If Pakistan Splinters…
The Chinese will suffer major setback, if dysfunctional Pakistan splinters in the near future.
Many Malaysian Muslims will hasten to tell you that their country should not be compared to Pakistan. Or the migrant Muslims in West Asia (Middle East) while introducing themselves take pains to assert that they are Muslims from India and not Pakistan.
Serious contradictions within Pakistan have pushed it in the pit of despair from where; it is almost impossible to recover. It is reported that many young Pakistanis out-of-sheer frustration are repudiating Islam and converting to other religions.
Possibly, majority of the Pakistan’s dominant community, Punjabi Sunni Muslims living in their isolated world of self-destruction do not realise the damage they are doing to Islam.
Pakistan appears to be hurtling towards self-destruction.
Beijing treats Pakistan as an extension of its war machine and a surrogate colony. The likely breakup of Pakistan in the near future will stall expanding Chinese footprints.
Impaired Pakistan is a cause of deep worry for Beijing, since Islamabad’s capability to tie-down India by launching terrorist attacks will also suffer.
If Pakistan splinters, there will be enormous gains for India.
PoK will revert back to the Indian fold and peace will prevail. This is the singular reason for Chinese to move their troops into PoK. The strategy is two-fold. First, occupy or gain influence over as much-occupied Indian Territory as possible, incase Pakistan breaks up.
Second, to keep up the pressure on Indian borders since Pakistan is no position to do the same, given its present internal disarray. Further, China does not want India to be emboldened to mount an attack on Pakistan, which is already gasping for oxygen.
With the break-up of Pakistan, ISI activities like export of fake Indian currency and infiltration of terrorists through Nepal will cease. Anti-India rabble rousing by ISI-inspired elements in Bangladesh against India will no longer be possible.
The Union of India’s consolidation and integration as a nation will get a new fillip, as the distraction created by Pakistan in the name of religion is eliminated.
India then will be able to concentrate on the principal threat posed by China.
Fragmented Pakistan will lesson the heavy-financial burden placed on India’s economy with drastic reduction in the security apparatus. This will enable young India to make rapid economic strides that can outpace ageing China in a short span of time.
Similarly, colossal gains accrue to the West, if Pakistan splinters.
The West led by America is losing the plot in Afghanistan because the problem is the Pakistan Army and its irregular forces led by General Kayani. Washington was forced to admit recently this worst-kept secret, when its supply routes to Afghanistan were snapped by GHQ Rawalpindi and NATO convoys carrying fuel to Afghanistan were conveniently torched by the ISI-controlled Ghost Army of Jihad with impunity.
American attempts to unhook Pakistan from China will continue to fail despite the dangling of carrot of modern weapons and technology as Islamabad’s strategic dependency on Beijing is now irreversible.
The ‘real estate’ of Pakistan was created so that the West could monitor and manipulate the former Soviet Union, China and India.
However, if Pakistan falls apart, Sind which has very strong democratic yearning is certain to charter its own independent path but in consonance with Indian value system.
Independent Baluchistan with its rich resources will be definitely against the Chinese, who in conjunction with Islamabad are exploiting its resources. Denial of Gawdar port will preclude Chinese navy from the warm waters of Indian Ocean and direct access to West Asia.
Afghanistan will gradually witness unhindered growth of democracy; the spoilers Pakistan Army with ISI would have disappeared.
Therefore, democracies will find many friendly places to operate from and access the resources of Central Asia to the mutual benefit of all players.
The biggest gain for the democracies will be that China’s expanding authoritarian influence will be sharply curtailed. Also the Jihad fervour being orchestrated in this part of the world by the Punjabi Sunnis will die a natural death due to fatigue and lack of resources.
The spread of two authoritarian streams, Chinese communism and the Islamic fundamentalism, in combination or otherwise, threaten the survival of democracies in Asia.
If Pakistan splinters, one of the threats will be substantially neutralised.
This in turn will make Central Asia, a safer place where Pakistan aims to attain strategic depth with the help of Islamic fundamentalists.
If Pakistan splinters, Sinkiang in China will face renewed instability and the Chinese flank in occupied Tibet will come under severe pressure.
With independent Sind and Baluchistan, the Chinese supply lines from Gawdar would not be possible. This will force China to revert to ‘peaceful rise’ instead of laying claim on territory or islands of other nations.
The power of the Shias will increase, thus creating a balance with some of the Sunni sects that are mainly responsible for terrorist acts worldwide. Two successive British Prime Ministers have stated Pakistan accounts for 75 per cent of all such acts.
If Pakistan splinters, this percentage will drop to abysmal levels.
Most often remarks on Pakistan are prefaced by, “Just like you Indians cannot live with Pakistan…”
This premise is false. An average Indian can live with Pakistan, as long as Islamabad does not interfere in internal affairs or connive against India. It is irrelevant whether India dialogues, trades or maintains diplomatic relationship with Pakistan; growth of the Indian economy or the growing status of India is not even remotely connected with failure or success of Islamabad. The ‘Pakistan Story’ failed because of the inherent flaws in the values professed and not because of “Kashmir”! The “Indian Story” shows success because of its belief in secular democratic values.
The truth therefore is that “Pakistan cannot live with India”. The converse is absolutely preposterous.
If Pakistan splinters, it will hit the biggest stakeholder and benefactor China. In order to safeguard its strategic interests, Beijing therefore will make every endeavour to prevent the breakup of Pakistan, even to the extent of military intervention in support of the Pakistan Army.
If Pakistan splinters, forces led by Barak Obama will win. On the contrary, if China is successful in its intervention, authoritarian regimes will hold sway in Asia.
Who wins the great game in Asia, will depend on the finesse with which the cards are dealt by the contending sides.
By Bharat Verma
The writer is Editor, Indian Defence Review