Cornered Pakistan may strike India to salvage lost pride

TNN

Deeply embarrassed by the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden under its nose, the Pakistan army might be tempted to ratchet up hostility towards India and even encourage the terror proxies it controls to stage strikes on the Indian mainland, the Indian security establishment feels.

The Pakistan army is having to deal with not just the disbelief of foreign governments over its claims of being unaware of Osama being in Abbottabad, a crowded city with a heavy military presence, but some hostile questioning at home as well. Its claims of being able to thwart any intrusion – protecting sovereignty being the army’s USP – have been dealt a hard blow by the US action.

There is a view that the Pakistan military may look to recover lost prestige by diverting popular attention towards India and army chief Ashfaq Kiyani’s aggressive response to Indian Army chief V K Singh’s claim that India could stage an Abbottabad-type operation indicates as much. In a statement, the Pakistan army said it would respond strongly to any Indian “misadventure.”

It serves the Pakistan army’s purpose to feed popular paranoia about India and the possibility of Islamabad’s “nuclear jewels” being under threat. A flare up of regional tensions can help turn the spotlight from its failures at a time when US law makers are asking why another dollar should be paid to an ally who might have harboured Osama.

While opening the terror tap at a time when its reputation as jihad central stands highlighted in bold is a risky path to tread, militarists may be guided by very short term calculations, security sources feel.

Keeping in mind the unsettled state of affairs in Pakistan with analysts agreeing that India would top the list of Pakistan army and ISI targets, the Indian security establishment is being doubly cautious to ensure that it does not provide any excuse for Pakistan to seize on to up tensions.

The present position of the Pakistan army, the country’s most powerful institution, also rules out possibility of an immediate military coup. As recently as 10 days ago, an assessment here spoke of the growing restlessness in the Pakistan army top brass with the political leadership. There were also inputs indicating ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha may have written directly to prime minister Yousuf Gilani expressing displeasure over some politicians for criticising ISI. “A coup is extremely unlikely in the present situation,” a senior official said.

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Posted by pilotpaul on May 6 2011. Filed under All News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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