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.
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?
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).