Military News Analysis -What India should do in the likely event of a Pakistani coup in which President Musharraf is overthrown?

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New York, with inputs from our Washington Bureau:

The question is what should India do in the eventuality of a Pakistani Civil War or a coup in which President Musharraf is overthrown?

The takeover of an abandoned military airfield by the Jihadis in Pakistan is an ominous sign. If they can block highways for days together, take over airfields and threaten the Pakistani regular army with a Jihad, if they are not allowed to cross over into Afghanistan; then how can e be sure that they cannot snatch a few of the scattered Pakistani nuclear warheads?

We could have an unpleasant surprise one of these days that a small but determined section the Pakistani army has encircled the Airports, Radio Stations, Presidential Palace

This is no longer idle talk and we could have an unpleasant surprise one of these days that a small but determined section the Pakistani army has encircled the airports, radio stations, Presidential Palace and has announced the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Pakistan. With the regime of President Musharraf becoming history overnight, we would be faced with a nuclear capable Jihad. While the US may belatedly counter this development by its much hyped strikes to acquire Pakistan's nuclear assets, the situation for India could be calamitous.

In this scenario what could be the right policy for India? If India can undertake desperate but necessary action, before the fall of the Musharraf regime, by firing its ICBMs at the site where Pakistan has stockpiled it nuclear arsenal then India would be really take the cake. But we doubt that India can and will take such a bold but necessary initiative. So assuming a post Musharraf scenario, India will have to move in and carry out the above raids after the President is overthrown. If India fails to do so even at that juncture then we can only say "God save India".

India's undesirable, but inevitable entry into the global War against Terror

An unorthodox Strategy for India would be to immediately start off today with a feverish weaponization program while the going is good. To do America's job of undertaking pre-emptive or post pre-emptive(!) strikes on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Needless to add that an Indo-Pakistan war would be the fallout. And more significantly this war would signal India's undesirable, but inevitable entry into the global War against Terror.

India could witness small cross-country fires in the event of a Jihadi takeover of Pakistan.

Assuming that India decides to do this after the Pakistani President is put paid, then would that be enough? Not really, since by then there would be a section of the Indian population that itself would have become restive. Those who are Musharraf's devils today, would by then have become India's devils. The scenes that we witness today at Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi Islamabad would be enacted in many Indian cities. The happenings in Malegaon (in the Western Indian province of Maharashtra) is a barometer of Muslim rage in India. With a history of restive Hindu-Muslim relations which are on edge at the best of times, we can safely predict that India could witness small cross-country fires in the event of a Jihadi takeover of Pakistan.

Here comes the unorthodox part. India would have to be ready for a show that involves action by the IAF (India Air Force) over Indian territory. If, in this scenario, India gets bogged down with controlling nationwide communal conflagrations, then a large part of the Indian army and paramilitary forces would be tied down within Indian territory, diverting the attention and resources from the borders with Pakistan (and Bangladesh). This would be for India, a war on, not Two Fronts, but on Innumerable Fronts. Here the role of Al Qaida family organisations like the SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) would be ominous.

If India wants to outwit the challenge of subversion from within, then an unorthodox move of the IAF undertaking bombing sorties over those parts of the country where the subversive elements could create trouble, would have to be faced with. Subversive elements which technically hold Indian citizenship, but have their hearts with the terrorists. To tackle such elements firmly and decisively we need to take inspiration from Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the legendary Maratha Hindu warrior king who overcame the burly Afzal Khan by using deception, surprise and decisiveness.

In tomorrow's context, this could translate to the IAF dropping low potency payloads on those parts of the country where subversive elements dominate.

We need not elaborate here. We hope this pre-emptive reasoning finds place on the tactical planning being undertaken today at the South Block. And if there is any diffidence in the full-scale and organised use of Indian armed forces against sections of the Indian population, they need only remember - Operation Bluestar.

Read other pages bringing you an Analysis of the Latest Global News at

- Eugene Wesley

On behalf of the team



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