After the abrogation of Article 370, is it the right time for balkanisation of Pakistan? And how does India benefit?
It goes without saying that Pakistan has over the years earned the notorious reputation of being the world’s largest incubator of jihad. The Foreign Policy magazine ranks Pakistan on the top 10 list of failed states.
With flawed boundaries and an unholy nexus between Islamic extremism and military rule, there is no doubt Pakistan is on a self-destruct mode and verge of a collapse. One of the biggest talking points over the years for Pakistan has been Kashmir. It would not be wrong to say that the country has benefited for long thanks to a weak policy by India, which felt the need to have a more inclusive approach. This meant appeasement of local politicians and worse, the separatists of the Valley.
To abrogate Article 370, it needed guts and there was a lot of risk involved in this decision. However, the Narendra Modi government went ahead and abrogated Article 370 and made Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh into two Union Territories. This was well in sync with the Ajit Doval doctrine, which shunned appeasement in the Valley.
Pakistan has failed on various international forums to drum up support on the Kashmir issue. Kashmir is clearly out of Pakistan’s hand now and with a failing economy and Jihadis calling the shots, matters are only going to get worse. Incidentally, one must also note that just 2% of Pakistan’s GDP is spent on education.
This brings us to a very important question and that is the balkanisation of Pakistan. This would be the best time to push for the balkanisation of Pakistan and India could take advantage of the fact that there is a weak government in Islamabad, which is not capable of governing Pakistan’s frontiers.
What is the balkanisation of Pakistan?
The first foundation for the balkanisation was laid down during the separation of East Pakistan. There was a lot of resentment among the ethnic groups, which led to a massive rebellion. Following this Bangladesh was formed in 1971.
In the current scenario the balkanisation strategy would be for Afghanistan to absorb the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Further the Federally Administered Areas (FATA) would unite with the Pashtun tribes. Finally, Baluchistan and Sindh would be independent, and Punjab would be a standalone.
Can it be done?
The first step towards balkanisation would be to weaken the Pakistan army. It is the Punjab-Pashtun dominated army that rules Pakistan and the democratically elected government has always been a puppet. As long as the army is intact in Pakistan, it would be slightly difficult says former Research and Wing Analysis Officer, Amar Bhushan.
Bhushan tells MyNation that there is a lot of support in the provinces for balkanisation, but they will be brutally suppressed by the Pakistan army. In this scenario one would have to point to what happened in the USSR. The institutions were being democratised and in the long run the army was weakened, which eventually led to the fall of the USSR.
There are two ways to go about it says Bhushan. Lend support to dissident groups and ensure that the effort is a sustained one. If the dissident groups get stronger then the Chinese would be threatened. I am speaking about the Chinese because they would continue to support Pakistan thanks to their interests in the region. The Chinese have invested a lot and would stand in the way of any balkanisation strategy, the former R&AW officer also points out.
India could also play a major role in sowing democracy into the roots of Pakistan. This is a gradual process and in the long run if India is successful, one would see the Pak army weakening. India’s main focus should be on Baluchistan, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Sindh.
The other way to go about it according to Bhushan is an all-out war. We need to win it and slice it (Pakistan), he says.
The Modi policy:
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15 last year, he sent an important message to the people of Baluchistan. He made it clear that the policy would not be a half-hearted one and India would go all out to support their cause.
Amar Bhushan says that Modi made it clear that India openly supports the cause, Baluchistan. Modi used the right forum to make this announcement and he was clear that India would go all out and not even worry about the Americans breathing down India’s neck. In the past we had a half-hearted policy on these issues, but now it is different, says Bhushan. The struggle in Baluchistan has been hijacked by external powers. Modi made it clear that India will play a bigger role in Baluchistan.
We need to keep making Pakistan feel the heat and lend support to all those people in the provinces who are trying to break away from Pakistan. It would be a Herculean task, but with this sort of policy that we have today, it is not impossible says Bhushan. In addition to this we need to support their cause on all international forums, he further adds.
How India benefits:
If the balkanisation of Pakistan takes place, then the power shifts in India’s favour. With Pakistan being reduced to a province, the power balance between China and India would be maintained.
In this scenario, the US too would play a big part. It may be recalled that a report that was published by the US Intelligence Council and CIAA in 2005 had predicted the balkanisation of Pakistan. This was a clear indicator that the US has been working on this strategy for long.
However, to overcome Pakistan, the first major step would be to weaken its army. Analysts say that this would happen rather quickly as the nation would soon be divided economically.
On the economic front too, India would stand to gain once Baluchistan becomes independent. First, Baluchistan comprises over 40% of Pakistan’s land mass. It also possesses natural gas, reserves of oil and mineral resources. The India-Iran pipeline corridor passes through Baluchistan and if it becomes independent, India would naturally be happy about it.
Last Updated 4:45 PM IST