India should go for covert warfare against Pakistan and look to target Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist and 26/11 attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, says Sreeram Chaulia.
India should go for covert warfare against Pakistan and look to target Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist and 26/11 attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, says Sreeram Chaulia, the Dean of Jindal School of International Affairs. Chaulia, who is a renowned Strategic Affairs expert, is of the view that if India blows up jihadist camps in Pakistan, China would not object. “In my view, India should go for covert warfare against Pakistan. We should have done that a long time ago. If we blow up a few jihadist camps in Pakistan, then China would not say much. After all, it has its own problem with jihadists in Xinjiang,” Chaulia told FE Online in context to India’s possible reaction after the Uri attack and the chances of a possible China interference. “Hafiz Saeed is a public figure in Pakistan. He is very commonly seen giving sermons on Fridays. We should just take him out, kill him. And this will happen sooner or later,” he said.
Asked how China may be weighing in the government’s mind with regards to countering Pakistan, Chaulia said, “China has its larger strategic interests to watch. China has its own bilateral ties to handle with us. But, as far as the Indus Waters Treaty goes, one has to be cautious.” “We have been crying foul on the Brahmaputra issue with China. So, if we abrogate the Indus treaty, we have no way of checkmating China over the Brahmaputra issue,” Chaulia feels. “I don’t think it is a wise strategy to get China into the picture. China has traditionally projected that India is the aggressor with regards to Pakistan. China is the so-called ‘all weather friend’ of Pakistan,” he warned.
In a hard-hitting speech at UNGA, MEA Sushma Swaraj also slammed Pakistan for allowing terrorists to openly hold celebrations and deliver sermons. Calls have been growing louder for a strong response to Pakistan after the Uri terror attack killed 18 Indian soldiers and injured 20 others. In that sense targeting terrorists like Hafiz Saeed may work well to send a crisp and no-nonsense message to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Modi government seems to have decided on taking the diplomatic route to dealing with Pakistan, instead of a big military retaliation. The government is looking to set up a panel to review the Indus Waters Treaty, a move that experts such as Chaulia have cautioned against. The Indus Waters Treaty defines rules for sharing the water of six rivers – Chenab, Jhelum, Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus – between the two countries. The Treaty was signed by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960. If India decides to abrogate the treaty, it will send a wrong message internationally, and also spread distrust among India’s other neighbours, feel experts.