Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WITH LIMITED MILITARY OPTIONS, WHAT CAN INDIA DO?



This article is written by a well known Pakistani economist cum journalist, Dr Farrukh Saleem. This article, which appeared in the Paksitani newspaper THE NEWS on Dec 15th is being reproduced in full. Permission to use this article has been granted by the author.

Dr. Saleem is the Executive Director of Centre & Research for Security Studies based out of Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD: On Dec 13, IAF jets violated Pak airspace twice. No accident it was. This violation must have been deliberately sanctioned by the leadership of the Indian National Congress, firstly, to send a message to the Indian voters and, secondly, to keep up the pressure on Pakistan to continue crackdown on Lashkar camps.

Post-Mumbai, the Great Game is in play in the Sub-continent. The US, India and Pakistan, the three state actors, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the only non-state actor, are all-out entangled to extricate their own brownie points.

The US has invested a colossal $170 billion in Afghanistan and thus would not let India distract Pakistan from the ‘war on terror’. Within India, Indian politicians, up for re-election in another four months, are in the game to pile up political mileage. India’s intelligence and physical security apparatus, having been severely criticised for its massive failure, is in the game to shift its own failures on to India’s western neighbour. Pakistan’s intelligence infrastructure, having failed to control non-state actors operating on Pakistani soil, is cracking down hard on its ex-proxies in order to avoid an international crisis.

India has neither economic nor political leverage over Pakistan and is thus using the Uncle Sam to pressurise Pakistan. India’s military options are limited. The Indian Army, with 1.3 million active service personnel, the third largest army on the face of the planet, has little or no supply of Guided Bomb Units (GBUs) or Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) and thus has little or no surgical strike capability. Indian Army’s Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers have a maximum range of 40 km and can fire 12 rockets in 44 seconds (these were used in the Kargil War and have since been inducted in large numbers).

The army is also said to possess 38 systems of BM-30 Tornado 300mm Soviet multiple rocket launchers with a firing range of 90 km (24 additional system are to be delivered by 2010).

Then there are PJ-10 supersonic ‘BrahMos’ (from Brahmaputra and Moskva river of Russia) cruise missiles with an operational range of 290 km (India has conducted at least nine test-firings and serial production began some two years ago). Pinakas, Tornados and BrahMos can be fired and may very well hit targets in Pakistan but all that in strategic terms will achieve little or next to nothing. And then, there’s always a possibility of antagonising the US if Pakistan begins to shift military assets deployed on the western front.

The Indian Navy with 55,000 active-duty personnel and 155 vessels is the 5th largest navy in the world. According to GlobalSecurity, “The Indian Navy is relatively well-armed among Indian Ocean navies, operating one aircraft carrier, over 40 surface combatants, and over a dozen submarines (INS Viraat is the only aircraft carrier in Asia operating jet fighters).” It operates eight destroyers, 14 frigates, 24 corvettes, 14 minesweepers and two missile boats.

The Indian Navy may indeed be capable of blockading the Karachi Port. But then, Nato requires some 300,000 gallons of fuel every day and 84 per cent of all containerised supplies to Nato in Afghanistan pass through the Karachi Port (the International Criminal Court at The Hague will soon include naval blockades into its list of acts of war).

Not to forget, that the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group, or ‘Rough Rider’, the Nimitz-class super carrier propelled by two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors is in the northern Arabian Sea.

The Indian Air Force (IAF), with 170,000 personnel and an active aircraft fleet of 1,353, is the 4th largest air force in the world (after the US, Russia and China). Its ground attack inventory includes MiGs, Jaguar IS and Jaguar IM. Its inventory of multi-role aircraft includes MiGs, Mirage and Sukhoi-30 MKI (Su-30 is one of the best air-superiority aircraft in the air today).

In effect, neither an army nor a naval action seems feasible. A limited air strike campaign may therefore be India’s only military option and that, too, shall be more symbolic than strategic (a few air strikes may be the only undertaking that would irritate the US the least).

At the political level things are a lot more serious as it now appears that the US and India are getting on to the same strategic platform. And that’s the stratagem that used to be referred to as the ‘doomsday scenario’ for Pakistan.

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The article ends. However, before everyone comes in with their views and comments, I will request that you also read up two very important articles that Dr. Farrukh Saleem wrote: THE INDIAN CHROMOSOME and WHY ARE JEWS SO POWERFUL?


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Carrying the thoughts of Dr Saleem forward, India has laser guided munitions for artillery supplied by Krasnopol. Both Krasnopol and Krasnopol-M are superior to the Copperhead in the areas of range, projectile weight, targets engaged, attack profile, and operational field handling. However, there is a 15% range difference (three kilometers) between the Krasnopol and the Krasnopol-M. The 40th Artillery Division, India's sole 'pure' artillery division, is deployed in the Northern Command and forms part of the 1 Strike Corps based in Ambala, not too far from the Pakistan border.


1. India planned to attack at terrorist camps surgically. With most of the camps emptied out, these strikes would have been only symbolic. The aggressive stance of Pranab Mukherjee and the submissive stance of Manmohan Singh is calibrated to fit the proverbial "bad cop good cop" game theorizing. Indian elections are due in 2009 and if the Congress party is not seen to do anything, then their election prospects will be "doomed". Notice, how AR Antulay keeps his job, just to pander to "vote bank politics"


2. India asked USA to get Pakistan's approval for the surgical strikes, so that Pakistan does not retaliate. It is precisely for this reason Adm. Mike Mullen went to Pakistan to ask Pakistan to lay low when India strikes at terrorist training camps of LeT and others in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and near Lahore. It seems the civilian government gave its nod for "limited" Indian attacks in POK but not in mainland Pakistan, which includes areas near Lahore.


3. Mike Mullen fails in this as COAS Kiyani made it clear that regardless of how the civilan government chooses to respond to the US request to allow Indian ’surgical strikes’, Pakistan Army will not accept any Indian intrusion. The scrambling of jets over Lahore and Islamabad was part of this and the armed forces are alert and ready to defend against any Indian action.

Kiyani is also said to have told US Michael Mullen that in event of any aggression from India, the US and NATO can ‘forget about’ using Pakistan territory to supply their forces in Afghanistan as all resources will be diverted to defending against India on the eastern border.

Mike Mullen tells India, he fails in his effort.

General Rtd. Aslam Baig has said that US General Mullen is pressing our authorities to allow India to hit certain targets, keeping silent and indifferent to the situation as they have been doing in case of US attacks, which he believes, will cool down India and diffuse tensions between the two countries.

“I don’t think that conscientious Pakistani nation and brave armed forces of Pakistan will accept such a situation. This will be shameful and render Pakistan submission to India,” the retired General said.

He called upon the rulers to explain their position in this regard. He said that the US was after ridiculing the sovereignty of Pakistan only to please India and Mullen had come with a dangerous message.

4. A chastened Pranab Mukherjee lashes out at US & UK for NOT doing enough. (meaning US & UK not getting Pakistan's permission to get bombed in POK). India has paid more than US$ 300 million just to get cluster bombs. What will it do with these bombs now?

With elections looming around the corner, and USA not getting the go ahead from Pakistan authorizing Indian strikes on terror camps, what next? Pranab Mukherjee is fast running out of options and his verbal threats are increasingly looking like posturing on empty.


USA TELLS INDIA TO SHOW RESTRAINT - WE HAVE PLANS TO CUT ISI'S WINGS:

In Jan 2009, two important events will take place. One will be that for the first time a civilian will be holding charge of ISI.

And second, ISI will at last (again), come under the Min of Interior.

It seems the Pak Army has given its consent for this to USA and USA has conveyed the same to India.

And in essence US has told India that taming the ISI is the big thing here and we have done that for you, so you "lay off" now.

In turn Pak Army will get serious military hardware, F-16 upgrades.

India, as usual, will come out of this "a sore loser".

Maybe our politician's stupor will be broken by:

a) Game changing event : Another terror attack in India or inside the USA

b) Indian military taking adventurous steps (Do you remember that at the height of operation Parakram, an Indian Army General in charge of one of the premier strike corps was removed, as US intel warned India that it has taken a menacing formation to launch attacks).

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do hope that some solution emerges out of all this.

SM

Anonymous said...

India will continue to play politics, Pakistan will continue to laugh and our Armed forces will be ruing the fact that they are not in charge of INDIA.

Anonymous said...

Your views though give new dimensions to my thinking, they are not backed by sufficient proof. They are based on too many assumptions & hypothesis, which makes it harder to believe. Can you please tell me what are the source of your information.

But I like your articles.
Anil kumar
Mumbai

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@Anil Kumar:

I am not able to understand what proofs do you want and for which of the items in the article. I am assuming that you are referring to Adm. Mullen's true reasons to visit Pakistan and asking them to lay low while India strikes at terror camps.

General Aslam Baig (retd) comments are telling.

Also see and understand the Indian posturing. It is mounting a severe diplomatic attack on Pakistan by calling 200 ambassadors. But this has to followed up by strong Indian response and I think, the Indian Army is ready - the political class is dithering, as usual.

Strikes were supposed to commence on Dec 26th, exactly one month after the Mumbai attacks - but one cannot fight wars with mere symbolism thrust by a political party to our Armed forces.

Two things can happen:

1. A game changer - another terror attack within India or USA

2. An adventurous Indian Army taking decisions

Anonymous said...

Dr. Saleem's hypothesis has a major flaw. Everything is contextualized keeping USA and its interests in mind.

Things have changed Dr Saleem. They have.

Anonymous said...

This comment comes, courtesy of renouned defence analyst, Prasun K Sengupta. You can access his blog at http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com

Dr. Farrukh's article was put forward to him and he gave the reply below. I am in no position to answer any questions based on this explanation (like types of LGB etc), but anybody with more questions can visit his blog and leave a comment in his latest article comment form and he will have a befitting reply to your queries.

-----------------------------------
Prasun K Sengupta
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The report in THE NEWS is erroneous on several counts, but the term surgical air strike refers to an air campaign with limited specific objectives that is not part of an all-out war on a sustained basis. Can such air strikes be mounted by the IAF? Definitely yes, and you don;t need precision-guided munitions (PGM) for this, even gravity bombs can be used for such strikes. But will they achieve anything? No, they will just be punitive, that's all. Now, talking about PGMs, India definitely has the upper hand as its inventory of LGBs, LGMs and PGMs using optronic target acquisition systems (like the Popeye-Lite) is much bigger than what the PAF has. I can perfectly understand why Pakistan's armed forces are on the edge and that is because, unlike its Indian counterparts, it does not have access to strategic surveillance/intelligence-gathering tools like overhead recce satellites or MALE UAVs. In terms of the air force, the IAF today, thanks to aerial refuelling capability, can activate a strike package deep within India's interior, with its final destination being a target deep inside Pakistan. And all this is done without giving any indication whatsoever of an impending air attack since PAF air defence/early warning radars cannot look deep within Indian airspace. Therefore, the IAF can launch an offensive air campaign with virtually no warning (leave alone 4 hours or 2 days as is being said in the media). The IAF has had enough time since November 26 to activate its already wargamed contingency strike plans and this is what is now giving the PAF endless headaches. Therefore, due to all of the above, the PAF is only engaging in second-guessing the IAF's intent and capabilities, and this is what we called 'estimates-based warfare', whereas the IAF, thanks to its superior early warning-cum-battlefield surveillance systems, is ideally placed to wage 'knowledge-based warfare'.
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Max said...

Asking Pakistan to allow Indian strikes in its territory (to appease Indian people); and Pakistan's civilian government allowed it? Wow, they are really a bunch of American puppets!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

When it comes to surgical operations, it is not just about punitive air strikes, which will not in any way decapitate the terrorists' ability to wage unconventional warfare. But, at the same time, there are several other options involving limited land warfare campaigns that are well below the nuclear threshold tolerance of Pakistan and which will have far more potency in terms of causing some shameful loss of Pakistani land territory while at the same time conferring vital tactical advantages to India. The options include limited land warfare campaigns to 'straighten' the LoC in areas like Chicken's Neck (which will directly threaten the Marala Headworks ahead of Mangla), Bugina Bulge, Neelam Valley and Haji Pir Pass. These onjectives can be secured with a high degree of success via short but intense AirLand campaigns since at the operational level, the Indian Army now scores over Pakistan after the restructuring (that began 2 years ago) of the Army's western, south-western and northern commands.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@Prasun:

Thanks for dropping in with your valued comments. Military hardware and capabilities - not exactly my strong points.

Hence comments from "experts" are always welcome.

Thanks.

BuA

@MAX

My "contacts" in Pakistan tell me that Pak Army is only tolerating these US stooges as the country is in dire economic crisis and IMF and other multilateral aid agencies are loathe to give funds to "military" regimes.

Hence, after the IMF bailouts, and hopefully doles from China and Saudi Arabia, if situation with India persists, then there is a great % chance of a military takeover in Pakistan. ANyway, foreign policy decisions and defense matters - Kiyani holds the sway.

Max said...

@B.U.A

Well if your contacts are reliable, there's a staggering possibility that the US would be well aware of this "plot". With all the effort put in by the Americans to install these "stooges", are they gonna allow Kiyani's plans to go smoothly?

I fully agree with Prasun. Surgical strikes are a total waste, nothing can be acheived other than displaying India's aggression towards terrorism to the voters. Would it deter Pakistan or teach it anything? I don't think so. India should do something that really punishes the Pakistani people. It holds the key to the 3 western rivers; Pakistan's lifelines.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@MAX - I think the US has taken the winds off Indian sails.

In Jan 2009, two important events will take place. One will be that for the first time a civilian will be holding charge of ISI.

And second, ISI will at last, come under the Min of Interior.

It seems the Pak Army has given its consent for this to USA and USA has conveyed the same to India.

And in essence US has told India that taming the ISI is the big thing here and we have done that for you, so you "lay off" now.

In turn Pak Army will get serious military hardware, F-16 upgrades.

India, as usual, will come out of this "a sore loser".

THis is our backyard, and we allow US to play politics. We need to deal with Pakistan now and need to militarily weaken it. And not wait for Washing machinations and "pull wool over the eyes" cosmetic changes to ISI.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Kindly take note of this: The Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence at Gen Staff HQ in Rawalpindi is a tri-services institution of the Pakistan Armed Forces (not the Army) and is therefore like India's Defence Intelligence Agency. It is for this simple reason that it will NEVER, NEVER be part of any Ministry, be it the Interior/Home or Defence. It is a tri-services Directorate of the tri-services General Staff HQ and as such is made up of the Directorate General of Military Intelligence (Army), Directorate of Naval Intelligence, and the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence. Therefore, please, for the nth time, please note that that the DG of ISI will NEVER be answerable to any civilian authority, just like it is in India. You cannot expect the DG of DIA to answer to either the PM or the Defence Minister or Defence Ministry or Home Minister or Home Ministry. This same argument also applies to the ISI. What the civilian Govt of Pakistan has actually asked of the ISI is to TRANSFER jurisdiction of the ISI's Political Covert Actions Division to the Interior Ministry. But the Directorate of ISI will forever remain a part of Pakistan's armed forces as it is an institutional necessity.

Anonymous said...

@Prasun
=======

Thanks for pointing out the details. But what does the US mean when it says the the DG-ISI which is always a 3 star general - hence answerable to only 4 star generals in the army, will report to Min of Interior.

Specifically, what happened the first time around when Pakistan had to hastitly do a U-turn from transfer of Min of Interior back to the Army.

Tx.

Anonymous said...

Specially since the political covert division has now been "disbanded"

Anonymous said...

@ MAX: Why don't you think India has activated the "water" depravation tactics on Pakistan?

Pakistan is blowing a lot of hot air to curtail Indian exports to Afghanistan through its soil. It has done a "manufactured" blast in Lahore and caught an "Indian agent" within 1 hour of the blast - for the first time the Pakis have shown such alacrity. This is pure bull shit to divert attention.

Why are we not putting Ajmal Kasav on TV that will show him imploring to his abba / amma to save him. He should give details of where he stays etc on TV. A picture, after all, says more than a 1000 words !!

Anonymous said...

A question for Dr Saleem:

1.Sometime back a Pakistan Army regualar was shot in Hemland province by the British but this was hushed up(later made it to papers). The Pak regular turned out to be a Taliban commander.

2. Recently a Pakistan army deserter (so called) got caught as a regular member of Jaish e Mohammed.

3. In Kunduz, when Al Qaeda and Taliban were cornered by the Northern Alliance, Pakistan Army had to fly in night planes to evacuate the Pakistani regular forces fighting with them.

4. Now Baitullah Mehsud is saying that he will unleash his suicide bombers to fight alongside regular Pakistan Army.

I have been following this blog regualarly and BuA has suggested many times that Taliban, terror groups and Pakistan Army has fused. I now tend to agree.

Please tell your views - a Pakistani view.
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BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Hi all, Merry Christmas and wishing all the "good guys / gals" & their loved ones a wonderful & healthy 2009.

Terror free if we de-fang Terroristan in 2009.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Stratfor the premier intelligence agency is reporting on its 24th Dec report:

Prior to the attacks, India’s increasingly precarious security situation and the inability of Indian security forces to effectively address the deteriorating situation had already made the country less attractive to businesses.

A series of bombing attacks throughout the country in 2008, attacks against executives and above all, the Mumbai attack, all have showcased the danger of doing business in the South Asian country at present.

And if military confrontation between India and Pakistan erupts in the wake of the Mumbai attacks , multinational corporations quite possibly could face a number of new threats from militant groups in addition to more traditional security problems.

Because the exact nature and locations of potential Indian military action against Pakistan are not known, the specific problems multinational corporations might face cannot fully be predicted.

Regardless, corporations should be prepared to respond to a number of problems with the potential to disrupt their operations and the security of their personnel.

Now Stratfor is known to maintain close ties with CIA, hence its analysis is given its due weightage in the intelligence world.

See, we had touched this in the earlier article - THE ULTIMATE GAME - and the US "pressure tactics".

Its becoming so "apparent".

India should break free from all this and do what is in its best interests and not what is in the best interest of USA & NATO.

Anonymous said...

happy christmas!

Anonymous said...

Prasun Sengupta, for heavens sake, chicken neck area is at the china/nepal/bhutan trijunction that connects india proper to east india (7 sister states). the chicken neck area is precisely between darjeeling in wb and the northern tracts of sikkim.now marala headworkd / haji pir is north of indian kashmir (currently under porki occupation), distance from there to chicken neck area is over 2000 km. chicken neck area doesnt even border porkistan. so what is there to 'straighten out'? you mean encroach into china / bhutan / nepal for something porkistan did? crazy joker

Anonymous said...

chicken neck is siliguri corridor. be sure of ur facts b4 correcting others.

Anonymous said...

@Dr F. Saleem
=============

How will dynamics change when the US shifts supply base out of Pakistan and into the long, but more secure, route through Central Asian Regions?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:10AM: The contents of your reply strongly lead me to believe that you're at most a six-year old suckling devoid of any kind of territorial appreciation. For more info on Chicken Neck and where it lies, go to: http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/feb/03army.htm
After you've read it, stop indulging in any further outrageous jokergiri!!!

Anonymous said...

Prasun boss,

there are 2 chicken necks in India, it seems. U r right, dude !!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Thanks mate.

Sontu said...

BUA,

The Third and most important EVENT which is going to happen and you missed to notice is “Alternate Supply Route for US and NATO forces opening via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan by Mid Feb-2009 ” .

Importance of this development is..

1.Reducing dependency on Pakistan i.e. Karachi port and Container Route and Terminals inside Pakistan.

2.Reducing risks of interrupted supply, incase Pakistan do not cooperate on “War on Terror” due to it’s internal crisis/situation, Taliban attacks and most importantly due to any India-Pak conflict.

And hence Pak Army will not be able to blackmail US/NATO forces in Afghanistan in the future and will free US also from desisting India to not to take any action on Pak as now US needs India more than India need US, to counter China also mount a pressure on Taliban/Al Quaida and other terrorist networks (including ISI channels) i.e. pulverize Pak from Esat Afgan and West India front..together. Surely US will be more than Happy to see Indian resources (Indian Army, Air Force and Navy) engaged/working together with US and Other NATO Forces for a single cause i.e. “The NEW War on Terror”..operating inside Afghanistan and Pakistan simultaneously.

Now due to Financial Crisis in US …it has become very difficult for US and NATO also to manage the rising cost of the “WAR ON TERROR PROGRAM” and hence need new partners (like India), who will also join the fight for it’s own reason/concern (Pak sponsored Terrorist attacks/ Pak Interference in Kashmir).

The Time has come to OUT SOURCE even “The fighting process” to India ..which has cheap resources (comparatively cheaper resources than US and NATO soldiers .i.e. courtesy 6th PC correction for Armed Forces) to do the job for them.

Regards,

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Some of you had asked a few questions to Dr Farrukh Saleem, which I sent him and he answered back only a few - and that too "very off handish" - still I paste them here:

1.Sometime back a Pakistan Army regular was shot in Hemland province by the British but this was hushed up(later made it to papers). The Pak regular turned out to be a Taliban commander. (Gave Times online UK paper link which carried the story of British SAS troops killing this Pak Army Taliban commander.)
Farrukh Saleem replies: “conspiratorial hypothesis based on hearsay”.

2. Recently a Pakistan army deserter (so called) got caught as a regular member of Jaish e Mohammed.
Farrukh Saleem replies: “being in the army is a full-time profession….one cannot be in the army as well as a regular member of Jaish”

3. In Kunduz, when Al Qaeda and Taliban were cornered by the Northern Alliance, Pakistan Army had to fly in night planes to evacuate the Pakistani regular forces fighting with them.
Farrukh Saleem replies: “If the Northern Alliance govt falls would India be sending in planes to evacuate elements of its Corps of Engineers?”

4. Now Baitullah Mehsud is saying that he will unleash his suicide bombers to fight alongside regular Pakistan Army.
Farrukh Saleem replies: “Baitulllah must have his own list of priorities

Anonymous said...

Dr Farrukh Saleem is a more liberal minded paki compared to the normal others who will never accept their mistakes and weaknesses. I always viewed him with a good degree of respect which he well deserved. His answers to the questions you put forward however were dissapointing, to say the least.