WASHINGTON – As part of change in its strategy, a major section of Pakistan Army wants to give dialogue with India a chance, but wants to retain all other options including sub-conventional warfare, according to the 'Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan,' a new book by author Aqil Shah.
“As one major general put it, ‘we should give talking to India a chance, but retain all options, including sub-conventional warfare, to deal with India’,” said Aqil who does not identify the major general who he interviewed. The Harvard University has published the book, released in the US. Aqil is a lecturer in the Department of Politics at the prestigious Princeton University.
“Giving the multiplicity of perceived threats Pakistan and its material weakness, many officers reluctantly admit that Islamabad's traditional Indian policy – namely, unconditional support of the Kashmir’s right to self-determination in line with the UN resolutions – may not be yielding the desired dividend and needs to be carefully re-evaluated,” he wrote.
“Hence some advocate giving dialogue a chance and approaching all issues with an open mind. Several officers see dialogue with India as an opportunity to engage in the management of regional conflicts to enhance Pakistani security without compromising the basic stance on Kashmir,” wrote Aqil, who among others interviewed four service chiefs and three heads of the intelligence service for the book.
“Despite disagreement on the best way to proceed, there is a consensus that protecting the national interest on Kashmir will require negotiating from a position of strength that can be achieved only by putting Pakistan's internal house in order,” the author said. According to the book, another army officer said the military's capability to take proxy wars to enemy territory, nuclear deterrence and strong diplomatic efforts are needed to secure Pakistan.
Referring to the recent moves by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif government to improve relations with India, Aqil noted that if the past was any guide, it seems unlikely that the government can succeed in actually brokering a meaningful peace with India without the blessing of the military.