakh). These causes overlap at times(22). For a better grasp of this problem, location of Indian states in the following map has to be kept in view.

(Indian States – Map: Courtesy Indian website Top Tour Guide (23)

Reports about the number and intensity of these insurgent movements in India vary. However, such variations notwithstanding, the fact of the seriousness of these threats to internal stability of India due to such insurgency movements is factual.

In that context, an informative study dated 15 February 2012 in the form of slide share has been published by Mr. Sardar Zafar Mamud Khan (24). His perception about these threats to internal stability of India is reflected in the following slide. Location of these threat areas in this slide should be pondered upon in conjunction with the location of Indian states in the above-given map.

(Courtesy – ‘Separatist Movements in India by Sardar Zafar Mahmud Khan, dated 15 February 2012). (25)

However for the purpose of having a more authentic version of these threats to India’s internal stability, it is better to have a grasp of it from the study by an Indian officer/scholar who has the requisite expertise. Such a study titled The Three Dangers to India(26) by the former Indian Army Cavalry officer, former editor of Indian Defence Review (IDR), and writer of books Bharat Verma, published in IDR Issue Vol 22.3 Jul-Sep2007 | Date : 18 Jun , 2014 is available.

In that study the author has presented those three dangers (threats areas) to India in the following map.

(Map showing three dangers to India)

He has started his paper with the remarks, Very few policy makers in India dare to acknowledge the danger to the nation’s territorial integrity. The security and integrity of the nation has become hostage to vote-bank politics. Democracy and more than eight percent economic growth will be of no avail if the country as such withers away. India is not only being frayed at its borders by insurgencies, but its very writ in the heartland is becoming increasingly questionable. He then proceeds to explain the dangers to the territorial integrity that bedevil the nation.

Referring to Danger-I, as shown his map, he mentions, New Delhi and the state capitals have almost ceded the governmental control over 40 percent of the Union’s territory to the Naxalites. The Naxals’ are aided and abetted by the crime mafia that runs its operations in the same corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, as well as Maoists of Nepal who in turn receive covert support from other powers engaged/ interested in destabilizing India.

The Danger-II area is that of IOK. About it he mentions that since independence it has been held primarily by Indian Army; despite the efforts of infiltrators backed by Pakistan Military-Intelligence. And, Islamabad could not win Kashmir only because the Indian Army held its ground. If the ghost force succeeds in making locals rise against the Army, it will be an unprecedented achievement for Islamabad.

About Danger-III, he asserts, Given a modicum of political will, Danger-I and II may still be manageable, however, Danger III to its territorial integrity in the Northeast may prove to be the most difficult. In fact the entire Northeast can easily be unhooked on multiple counts from the Union. First, these are low populated areas having contiguity with the most densely populated and demographically aggressive country in the world, i.e., Bangladesh.——- Second, the Northeast if not addressed appropriately could unhook from the Union before the Valley given the acute vulnerability of the Siliguri Corridor, which is merely 10 to 20 kilometer wide and 200 kilometers long. If this critical corridor is choked or subverted or severed by force, the Union of India will have to maintain the Northeast by air. With poor quality of governance for which the country is infamous, the local population may gravitate towards other regional powers. Third, with China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh becoming more strident, as evidenced by its recent stance on Tawang, the danger to the Siliguri Corridor stands enhanced. This corridor has been facing internal turmoil for many years. ————– the danger to the region is grave. Manipur is a stark indicator. The insurgents have nearly weaned the state from the Indian Union. The writ of the Indian Union has ceased to operate; insurgents, compelling people to turn to South Korean music and films, ban Hindi music and films.

In essence therefore, identification of the danger/threat areas for internal stability of India, as shown in the studies of Sardar Zafar Mehmud Khan (of 2012) and of Bharat Verma (of 2014), are the same. The difference is that the most threatened/dangerous area identified by Sardar Zafar was IOK area, and by Bharat Verma was the north-east area (the north-eastern states) particularly the Siliguri Corridor connecting this area with rest of India. Incidentally, both writers have not indicated Indian Punjab as the danger/threat area.

It is worth noting that an as recent a report as of 10 October 2019, published by Defence News India a dedicated Indian Defence News Portal, has also highlighted the critical significance of Siliguri Corridor. Important extracts of that report are:

(Map: Courtesy Defence News. in, dated 10 October 2019)

(a)The Siliguri corridor, a narrow passage to India’s eight north-eastern (NE) states, is a perennial threat to our security(Note. north-eastern states were seven, Sikkim was added to this group in 2002); (b) With plain terrain not interspersed with any natural or manmade obstacles, this patch makes defence a real challenge”; and (c) The threat to the Siliguri corridor (also known as Chicken’s Neck) is perennial as China has continued its overt road and airstrip construction activities on its side of the border. This could allow China to rapidly mobilise and deploy troops thereby threatening the Siliguri corridor. Furthermore, the deployment of artillery, missiles or anti-aircraft weaponry could easily jeopardise India’s efforts to resupply the region in time of war, especially considering that there is only a single railway line through the region to NE states(27).

Critical Comparison of India’s and Pakistan’s Overriding Vulnerabilities

In the case of India, the studies indicate three areas of potentially serious danger/threat of internal de-stability: (a) the north-eastern states, particularly the long but narrow Siligury Corridor which is the only connection between these states and mainland India. Indian officer/scholar Bharat Verma asserts that this danger area is most difficult to manage because, If this critical corridor is choked or subverted or severed by force, the Union of India will have to maintain the Northeast by air. With poor quality of governance for which the country is infamous, the local population may gravitate towards other regional powers. The Defence News India report also confirms that the plain nature of the terrain of this Corridor makes it difficult to defend, and China’s construction of road and airstrip across in the Chinese side renders this Corridor easy for interdiction; (b) the long chain of danger area (marked as Danger-I in Bharat Verma’s map) for internal de-stability, stretching from Bihar state in the north-east to Andhra Pradesh state in south-east of India; for which Bharat Verma has mentioned, India is not only being frayed at its borders by insurgencies, but its very writ in the heartland is becoming increasingly questionable. ————New Delhi and the state capitals have almost ceded the governmental control over 40 percent of the Union’s territory to the Naxalites; and (c) the IOK area which Bharat Verma considers to be manageable.

Thus the important points to note are: (a) most of the north-eastern states of India (also called NEI) are politically restive for long, as mentioned by Indian Army’s Colonel Kulbhushan Bhardwaj in his article published by The United Service Institution of India (April-June 2016), NEI has been witnessing insurgency since 1950s and there is no end in sight. Even though some states in the NEI have remained peaceful after ending insurgencies, overall the situation in the region is not conducive to peaceful living and corresponding prosperity(28). This situation already entails operational deployment of Indian Army formations. In case Chinese military merely deploys additional forces in its own territory across the Siligury Corridor, that action will require immediate deployment of India’s additional formations to defend the threat of closure/interdiction of the Corridor; (b) the internal de-stability danger/threat areas north-eastern states-Siligury Corridor- area stretching from Bihar state to Andhra Pradesh state almost make a long continuous north-south line in the eastern part of India. Most of these areas are already suffering from destabilising conditions, as mentioned by Bharat Verma. In the case of a ‘hot’ conflict between India and Pakistan, for obvious reasons, the destabilisation of this huge line of trouble is most likely to flare up to the extent where a significant number of India’s military formations would be ‘sucked in’ to control this huge area in the ‘backyard’ of the Indian military deployed along India’s western borders with Pakistan; thereby depleting the Indian military’s requisite force ratio; (c) though Indian government apparently feels that it would be able to crush IOK Muslims through continued military occupation and atrocities, yet the still continuing effort by the unarmed Kashmiris, all factions of whom are now united against Indian Army, clearly shows that at certain point of time they are likely to rise again to fight against India. Besides that, the current ‘mood’ of the majority of Sikhs in Indian Punjab and their Diaspora abroad all of whom still remember the 1984 massacre of Sikhs and desecration of their holy Golden Temple by Indian military would most probably at the least not act ‘pro-Indian Army’ in the case of a ‘hot’ India-Pakistan conflict. These scenarios will create very serious problems for Indian military, already suffering low requisite force ratio, to tackle this opposition amongst their midst along India’s western borders in a conflict with Pakistan military.

In the case of Pakistan, India’s efforts to destabilise Pakistan in Karachi and Sind through Indian proxy Altaf Husain MQM’s terrorist mafia has already been ‘cleaned off’; its efforts to destabilise Balochistan through India’s high ranking spy Kulbhushan Jadev’s terrorist network operating in Balochistan has been broken and brought under control, with large number of its recruited members already having surrendered and joined the normal life; another of its proxy terrorist mafia the TTP operating in KP province has also been defeated and driven out of Pakistan; and yet another of its effort in KP, i.e. PTM has been nipped in the bud. The only two of its destabilising efforts which remain are: its terrorist network operating from Afghanistan to launch terrorist actions mostly in Balochistan, and at times elsewhere; and the latest ‘dharna march’ of JUI-F’s Fazal. However, both are ‘losing steam’.     

On the balance, therefore, India suffers from much worrisome overriding internal de-stability problems, as compared to Pakistan. And, that is going to be an important factor in the India-Pakistan conflict.

The Ultimate Inferences

From the foregoing research-analysis following unmistakable ultimate inferences are drawn;-

India’s RSS/BJP government of Modi is clearly determined to continue crushing IOK Muslim’s will to resist; and then to proceed with the next phase of its objective to militarily annex Pakistani administered AJK and Northern Area (Baltistan, Gilgit), scuttle CPEC, and divert Pakistan’s river waters flowing from Kashmir, as announced by India’s senior central government ministers, Army commander, and PM Modi himself. By now it has also become very obvious that these objectives are also shared by US and its European allied powers as also Israel, i.e. applying through India a geopolitical-geoeconomic stranglehold not only on China but also on Pakistan which is the only Muslim nuclear power country.

Although any rash military aggression against Pakistan by India cannot be ruled out; yet it appears more probable that India will launch its mentioned next phase military aggression after alleviating its comparative inferiority in high-tech military technology, by inducting and operationalising the Rafale jet fighters and S-400 air defence missile system. That may take up to about six months to materialise.

India is more likely to utilise that intervening period to continue militarily browbeating IOK Muslims; and, in the words of Ajit Doval to work on the vulnerabilities of Pakistan which may be in any aspect, economic, internal security, political, international isolation, defeating Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy, etc. It is also more likely that US and its European allied powers as also Israel will overtly or covertly support India in worsening Pakistan’s vulnerabilities, so as to weaken Pakistan and thus seriously decreasing Pakistan’s capabilities to resist India’s next phase aggression.

As for the IOK Muslims, all through this prolonged period of India’s grave inhuman atrocities and curfew-lockdown, IOK Muslims have still been daringly attempting to launch protest demonstrations against India repeatedly. That ‘mood’ of IOK Muslims is noteworthy. The reasons are obvious: having suffered so badly torture, women’s rape, massive extra-judicial jailing and killings at the hands of Indian military forces for so many decades, the massive majority of IOK Muslim’s mindset has become free from the element of fear; and, very importantly, all of their factions have now first time become commitedly united against India. Very certainly, if supported financially and materially, they can successively fight to ultimately oust the Indian military occupation.

By now it has been proven without even a shade of doubt that Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts have not at all been able to compel the hypocritical claimants of being the protectors of human rights US, EU, UNSC, etc. to act against these grave violations of human rights of IOK Muslims by India. Pakistan government is therefore now bound to come to the aid to IOK Muslims financially and materially. This is not only a binding moral responsibility of Pakistan government, but it is also an injunction of Islam, upon the teachings (Quran and Sunnah) of which Constitution of Pakistan is based. The clear Commandment of Quran, applicable in this case is Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 75:-

(Translation) (Sahih International)

“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”(29).

It is the critical time now for Pakistan to act against India’s military annexation of IOK and further designs before India, which is already numerically superior in military, also enhances its military high-tech capabilities.

For Pakistan’s own immediate actions, the best way is to reverse applyon India India’s NSA Ajit Doval Doctrine to tackle Pakistan, in three modes:-

One, reverse applying Ajit Doval’s Doctrine on India, Pakistan should change from the defensive mode to defensive-offensive mode to go to the place from where offence is coming, i.e. IOK, not by surgical strikes or sending ‘Jehadi’ infiltrators, but by financially and materially supporting IOK Muslims. In fact Pakistan should go a step further and immediately get into the offensive-defensive mode. Even if half of the youth of the 80,00,000 IOK Muslims is thus enabled by Pakistan to take up the fight to get their internationally recognised right of self-determination, they can ultimately oust the Indian military from IOK.

Second, Pakistan must also immediately commence, in Ajit Doval’s words, to work on the vulnerabilities ofIndia, particularly for further worsening of India’s much more volatile eastern belt of internal de-stabilitystretching from north-east to south-east of India, so that Indian military formations are ‘sucked in’ towards eastern India, thereby significantly depleting India’s requisite force ratio along the border with Pakistan.

Third is the mode of war. It has to be understood that by military annexing IOK violating existing UNSC resolutions and international laws, and also publicly declaring its aggressive objectives in Pakistan, India has already placed Pakistan at war with India. Now for any appropriate response Pakistan does not have the requisite political power, either in the diplomatic sphere, or in the form of economic strength. The only option left for Pakistan can therefore be derived from two of the famous declarations/teachings of the great Chinese leader Chairman Mao Tse Tung. On 7 August 1927during an emergency meeting of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he emphesised Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun(30). And, in the sixth Plenary Session of CPC Mao Tse Tung declared We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun(31). Now that the war has been thrust on Pakistan by India, and there being no hope whatsoever of India rescinding its war actions and designs, Pakistan is left with no option but to launch its military, even in a limited war mode, to take India’s war effort back into India at a chosen time when India’s military high-tech is inferior, IOK Muslims have taken up their fight, and India’s military formations have been ‘sucked in’ towards India’s east to control the heightened internal de-stability, thereby significantly diluting Indian military’s requisite force ratio along Pakistan’s border. In such a military conflict the danger of escalation to nuclear conflict level cannot be ruled out. However for obvious reasons it will certainly be foolhardy if Pakistan does not immediately get into this mode. In any case the fact has already been established by scientists that human and material devastation of an India-Pakistan nuclear conflict will not only engulf the whole region but the entire world. It is only that eventuality when India-Pakistan conflict shows the signs of getting to the brink of nuclear conflict, that UNSC, US, EU, seeing the danger of their own lives, may be expected to intervene.












(11). European Commission’s High Representative of The Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy document “Elements for an EU Strategy on India, dated 21 November 2018 (hereinafter cited as Elements for an EU Strategy on India).



(14). Elements for an EU Strategy on India. op. cit.
















(30). Li, Gucheng, ed. (1995). A glossary of political terms of the People’s Republic of China (illustrated ed.). Chinese University Press. p. 325. ISBN 978-9622016156; cited by

(31). “Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung: Vol. II”.Marxists Internet Archive  

 (transcription by the Maoist Documentation Project). Retrieved 27 May 2013; Cited by

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Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman

Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan is a retired officer of Pakistan Army; a graduate of Command & Staff College and a post-graduate of National Defence College; with Command, General Staff, and rich battlefields experience of war; had to retire due to heart ailment; a post-retirement PhD from University of Peshawar, with the thesis relating to Afghanistan; a published free-lance research/analyst; chose to be a post-retirement teacher; lectured in Social Sciences in the universities of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi for about 11 years; and now house-bound due to health reason, retaining his passion for research/analysis.

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