By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
Several weeks ago, when we test fired Ababeel, I questioned the sanity of nuclear one upmanship by both Pakistan and India, whilst our teeming millions wallow in abject misery and terrible poverty.
I still maintain that position. But and it's a big mother of all buts, the responsibility for this madness lies clearly on Indian shoulders.
India started this nuclear arms race, refused a Strategic Restraint offer from Pakistan, and now has moved away from its No First Strike strategy, in all but name.
India conveniently uses this NFS mantra in international forums to try and keep Pakistan on the back foot which neither Pakistan or anybody in the world buys into. They obfuscate the matter by bringing in terrorism et al, while conveniently side stepping Kashmir, which for Pakistan, is the core issue bedevelling our relationship. One can, of course debate whether it is so, but we must not forget that both countries have tried moving ahead by ignoring the Big Kashmiri White Elephant, and failed to achieve even a basic working relationship.
The Musharraf 4 point formula was the closest the two countries ever got. So, we must accept the reality that unless the Kashmir issue is addressed, we can't have a working relationship. At least for now.
Recently the glib talking Indian movie star aspirant Sashil Thuroor, with the other "Indian" Husain Haqqani, sitting next to him at some forum, repeated the same mantra by bringing up everyone's favorite whipping bad boy, The Pakistan Army, and disdainfully phoo phooing Kashmir, in his pretentiously anglicized Indian accented English.
Well if India doesn't want to recognize and address the real problem in earnest and with sincerity, but uses the bogey of the Pakistan Army to whip up hysteria, then unfortunately we will have to continue this terrible and wasteful arms race.
Otherwise given India's current belligerence and Modi, anything is possible.
The ball today, is in India's court. And no amount of harking back to the past and bringing up real or perceived Pakistani threats or adventures, can justify the threat Pakistan today faces from a Modi government.
And our super hyperventilating Amn Ki Aasha types must be conscious of current ground realities. While we're not war mongers, but lets not also be the "turning the other cheek" type.
And no, dear Amn ki Asha, our Army doesn't keep the "Kashmir" bogey alive to keep it relevant. But for the Army, you'd not be in a Pakistan as we know it.
Our survival is paramount and not because we are a "security state" as goes the Indian lobby, but because our survival is constantly under threat. India commenced it efforts to break up the fledgling state as early as the late 50's via Baluchistan.
Strongly recommend a read of the article Vipin spills the beans
by Ambassador Zamir Akram on the dangerously changing contours of Indian military doctrine towards Pakistan.