ANALYSIS: Pakistani Home Minister’s Outcry Of ‘Final Battle If Attacked By India’

Read in your language:

Pakistan on Monday cautioned rival India against any military aggression, saying it could spiral into a mutually destructive “final battle” between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors, VOA News reported.

“The warning by Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed comes a day after his government formally alleged in a letter to the United Nations that New Delhi was planning to stage a cross-border attack.”
 
“If she [India] dared to threaten our borders, it will turn into the final battle that history will remember,” Rasheed told reporters in Islamabad.”
 
“Temple bells will stop ringing, grass will cease to grow, and birds will stop chirping,” the minister said, implicitly warning of a possible nuclear exchange with India in the event of a war.”

A defense and security analyst based in Asia-Pacific and specializing in US-China relations and South Asia, tells DesPardes, “This is very concerning”.

Why is it so, please elaborate?
Given the history of mutual belligerence and hostility, the presence of countervailing nuclear weapons in their arsenals, and an apparent belief that nuclear arms are not just a deterrent, but are war-fighting tools.

So you think the Minister’s statement about a mutually destructive “final battle” is credible?
While the public are not privy to Pakistan’s intelligence analyses, given the record, its warnings are perfectly credible. The question has to be, are the members of India’s National Command Authority listening?

A senior Pakistani military official however says it’s “a typical Sheikh Sahib boast…(He’s playing to the gallery…he doesn’t have an iota of understanding what’s going on between India and Pakistan.
Still, the Minister’s outcry has drawn lots of attention from some of the region’s independent observers. So we asked the Pakistani defense official some more questions:

Will President-elect Joe Biden intervene in your opinion, as Islamabad says US can persuade India to stop its subversive activities inside Pakistan?
Won’t happen to my reckoning. It’s an old order; even a disruption like Trump did not derail the budding Indo-US relationship.

The official adds:
Modi-led government is trying to adopt the model of “Deterrence by Punishment” as practiced by Israel (which has become their go-to model for many of their foreign policy and security portions).

In his view:
This is fundamentally flawed in the subcontinent, as nuclear deterrence rules out an all out conventional war, allowing a little window for limited (time, space and scope) based military option.

So it means, Islamabad’s most recent and your earlier statements about false flag based surgical strike, or an all out is a clear and imminent danger?
To the Indian bad luck, Pakistan can even it in a limited standoff, as demonstrated in Feb 2019.

Islamabad has said a false flag is India’s go-to now. Does the nation know about it? As it seems, there’s ambivalence in the political community on the change that has taken place and taking place in the region?
Pakistan appears to be disengaging from the old order (US, KSA) and testing uncharted waters (Turkey, Iran, China). If we can manage our house, I feel we are positioned favorably for future standoffs.

So you mean India is “all set” for a (mis)adventure in coming weeks or months?
Likely so, but Indian military capacities will be more overtly exhausted by engagement with China; its a new phenomenon. Should help Pakistan favorably.

A Gulf-based analyst adds:
The slide which began in India-Pakistan relations in August 2019, worsened in 2020, and it is unlikely to improve shortly.

According to the news report, the Pakistani military, air force and navy have been “put on a high alert,” including the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir, to guard against any possible “misadventure” by India. “The Indian government has not commented on Pakistani charges that it was plotting a military assault against the country.”