Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
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Revenge is the immediate call after a terror attack with Pakistani fingerprints. In a couple of days, sanity tip-toes back into public debate. Inevitably, then appears that phrase: Revenge is a dish best served cold. And the Afghans are credited with having invented it.

Never mind that the phrase-finder tells me that the French said this first, at the turn of the 18th Century. But it’s just that it fits the Afghans more. Because vengeance is essential to their lifestyle, usually lasting generations. How good they are at it? Don’t bother reading tribal history or Rudyard Kipling. Ask the Soviets, the Americans and the Pakistanis. You mess with the Afghans, you will get the payback.

Yet, look at the state of Afghanistan. For all its old conquests and loot of India’s riches and defeat of two superpowers, it is a hopelessly broken, poor, near-medieval and ungovernable disaster. It is probably human history’s most perennial loser. Lesson: Revenge, served hot or cold, may be a delightful dish to eat. But it does nothing for you, besides momentarily satisfying your blood-lust.

A nation driven by revenge is more likely to self-destruct than win. Bush Jr invaded Iraq to avenge Saddam Hussein’s insults to his father and unravelled the Middle East. Barack Obama killed Osama bin Laden, by that time an inconsequential ailing old exile, and it did nothing to discourage new Islamic terrorists.

Pakistan has worked on a multi-generation project to avenge 1971 and destroyed its economy, society and polity in the process. The side that wins, on the other hand, is one that prefers ‘deterrence’ to revenge. The travesty of recent Indian strategic thought is it emerges not from our brains but from whatever part of the anatomy that secretes the prickliest hormones. Revenge is a mere emotion, and for idiots. Deterrence grows over time from grey matter in the heads of wise people.

Take, for example, the surgical strikes after the Uri ‘fidayeen’ attack. It became an end in itself. They killed 19 of ours, we killed many more of theirs. Khoon ka badla khoon

Sure enough, they were at our throats again in Pulwama. There is clamour for revenge again. TV studios have become war rooms and indicate “strike” targets and weapons options. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promises retribution for “each one of your tears”. The commentariat agrees that something definitely needs to be done soon. The less nutty ones also say revenge is good. But not just now. Take your time. As the Afghans say…

Here is a question: What comes after revenge? Will it buy you durable peace and security, or just be a great headline, an event and may be a movie later? It may even win you an election. But will it deter your enemy?

Kautilya is much in fashion these days, so let’s take this argument forward using his wisdom.


Also read: Suicidal Pakistan should know Modi may not be scared of its nuclear button


We don’t have to read Arthashastra. Just the most familiar folklore about Kautilya will do. When his dhoti got caught in a thorny bush and was torn, he did not go looking for a chopper to cut it down.

He took his time, returned with a pitcher of sweetened milk and poured it into the roots of the offending plant. When a curious Chandragupta asked him why, he said, if I cut it, it will grow from its roots again. But sweetened milk will attract millions of ants. They will eat up the roots and finish this problem forever. The scythe option would have been revenge. The sweetened milk is deterrence. It isn’t sexy. It’s brutal. It’s Kautilyan.

We can similarly examine our own strategic history. China’s 1962 invasion was not to punish India, take revenge or grab territory. It was to create deterrence. It ended India’s ‘Forward Policy’, placed red lines on our Tibetan dalliance and pushed generations of Indian strategists into a defensive mindset, mentally fighting the same old war of 1962 to protect our territory. That message delivered, the Chinese built Pakistan into a worthy client. For five decades now, they have brilliantly used a smaller neighbour (Pakistan) to balance a much larger India. This is classical, low-cost deterrence.

In 1971, Indira Gandhi employed her version of Arthashastra. She waited for nine months to build sufficient military and diplomatic edge, instead of playing to public opinion and jumping in when the West Pakistanis cracked down in March. She built up the military, signed a treaty with the Soviets to balance America and China, went around the world building opprobrium against Pakistani excesses. She strangled Pakistan so patiently that finally Yahya Khan could take it no longer and began the war in December.

Did this deter Pakistan from further adventurism? It will soon be 50 years since. And never has Pakistan even dreamed of using its military to wrest Kashmir again. On the other hand, from the late 1980s, it switched to terror and low-intensity conflict, with expendable proxies. You can take revenge on them, the Pakistanis won’t bother. You strike their military, they threaten retaliation. In the process, we get angrier, vengeful and frustrated. Pakistan continues believing that both nuclear weapons and insufficient asymmetry in conventional strength deter a more decisive Indian response.


Also read: Peshawar to Pulwama, how Pakistan differentiates snakes in its backyard & front yard


Before we navigate a way out of this hole, we should understand what got us here. Here is my three-point diagnosis:

*It is old wisdom that the loser learns more than the winner. Indian leaders misread 1971 as the permanent end of the Pakistani threat. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, on the contrary, accepted Pakistan had to give up the conventional military option forever. But to deny it to India, he launched his nuclear quest. By the early 1980s, his successor felt secure enough with this nuclear hedge to begin mischief, first in Punjab, then Kashmir. India was complacent.

*The nuclear tests of 1998 brought in the nuclear balance. It made Pakistan adventurous, while India embraced the idea that with nuclearisation, the conventional option was gone. I would go so far as to say the Indian strategic community became ‘nuclear-lazy’. It forgot that weapons of mass destruction are the likely loser’s last resort. The Pakistanis were smarter.

*As a result, India lost interest in building greater conventional asymmetry though its economy boomed. India forgot that an overwhelming conventional superiority will give it punitive strength, deter Pakistan from a military riposte, and defy it to weigh nuclear self-destruction. That would have made Pakistan think again before blowing up buses here.

This nuclear laziness led to declining Indian defence budgets as a percentage of the GDP. The last time India made a quantum jump was under Rajiv Gandhi, when the budget crossed 4 per cent of GDP. Since then, it has declined. As a result, if a war were to break out now, a lot of our frontline hardware would have been what Rajiv ordered: More than three decades ago. Why spend more if the nukes had ruled out any war?

See how this brain-washing also bedevilled the Modi government despite its tall claims on national security. It kept its promise of implementing OROP, implemented the 7th Pay Commission, but kept reducing the defence budget as a percentage of GDP. Additional wages and pensions, therefore, came out of modernisation.

That’s where we stand now. Very capable of defending ourselves, taking some tactical revenge here and there, but not dissuading Pakistan. How do we go forward? Stop thinking of Pakistani nukes as a deterrent for us, build our military massively, challenge the adversary with its doddering economy to match up and pauperise itself (the Chinese give nothing for free), and build a new deterrence: Old-fashioned conventional military power.

This, in my book, is the equivalent of Kautilya’s sweetened milk doctrine. It is boring, needs patience and time, but will work. But then, Kautilya didn’t have the compulsion to get Chandragupta to win the next election.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Well written.
    Only way to build detterence is to go for clandestine operations like Israel does. The general public does not have patience. Govt needs to show that they are acting.

  2. Shekhar Gupta’s proposal sounds attractive, to massively build up conventional war capabilities and make Pakistan a pauper (more than what it already is) by trying to match up with it, except that there are two catches in it: 1) it will require massive amount of money for India, and 2) Pakistan may just refused to be pauperized. Point 1) is not feasible because India doesn’t have money to even keep its present arsenal in fit and ready to fire condition; someone was recently pointing out that 60% of our present war machinery is outdated and India has made no attempt to rectify the situation (presumably because India doesn’t have funds to rectify the situation). Point 2) is not feasible because Pakistan may just refuse to play ball! You see, what answer would you have if Pakistan says: “brother, you amuse yourself to your heart’s content, I will just buy a few radars and missiles with Chinese technology which no American technology can “jam”; I will keep a few nuclear balls handy; you bomb all my airstrips and airplanes I don’t care; I will place those balls on top of those missiles sitting in hidden silos directed by those radars, and lob the juggernaut into all parts of your backyard! What will you do?” What answer will you have to that?

    One solution to tame Pakistan is tactical-force related which Shekhar Gupta’s friend Ajit Doval would be well aware of and which novices like me need not show their cleverness about, and the other solution is peace related which Ajit Doval cannot “dare to admit” to like, because it entails the removal of the hand that feeds him. Without mincing words, it is absolutely essential for Kashmir solution that Narendra Modi and his BJP be removed from power, because only then any efforts can be made which look peaceful and which can mollify Kashmiris. Pakistan will then automatically lose any role.

    • Insightful analysis, something which cannot be said of the article itself. Shekhar quite clearly is either part of the current establishment, or is unwilling to antagonize the Modi Shah Doval trinity, for reasons best known to him. Frequent excercises in trivializing complex situations like this article itself, while apparently aligning with the thought processes of the trinity, give credence to this suspicion.

    • Kashmir has been a problem long before Modi came to power. So don’t blame him. And having an overwhelming conventional superiority of 3:1 viz a viz Pakistan will force it to respond as countries prepare against threat capabilities. So your argument doesn’t hold water.

      India can afford such a posture so long as it’s economy grows fast. There is only one hitch though. Execution. To tame Pakistan and look at China eye to eye, you need a national security doctrine, adoption of strategy and tactics for the long term. Serious nations do these things not India.

  3. Wonderful Article… It is not Defensive or Offensive approach…it’s should be strategic approach. Economic warfare is the best option to Pakistan problem… I always advocated “A stable Pak is a trouble maker to India”

    • But what is the biggest arsenal of Pakistan to fight India is our weakness, it is our divisive society… The current political leadership is only working to increase divisiveness and playing in the hands of Pakistan.

  4. Good thoughts, but who bothers. By the way in 1971 even Indira Gandhi was impatient and attempted to put pressure on Army to attack Pakistan. Thanks to the then Chief of Amy Staff Gen Manekshaw who did not budge and asked for time to ready and then carried out attack on both sides of Pakistan. This is how Bangladesh was born. However, you have rightly said it did not solve the problem but added one more problem of Bangladeshis entering India.

  5. Indded it’s the deterrence that’s missing! I liked the idea of former DM Mr Parikar of changing the direction of your adversaries to enemy who plans to attack you. But then it was all talk….
    I like your last note”Kautilya didn’t have the compulsion to get Chandragupta to win the next election.”

  6. Your observations are spot on. The USSR collapsed in 1989 after being led into a decade long military buildup by the Reagan led USA – something their economy could not support. Revenge will only make 40 more widows on that side of the border, and needless lifelong enemies. We need to seal the border with hi tech (Isreali – Gaza) technology- drones and cameras every hundred yards, not a meagre hundred drones for 750km of LoC. Remote operated sniper rifles. State of the Art equipment for our frontline troops

  7. Shekhar is brilliant in his analysis, particularly about how China dealt with India over the years. As regards our response to Pak, I believe we need to set our house in Kashmir in order as well, just as we did in Punjab. We need to isolate anti Indian elements from the valley, create states of Ladakh and Jammu by abolishing Art 370 and keeping the valley under central administration. We need to give enough incentives for pro India elements in the valley to make them comfortable that the country is fully with them. We need to control spread of madrass and replace them with modern schools. At the same time, eliminate with firmness all the anti national forces and throw their dead bodies in the Arabian Sea rather than handing them over to their families. Terrorism has no religion and hence, a terrorist does not deserve a place in the grave. As we do this, we deal with Pak by improving our military capabilities but also primarily keeping in mind Chinese threats. With nuclear capability and stronger conventional force, India thought Pak is a roll over but it must try to stand up against China. In the process, we have not measured up to anything and drifted in our defence preparedness. We should abrogate the Indus water treaty, whether we divert the water flow or not. We should declare Pak a terrorist state immediately by a uniamous vote in the Parliament. Other diplomatic efforts to isolate it should be pursued with full vigor. In addition, we must start covert support for Baluch and other separatists movement in Pak. All these we should follow as a national policy whichever be the party in power. We should stop when Pakistan is finally broken into four parts and we eliminate scourge of separatism in J&K. For next 15 years, let us not have track 2 and 3 dialogues and let us not worry that about democracy in Pakistan or worry about a friendly Pakistan. We are not enemies of any Pakistani individual but we need to eliminate this state apparatus that it bent upon destroying us.

    • So your/Indian interference in Balochistan is not terrorism? You are doing this for years In Balochistan, Karachi and other part of Pakistan using local people.
      Stop this and come out of illusion. Accept the Pakistan reality.
      Every action have reaction.
      I happen to see the hate in India today, this is good sign of long term problems for India. Luckily Pakistan was experienced this in past and we are coming out of it.

      • There is no evidence whatsoever that India is supporting Baluchi separatism. Most disappointing. Millions of people hope that one day India will find the strength to actually do (covert and aggressive support of Baluchi separatism) what Pak says that we are already doing.

  8. The United States broke the Soviet Union’s back, locking it into a ruinous arms race. Theoretically, India could do the same with Pakistan, but it would break our HDI scores as well. There is now so much fiscal stress in India, rippling outward from Delhi to the states and local bodies, the next government will have to take a holistic view of public finances. The fact that the economy is sagging to a growth trajectory, at least 2 to 3 percentage points lower than its optimum possibility, depresses tax buoyancy. In fact, one good reason to improve relations with both client and patron is that India needs more money for education and healthcare.

  9. China succeeded against us because we dream too much without doing any groundwork. If we couldn’t act against Pakistan despite having superiority and leverage in 1971 to a greater effect then we have to blame ourselves. It’s not Pakistan or China succeeded, we (Congress) let ourselves down. Modi did stand up against China in Doklam and China had to blink first. SO if we have a leadership that can sometime rise up to occasion then we can achieve our objectives. Having long term strategy based on Kautilya’s doctrine is certainly needed. But can we expect it when we have political parties playing with national securities for decades and we can’t even agreement now? In the era of regional party coalitions having with narrow minded objectives and lacking a national vision, also supported by left-leaning pacifist Lutyens it’s hopeless to think that it will ever be done.

  10. Mr. Gupta I understand your hate with Pakistan, you see Indian interference in Pakistan (east Pakistan & now in Balochistan, Karachi) as granted and if Pakistan do something it is bad.
    You will see the results of hate you spread in India very soon.

  11. True ! I fully agree. Only problem is how to get an all-party agreement in the deterrence building. The current political spectrum has done something for the first time: politicization of the Defence and military. So it too is an instrument for winning elections ! So, nothing strategic will come out.

  12. The only problem is India have not accepted the Pakistan. From the first day of Pakistan creation till today you always talk about breaking Pakistan, creating problems for Pakistan in every stage from local to international topics. Tell us where & when India not used any opportunity to destabilize Pakistan? And you still think all problems are with Pakistan and India is innocent?
    I am happy to see growing intolerance & hate India against Muslim. That’s good sign of long term issues.

  13. Nice analysis, particularly that the looser learns more from the defeat then the winner. Also, since it’s birth in 1947 Pakistan has a clear aim of ruining India, to gain the lost glory if Islam here and if that is not possible, then to wrest Kashmir at all costs. It never wants to be friendly with India. But here in India, we still don’t know whether Pakistan is friend or enemy. We have no strategy worth in name regarding Pakistan. Moreover we have a major section of the population which is sympathetic to Pakistan. Even on Kashmir, we have no policy. We don’t know whether we should abrogate 370 and 35A or not. If we cannot do so tell them in clear terms that . If we want to abrogate these articles or constitution do it at the earliest. This ambivalence is costing us dearly. Even on Hurriat, we are confused. We should understand that there are no two kinds if separatists, hardcore or soft. The aim is same foe both types, although the methods are different. In fact these soft separatists give shelter and safety to the hardcore ones. Also the killing if a few thousands if militants and Pakistani Army personal will make hardly any impact on a community which thrives on jehaadi mindset. See, even killing so many militants in AfPak region, US could not defeat jehaadi mindset. The need if time is to think clearly what our aim is. Also refrain from killing and attacking Kashmiris elsewhere, which will further alienate them

  14. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist , Barnala (Punjab)

    In the NATIONAL INTEREST, Shekhar Sahib you now have come out of the realm of emotions
    after almost a week long KATHARSIS !

    This week’s ” National Interest ” column embraces saner track instead of emotional one ! May be
    you too like many natives have been gripped by sentiments and overenthusiasm in heat of the
    gruesome Pulwama Terror Attack that too in the chillier weather !

    In this context, I am haunted by two famous speeches of Marcus Brutus and Marc Antony in contrast
    at the time of funeral of Julius Caesar in Shakespearean famous play “Julius Caesar ” ! Brutus one of the
    key conspirators who speaks first tries to justify on ethical grounds- the assassination of Caesar. But it is
    Marc Antony who very cleverly while addressing the mob outsmarts the conspirators moving people to
    rise in revolt against them !

    The dire need of the hour is to ponder over ways and means to explore a permanent solution to the burning
    and sensitive meance of insurgency- cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir very smartly and
    tactfully ! There should be no room for complacency, boasting and exaggerations while translating the ideas
    and strategies into actuality !

    You have used terms- ” Kautilya’s sweetened milk doctrine ” and ” deterrence ” for surmounting these complex
    and aweinspiring problems ! I put it in another fashion ” administering a sugar- coated heavy dose ” to the
    adversaries whosoever they may be !

    Now after the damage has been done, we are at liberty to pass on the blame on any nation, organisation or
    individual, but ironically the fact remains that one suicide bomber did outsmart our entire polity and system !

    Many questions come to the fore following Pulwama Terror Attack Saga !

    Should not we introspect why has it been happening for so long ?
    Where did the things go wrong and where had been the lapse ?
    Did we learn any lesson from the past lapses and failures ?
    Are we still learning any lesson in the wake of this unfortunate
    national tragedy ?

    Only vindictive and retaliatory moves alone will not work but all-round
    measures including diplomatic, military and bringing alienated Kashmiris
    Muslims into the mainstream must be switched into action ! Why have
    deserted Kashmiri Pandits not been rehabilitated so far after decades !
    The polity is initiating measures to rebuff Pakistan but at the sametime steps
    must be thought of too to make atmosphere cordial and harmonious in the
    entire Kashmir valley and nation !

    Decisions should not be taken in haste and recklessly ! The political outfits of
    the nation must shun politics over this vexed issue other wise consequences for
    the future will be suicidal ! Then any attempt to exploit Pulwama Terror Attack
    tragedy by the ruling dispensation at the centre for mustering votes in the ensuing
    Lok Sabha Polls will tantamount to unethical and wicked practices exposing their
    sinister designs at the altar of nation’s security and integrity !

    The grim situations arising out of Pulwama Attack like ought to be tackled very coolily
    and calmly instead of fanning flames of anger, fear and tension hither and thither !

    We must remember anger is only one letter short of danger !

    It is pertinent to sound a note of caution here that it would not be advisable to repeat the
    past but learning from it must turn present into bright and harmonious future !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest, Barnala (Punjab)

  15. To build massive convention forces we need huge amount of money. So long as the Nation State distributes a massive percentage of its national resources as “Freebies” to look after a massive low-income population, we will never have the money to spend on building the army. Population control, the ultimate way of reducing poverty and uplifting people so that they earn their own livelihoods, should be the top priority. Even if if takes ten years, it will be worth the effort. Just consider the ‘free’ things given out by the state – free/near free tonnes of ration, cheap gas to millions, free education, subsidised housing, guaranteed MSP, etc. The list is endless. Ignore the internal enemies and the eternal contrarians who think that population control is human rights violation, particularly of the “weak and marginalised”. Encourage people with incentives and disincentives to control the population and we will see wonderful results in ten years.

  16. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist , Barnala (Punjab)

    In the NATIONAL INTEREST, Shekhar Sahib you now have come out of the realm of emotions
    after almost a week long KATHARSIS !

    This week’s ” National Interest ” column embraces saner track instead of emotional one ! May be
    you too like many natives have been gripped by sentiments and overenthusiasm in heat of the
    gruesome Pulwama Terror Attack that too in the chillier weather !

    In this context, I am haunted by two famous speeches of Marcus Brutus and Marc Antony in contrast
    at the time of funeral of Julius Caesar in Shakespearean famous play “Julius Caesar ” ! Brutus one of the
    key conspirators who speaks first tries to justify on ethical grounds- the assassination of Caesar. But it is
    Marc Antony who very cleverly while addressing the mob outsmarts the conspirators moving people to
    rise in revolt against them !

    The dire need of the hour is to ponder over ways and means to explore a permanent solution to the burning
    and sensitive menace of insurgency- cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir very smartly and
    tactfully ! There should be no room for complacency, boasting and exaggerations while translating the ideas
    and strategies into actuality !

    You have used terms- ” Kautilya’s sweetened milk doctrine ” and ” deterrence ” for surmounting these complex
    and aweinspiring problems ! I put it in another fashion ” administering a sugar- coated heavy dose ” to the
    adversaries whosoever they may be !

    Now after the damage has been done, we are at liberty to pass on the blame on any nation, organisation or
    individual, but ironically the fact remains that one suicide bomber did outsmart our entire polity and system !

    Many questions come to the fore following Pulwama Terror Attack Saga !

    Should not we introspect why has it been happening for so long ?
    Where did the things go wrong and where had been the lapse ?
    Did we learn any lesson from the past lapses and failures ?
    Are we still learning any lesson in the wake of this unfortunate
    national tragedy ?

    Only vindictive and retaliatory moves alone will not work but all-round
    measures including diplomatic, military and bringing alienated Kashmiri
    Muslims into the mainstream must be switched into action ! Why have
    deserted Kashmiri Pandits not been rehabilitated so far after decades !
    The polity is initiating measures to rebuff Pakistan but at the sametime steps
    must be thought of too to make atmosphere cordial and harmonious in the
    entire Kashmir valley and nation !

    Decisions should not be taken in haste and recklessly ! The political outfits of
    the nation must shun politics over this vexed issue other wise consequences for
    the future will be suicidal ! Then any attempt to exploit Pulwama Terror Attack
    tragedy by the ruling dispensation at the centre for mustering votes in the ensuing
    Lok Sabha Polls will tantamount to unethical and wicked practices exposing their
    sinister designs at the altar of nation’s security and integrity !

    The grim situations arising out of Pulwama Attack like ought to be tackled very coolily
    and calmly instead of fanning flames of anger, fear and tension hither and thither !

    We must remember anger is only one letter short of danger !

    It is pertinent to sound a note of caution here that it would not be advisable to repeat the
    past but learning from it must turn present into bright and harmonious future !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest, Barnala (Punjab)

  17. Typical diffident mentality of mellow Indians that Shekhar is talking from. Its time for decisive action and if escalated prepare all the way until Pakistan Army is punished, things will not change. One day it has to happen. There is a cost but we must pay it now because world opinion is conducive. Kargil war in a hindsight, we should have crossed the line in order to get acceptable settlement and ceasefire ….

  18. Sure enough. A moron like Pakistani stupid Masood Azhar planned this attack to revenge his nephew’s death. He seem to be coming from Afghan background who is bound to bring Afganistan fortune to Pakistani state. Lets wait for cheerful acclimation of Pakistan tere tukade honge Inshallah ! Inshallah ! Because of Masood’s intellectually moronic and religiously satanic verses ….

  19. 1. I agree with views of author that less of rhetoric and more of practical approach is needed to solve the Kashmir issue. 2. Indian government is committed to elimination of terrorism, although it is not an easy thing to do. Terror groups like LeT, JuD, JeM) and Taliban are supported by a section of the Pakistani army and they plan attacks like PULWAMA suicide attack. Further, we can never trust Pakistani establishment to eliminate bases of terror groups and hence we must be ready to deal with these terror groups’ activities with appropriate technological support. 3. I also think that our political leadership and more particularly, former chief ministers of Jammu & Kashmir, Ms Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah should be very clear as regards ground realities with reference to the Kashmir issue. 4. It is said that ‘azadi’ for Kashmir is ordinary Kashmiri’s wish. It is fine. I say that if such azadi is within our Constitutional framework case for grant of such azadi can certainly be considered. 5. Let us not, however, overlook fact that Pakistan-backed terrorists would like Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. Hence, in all likelihood, without our Army’s vigil in Kashmir valley, these terrorists will get a free hand. Then, with support Pakistan’s ISI various terrorist groups will use violent means to frighten ordinary citizens of the Kashmir valley, who will have to suffer like the Kashmiri Pandits: they will be driven out of their homes and will have to take shelter in other parts of India. 6. Hence my humble submission is that those who are fighting for Kashmir’s azadi would do well to keep their eyes and ears open and try to understand real intentions behind Pakistan’s support to their fight for azadi. I also wish that Ms Mehbooba Mufti & Omar Abdullah, former chief ministers of J & K do an honest self-examination about their views on azadi.

  20. Obviously written by someone with zero tactical and military knowledge sitting in the comfort of his air conditioned office.. India is not a rich nation to spend without limit to “pauperise” Pakistan. We don’t have toilets, good roads, clean water, universal health care and here is some blabbering about “pauperising” another nation by spending on foreign military hardware!

  21. Agree with you. But the argument should not be used to justify inaction and forced tolerance. The country should look for sweetened milk that would weed out the very roots of the enemy. Where and how to get the sweetened milk is the moot point.

  22. Started good in the article on detrrence but ended up giving his opinion way more credit. The proposed solution has many flaws that author is either unaware of (read other comments to get enlightened) or blatantly ignored. Both means author needs to work on his problem solving alot. So Good Luck!

  23. The article makes a valid case for deterrence over revenge. But it misses a point. In deterrence you significantly increase the cost of any action for the enemy while keeping your cost low. So Surgical strike was a part of deterrence. Before surgical strikes after each terrorist attack Pakistanis just denied and joked and laughed. They did Pulwama and now they are very scared, nervous and anxious. This is deterrence! If we let go this one the deterrence would be broken and rest assured you would have many more Pulwama more frequently. . The challenge is now to find a more effective low cost deterrence. Let’s see what Modi comes up with this time. Observing him he does not look angry at all.

  24. A well-written piece.
    Yes, conventional deterrence is most needed now and for the near as well as the distant future. Soon the US troops will leave Afghanistan and the terror outfits will be made to feel that they have defeated not only one but two superpowers out of Afghanistan. With that thought in mind, it will be a no brainer to say that they will surely venture into India with the ever willing ISI ready to help in the name of Islam or whatever, in their endeavor to avenge the 1971 defeat and full fill their oldest dream of breaking India by taking Kashmir.
    The need of the hour is to develop a coherent Kashmir, Pakistan & China policy so any such nefarious designs can be prevented from achieving any success. These knee jerk and vote garnering responses will not work anymore.

  25. Kautilya doctrine is valid in those countries where there is a rule of single party. while in democracies, i mean in the presence of opposition, the sweetened milk may deteriorate the soft image of ruling elite. Thus, it can never work in India.

  26. The “sweetened milk” solution, meaning attacking the roots of the problem, related to Kashmir is to empower covert operations within Indian Kashmir and inside Pakistan and ramp up efforts to dismember Pak into 4, starting with Baluchistan. Once Pak goes, or is kept busy fighting for its physical survival, Kashmir will be much more amenable to sane solutions. The current interventions against Separatist sentiment and promotion of economic and international isolation (especially via Cricket where India is already a Superpower) of Pak are a good beginning.

  27. Flawed article.
    Firstly What this article does not do is get to the root of the problem. Firstly it is not Pakistan that is the security threat to India, it is China and will remain so for quite some time to come. That is whom we have to target, match and then exceed. Let us not forget that if we match and exceed China’s capabilities, then that capability will be way too much for Pakistan too. Chinese soft South-West Underbelly of Tibet and East Turkestan is exposed to us. But that would entail us getting our act together and not fold like we did in Dokhlam.
    Secondly about Pakistani shenanigans they have to be met with asymmetrical warefare on our side. The fact that Vajpayee gave up our asymmetrical capabilities in Pakistan in hope of peace should have been an eye opener. We need to rebuild it. There are groups who are opposed to Pakistan Army and its government. We have to basically put a zia-ul-huq type leader in power in Pakistan again, the leader who will finally take Pakistan over the edge and beyond the precipice. Chanayaka did for the Nandas, we can do it for the betterment of Pakistan. After all the land of pure has to be purified. Yes the cost will be paid by Ahmadi, by the Shias, by the Moharjirs and by the other ethenic minorities of Pakistan but let us face it the land of pure needs to be purified.

  28. I love the Kautilya strategy. The sweetened milk and the millions of ants. Important to remember it’s not one ant but millions of them.
    The ants could be people, weapons, sports, nations, patience, time; all or some of them. As an observer from a distance, I am amazed at the pundits’
    assessment that India does not have the sweetened milk to kill the thorny plant. India has plenty of milk. Milk is also of several varieties; 3%, 2%,and 1% of fact content. She is using it in very small doses. That is the problem. The bush is already showing several signs of its roots rotting. The sweetened milk should be poured all around the bush, not just in one spot.
    Research shows that even plants and trees communicate better with each other, through subtle scents and their root system, about the coming dangers to their survival.

  29. Actually, a very sensible article. India needs to plan long term and steadily build its conventional military over the next 10 to 15 years. And use it here and there to show the porkis that we mean business. In the end, Porkistan will become even more of an unsustainable idea. Shekar Gupta makes a good point. I’m heartened to see this, instead of all his advertising of Pappu and Pippi as future rulers of India.

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