Unilateral withdrawal will be suicidal

F Z Khan

One remembers Indian intelligence agency RAW’s founder chief Vikrum Suud’s article he wrote some years back in which he suggested to the Indian government and military establishment to shun the popular-among-Indian-strategists idea of launching an offensive through its armour divisions from Rajasthan’s side in order to ripe apart the Pakistani Punjab and Sindh entering from Bahawalpur and penetrating into Balochistan. Instead, he suggested, India should occupy Gilgit-Baltistan with the help of RAW-funded Balwaristan movement, cut off Pakistan’s Karakorum Highway link with China by keeping vigil from the Siachen heights, penetrate into NWFP via Swat and Kohistan, clear the supply line to Afghanistan via Wakhan and sandwich Pakistan from east and west… A similar kind of strategic notion is of late being given in the context of changing paradigms in the war tactics, including the use of water-terror at the time of need towards which the International Crisis Group has warned, according to CNN on May 6.
Those in Pakistan proposing unilateral withdrawal from Siachen among politicians like Nawaz Sharif, and among columnists like Ikram Sehgal and Imtiaz Alam, have a food for thought here. This shows how important to keep continuing the occupation of the Siachen heights is for the Indian army in order to gain military objectives in this region. Equally important is for Pakistan to keep continuing with the consolidated presence of its troops confronting the Soltoro heights occupied by the Indian forces. There is a war of Pakistan’s survival being fought and one cannot deny the analysis by our number of defence observers who oppose the proposal of a unilateral withdrawal of our forces from the critical Siachen region. Certainly, by withdrawing from the region, Pakistan would lose not just the world’s second highest K2 top, but also the entire strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region, the Karakorum Highway and its borders with China. “With India already occupying over 1,200 sq miles of Pakistani territory in the region, a unilateral withdrawal would mean a complete encirclement of Kashmir and a most disastrous national security crisis for Pakistan.” India is engaged in massive defense construction in the Glacier regions and has no intention of pulling back while it brings more and more hardware to consolidate its position.
To Syed W Hussain, Saichen is a sad example, and rightly so, of how the world is being destroyed with greed and intrigue. Leaders and populations of India, Pakistan and China should realize the importance of Glaciers to each of its neighbouring nations and leave it alone as a territory owned equally. In essence it should be cordoned off as an international preserve where only civilian explorers are allowed with permit from the UN. All hands off. This can only be achieved through negotiation and cultivation of trust and camaraderie. This applies equally to India, Pakistan and China.  I do not understand what is being gained by developing this area. All human developments are aimed at profiteering. Which is the poison killing this planet.  In Tajammal Hussain’s opinion, the claim to a region by any state is based on its past association and rule over it, India as a state cannot claim it, because it came into being after 1947. The Gulab Singh party never ruled it as such, as they were themselves a buffer state created for a purpose. In reality it has always been a part of our Sindh entity, which goes much more to the north, or North-east. It is way to far away, from the Ganga-Jamna midland, the Brahmans abode, though much later in time.
The hardships of this battlefield should not be counted on one side’s weakness but the decision to remain at front needs to be evaluated by one’s national interest no matter how much cost one has to pay. The 139 soldiers’ sacrifice is just one of the incidents, which the nation has been subjected to suffer. The sacrifices must not be converted into collective suicide.

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