Mirza Aslam Beg
OF the several activities of our national life, bearing on national security, two aspects, i.e., Defense and the Psycho-social, enjoy the status of National Power. These will be discussed briefly to identify the threat to our National Security Power Matrix, caused by the nexus: America and India, as well as by our own failings. By the Grace of Allah, Pakistan has achieved considerable success by developing state of the art weapon systems, such as tanks, guns, missiles, battleships (nuclear powered submarines under development) and the versatile fighter aircraft J-17. Our land forces have achieved 90% self-sufficiency in all kinds of weapon, equipment and ammunition. Thus, for the first time, since 1990s, Pakistan Army is maintaining war reserves of over forty days, whereas India could hardly manage ten days war reserves. India is suffering from chronic failures in achieving their primary goal of a regional power status. The recently published report by Times of India, says:
“The armed forces have virtually given the thumbs down to the proposed advanced versions of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft and Arjun main-battle tank by strongly pitching for mega acquisitions of foreign single-engine fighters and futuristic armoured fighting vehicles through the ‘Make in India’ route under the ‘strategic partnership (SP)’ policy.” “The Army last week issued the preliminary tender or request for information (RFI) to global armament giants for an initial 1,770 futuristic tanks called the future ready combat vehicles (FRCVs) geared for “rapid dominance in an expanded battle space”, while the IAF is getting set to do same for 114 single-engine fighters soon.”
“This comes in the backdrop of the defence ministry finalising the SP policy in May to boost the country’s fledgling defence production sector, which envisages Indian private sector companies producing cutting-edge weapon systems in collaboration with global arms majors through joint ventures and technology transfers, as earlier reported by TOI.” “The going will, however, not be easy for IAF and Army. For one, the annual defence budgets now have very little money for new projects with the bulk of the capital outlay being used for “committed liabilities” or installments of deals inked earlier. IAF’s single-engine fighter project, which will be a direct dogfight between Gripen-E (Sweden) and F-16 (US) jets, for instance, will alone cost an estimated Rs 1.15 lakh crore.” “Army is not willing to order 118 Arjun Mark-II tanks, costing over Rs 6,600 crore, till they clear field trials.”The FRCV project, if it takes off, will kill indigenous FMBT project,” said a scientist. But all this cuts little ice with forces, which say DRDO-defence PSU lobby “over-promises and then under-delivers” with huge time and cost overruns. “Can operational military readiness be sacrificed at the altar of indigenization?” asked a Lt Gen.”
“IAF, for instance, says Tejas is yet to become combat-ready or achieve “final operational clearance” after being in the making for over three decades.”Moreover, with its limited range and weapon carrying capacity, the Tejas simply does not give IAF the punch and cost-effectiveness it needs. Tejas, which has just about 50% of the capabilities of an F-16 or Gripen in terms of endurance, payload etc, will have to fly under the protection of other fighters during conflicts,” said an officer. Grappling with just 33 fighter squadrons when 42 are needed to take care of the “collusive threat” from China and Pakistan, the IAF feels the single-engine fighter project is necessary to maintain adequate force-levels till an entirely new Tejas Mark-2 becomes a reality.”
No doubt Indian Armed Forces suffers from serious weaknesses, that would take them considerable time to make-up the deficiencies. In the short term, therefore India would take advantage of the Strategic Defense Partnership (SDP) with America, to acquire high-tech weapon and equipment, to provide timely superiority over Pakistan, at the cutting-edge of technology, related to a few selected weapon systems, supported by cyber and electronic warfare technologies. This support would be easy to acquire from the members of the SDP, such as Israel, Australia and United Kingdom. Therefore, Pakistan doesn’t have to take it easy or be complacent about it, and must continue to upgrade, improve and modernize the existing military hardware.
In 1947, the moderate Muslims voted for Pakistan with “democracy as the system of governance based on the principle of Quran and Sunnah.” This was later affirmed by the 1973 Constitution given by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but he was soon pulled-down and so was democracy, by the Evil Nexus of 4As (America, Army, Adliah and the Allies). Matters got worse in 2007, when America invested US$ 1.5 Bn for perception management of the Pakistani nation, with the result that as a Nation, we now are more than half secular/liberal, creating “a dangerous unruly socio-political power vertical.” Such a situation arose in Indonesia in 1965, exploding into a civil war.
America launched the First Crusade in 9/11 and in the process destroyed and decimated Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Trump has now launched the Second Crusade, under the malicious logic: “Islam is a malignant cancer in the body of one billion and seven hundred million people on the planet and must be eradicated as we did with Communism and Nazism. We not only target sects but Muslims as a whole.” __ Trump’s national Security Advisor, General Flynn, who no longer is part of the Trump Administration. He was fired for the Russian connection. Trumps recent 9-day rushed visit to ‘Pivot Asia’ was to seek confirmation, that the plan could be implemented, starting with Lebanon, to dismantle Iranian ingress around the Arabian Peninsula. The purpose is to redraw the map of Middle East and eliminate the threat of Islam. In order to protect their base of offensive, they would retain their military control over Afghanistan, despite the impending shameful retreat waiting for them. They have no plan for a negotiated settlement of Afghan problem, but the treacherous motive is to turn Afghan into Daeshtan for all the neighbouring countries.
Pakistan has faced challenges of myriad dimensions during the last three decades, yet it is politically stable despite weak governance and poor decision making. Now the focus is on the election 2018 that would lead the nation to a stable democratic order. Pakistan has found its rightful place internationally, based on geo-political and geo-economic cooperative relationship – the forceful trend sweeping the region, that would actualise a peaceful environment, without fighting a war. The unruly psycho-social power imbalance is self-created and dangerously embedded into our national psyche. A very strong socio-political surge, therefore, is needed to correct this dangerous drift. Our national institutions are fully functional though some are debased by corruption and mismanagement but they do provide the hope for an uninterrupted stable democratic order.
— The writer, a retired 4-star General, is former COAS, Pakistan Army.
Mirza Aslam Beg