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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Modi worsens India’s doctrinal muddle


http://indiatogether.org/modi-worsens-india-s-doctrinal-muddle-op-ed

The current time on the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is set at three minutes to midnight. Had there been such a clock for South Asia, it would have oscillated between four and five minutes to nuclear reckoning.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stopover late last year at Lahore on his return trip from Moscow had the potential to set a hypothetical South Asian Doomsday Clock back by a couple of minutes.
Even so, the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airfield demonstrates that the additional minutes gained between now and nuclear reckoning by the outbreak of India-Pakistan bonhomie may not be good enough.  
What needs to be done is clear: setting back the South Asian Doomsday Clock finally and for good. This would require bringing India’s emerging strategic doctrine i.e the organising principles and ideas on which national security and foreign policy are based  in sync with its military - defence and nuclear - doctrine.
The prime minister’s speech to the military brass gathered aboard INS Vikramaditya for the Combined Commanders’ conference provides a starting point for identifying the doctrinal disconnect that needs reconciling.

FOR FULL ARTICLE SEE - http://indiatogether.org/modi-worsens-india-s-doctrinal-muddle-op-ed

Strategically, better relations are important from the point of view of South Asia being hostage to the success of the next set of would-be jihadis. For illustration, had the jihadis succeeded in destroying a few aircrafts on the Pathankot airfield, the fallout from the attack would have been markedly different.
Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor (NSA) forced on the back-foot by the controversial response, would have been left with little personal option than to recommend a hard response. An embarrassed government with little clue – judging from the ‘foot in mouth’ wrangle its defence and home ministers got it into following the Pathankot episode – would have seized war as the option, even if its foreign ministerruled that out only a fortnight ago.
Here Modi’s outlining of the military doctrine at the conference kicks in. He articulated it thus: “We need capabilities to win swift wars, for we will not have the luxury of long drawn battles.”
Little does Modi’s speech writer know that neither of these – ‘swift wars’ nor ‘long drawn battles’ – are in India’s interest. While long drawn battles are self-evidently unaffordable, ‘swift wars’ on that account are no more appealing, since wrapping up wars swiftly is easier said than done.
A potential scenario on the western front illustrates this. 
FOR FULL ARTICLE SEE http://indiatogether.org/modi-worsens-india-s-doctrinal-muddle-op-ed
If India generates a 1965 war like situation on the western front - in which its valiant forces actually crossed the Ichhogil Canal only to be called back - the denouement this time round would be different. It is unlikely that, Pakistan would give up the fight like it did in 1971.
It could instead be stampeded into hasty decisions. Pakistan’s foreign secretary has only last September officially let on that Pakistan would go nuclear with tactical nuclear weapons.
India’s possible nuclear response has been reinforced by Modi in his speech thus: “Our strategic deterrence is robust and reliable, in accordance with our nuclear doctrine, and our political will is clear.”
In effect, he promises retaliation will be in accord with India’s nuclear doctrine: ‘massive’ irrespective of the type of nuclear first use by Pakistan. Such an exercise of ‘political will’ by India’s Political Council of its Nuclear Command Authority would certainly be genocidal and since Pakistan has a lead on India in terms of warhead numbers, it would also be suicidal.

FOR FULL ARTICLE SEE - http://indiatogether.org/modi-worsens-india-s-doctrinal-muddle-op-ed

The doctrinal disconnect has been brought out by the military advisor in National Security Council Secretariat, who writing in a Ministry of Defence think tank’s publication, Journal of Defence Studies (p. 61), says:
"If the nuclear shadow demanded war avoidance as a political outcome, the operational sphere attempted to keep alive the notion of victory despite the risk of mutual annihilation ... operational doctrines that are not nested in a realistic political context."
While it appears that Modi’s strategic doctrine is a product of his national security staff, he has inherited a military doctrine predicated on a ‘short war’. He acknowledges that there is much to be done. In his speech, he said, “we look to our Armed Forces to prepare for the future. And, it cannot be achieved by doing more of the same, or preparing perspective plans based on outdated doctrines....”
The problem is that his solution in the speech is based on ‘outdated doctrine’. The prime minister feels “our forces and our government need to do more to reform their beliefs, doctrines, objectives and strategies.” Rectifying the disconnect between strategic and military doctrines must be on in the busy Sardar Patel Bhawan, the site of the National Security Council Secretariat.
Clearly, India cannot resolve the doctrinal muddle alone, it has to do so in league with Pakistan. Doctrinal reconciliation is predicated on Modi keeping up the promise in his reference to “the NSA-level dialogue (designed) to bring security experts face to face with each other.” That the two NSAs met once again, this time in Dubai, is a positive sign towards this end.
Even so, Modi appears to hedge his bets. His caveat to his changed Pakistan policy is indicative: “we will test their intentions to define the path ahead ... But, we will never drop our guard on security and we will continue to judge progress on their commitments on terrorism.”



FOR FULL ARTICLE SEE - http://indiatogether.org/modi-worsens-india-s-doctrinal-muddle-op-ed

Putting off foreign secretary talks suggests that India has not quite turned a corner. While Pakistan has taken action to rein in the Jaish-e-Mohammad it can be hazarded that its chief Maulana Masood Azhar would be back on the streets sooner than later, giving India another excuse to ease up on talks.
This is no way to push back the South Asian Doomsday Clock. Only doing so ensures that “the effort is worth it, because the peace dividends are huge and the future of our children is at stake.” There would be no future in case the next bunch of jihadis pushes the Clock across the midnight hour.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ram Madhav's Akhand Bharat and Modi’s Pakistan policy

http://www.milligazette.com/news/13543-ram-madhavs-akhand-bharat-and-modis-pakistan-policy



In his appearance at Al Jazeera’s Head to Head programme with Mehdi Hasan, Ram Madhav has let on that the RSS agenda is Akhand Bharat. By way of explanation, he had it that this would be a cultural or civilisational reunion, a willing one and not one by force or conquest.

While on the surface there is little to take umbrage in such an aspiration of regional integration, the devil as they say is in the details.

Indeed, this analyst had made a case for a regional union in an earlier piece in this publication, arguing that this would be beneficial not only for the larger good, but also for Muslim security. Security in numbers would be feasible with the addition of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims sharing a regional affinity and affiliation with India’s Muslims; and therefore restoring the original balance between the communities in the subcontinent. Hindus for their part would be preserved from a takeover by the ideology of Hindutva, that, according to Madhav posits, ‘one culture, one people, one nation’, putting paid to the time-honoured notion of ‘unity in diversity’.

Since the RSS is the power behind the ruling party in the government today, it can be understood that the government would be doing its bidding on this front too. Such action need not be up front and may be sequenced behind other priorities such as ushering in ‘acche din’, but cannot be overlooked as a potential lodestar for the government.

The RSS is already clearly at it in what is called its ‘Semitisation’ of Hinduism. The emphasis on the Bhagwad Gita; the return of Brahmanical rituals which even foreign visiting heads of state are now subjected to on the banks of the Ganga; turning up of bricks at Ayodhya to provide Hinduism its very own Mecca; return to the ‘give us three mosques’ formula through their Rasputin, Subramaniam Swamy, etc. are examples.

Ram Madhav takes this a step further in his sometimes comical performance at the Oxford Union.

With an India centralized along Hindutva lines, the next step would be gaining control of the subcontinent. To Madhav, it would be a return to 1200 years ago. He referred to the manner the Balochis and Sindhis allegedly view Pakistan. It appears he believes they are ripe for insurrection, leading to a break up of Pakistan. This would then perhaps yield up the Akhand Bharat of his dreams. Presumably, the Hindus united under a saffron flag and Muslims ethnically at each other’s throats, would enable Akhand Bharat.

It is apparent that there are differing versions of Akhand Bharat. One is institutional along the lines of the European Union in which the sovereign states get together voluntarily to increase their collective prosperity and security through agreed upon rules, laws, procedures and institutions. There is little to argue in this, with SAARC serving as a proto South Asian Union for the future. The second version is that of the RSS as articulated by Ram Madhav, in which accession to an Indian (read Hindu) dominated region state is brought about by the dismemberment (for a second time round following the first one in 1971) of Pakistan.

Given that the ruling party in the government may be sharing the RSS view, if covertly, it bears discerning if this is so and to what extent. There is little doubt that the SAARC is currently the least effective regional organisation in the world and South Asia is the least integrated region. The India-Pakistan rivalry is at the root of this, and much of the blame can easily be laid at Pakistan’s door. For instance, it denies India MFN status; prevents its access by land to Afghanistan; and is the fount of terrorism in the region. India for its part is the core of South Asia and not wanting to be ‘big brother’ allows for a leisured pace in regional integration, lest any haste on its part is misinterpreted by its smaller neighbours who may then renege or bandwagon with China. Nevertheless, India is staying the course, best evidenced by the possibility of Mr. Modi heading for Islamabad come September for the SAARC summit, given life by his flying visit to Lahore for Nawaz Sharif last Christmas. That is indeed the way to go in so far as a measured way to a regional identity goes.

However, in case this is complicated by Hindutva’s ideological shadow over India’s motives, reaching further would be unlikely.

To what extent is there an ideological shadow over India’s Pakistan policy? From the contretemps surrounding the Pathankot terror attack early this month, it is not entirely certain that the latest twist in India’s Pakistan policy is uncontaminated by ideology. While well wishers of peace would like to believe that Mr. Modi’s initiative is in the tradition of Vajpayee’s politically bold reaching out, the initiative must nevertheless be subject to hard-headed analysis as to motives, next steps and potential outcomes.

Mr. Modi has gone overboard in courting Mr. Sharif. In doing so he is opening up a schism between ‘official’ Pakistan and its ‘deep state’. Whereas in this round of détente between India and Pakistan, there are all indications that the Pakistani army is on board, the pace of this and seizure of initiative by Mr. Modi on this would lend it pause. In India’s establishment version of the Pathankot terror episode, the deep state has struck back. Using the opportunity, India at the time of writing has indicated that it would not proceed with the foreign secretary talks until Pakistan cracks down on the Jaish-e Mohammad, which India says is behind the attack. This tough line enables India to open up yet another schiIn his appearance at Al Jazeera’s Head to Head programme with Mehdi Hasan, Ram Madhav has let on that the RSS agenda is Akhand Bharat. By way of explanation, he had it that this would be a cultural or civilisational reunion, a willing one and not one by force or conquest.

While on the surface there is little to take umbrage in such an aspiration of regional integration, the devil as they say is in the details.

Indeed, this analyst had made a case for a regional union in an earlier piece in this publication, arguing that this would be beneficial not only for the larger good, but also for Muslim security. Security in numbers would be feasible with the addition of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims sharing a regional affinity and affiliation with India’s Muslims; and therefore restoring the original balance between the communities in the subcontinent. Hindus for their part would be preserved from a takeover by the ideology of Hindutva, that, according to Madhav posits, ‘one culture, one people, one nation’, putting paid to the time-honoured notion of ‘unity in diversity’.

Since the RSS is the power behind the ruling party in the government today, it can be understood that the government would be doing its bidding on this front too. Such action need not be up front and may be sequenced behind other priorities such as ushering in ‘acche din’, but cannot be overlooked as a potential lodestar for the government.

The RSS is already clearly at it in what is called its ‘Semitisation’ of Hinduism. The emphasis on the Bhagwad Gita; the return of Brahmanical rituals which even foreign visiting heads of state are now subjected to on the banks of the Ganga; turning up of bricks at Ayodhya to provide Hinduism its very own Mecca; return to the ‘give us three mosques’ formula through their Rasputin, Subrahmanyam Swamy, etc. are examples.

Ram Madhav takes this a step further in his sometimes comical performance at the Oxford Union.

With an India centralized along Hindutva lines, the next step would be gaining control of the subcontinent. To Madhav, it would be a return to 1200 years ago. He referred to the manner the Balochis and Sindhis allegedly view Pakistan. It appears he believes they are ripe for insurrection, leading to a break up of Pakistan. This would then perhaps yield up the Akhand Bharat of his dreams. Presumably, the Hindus united under a saffron flag and Muslims ethnically at each other’s throats, would enable Akhand Bharat.

It is apparent that there are differing versions of Akhand Bharat. One is institutional along the lines of the European Union in which the sovereign states get together voluntarily to increase their collective prosperity and security through agreed upon rules, laws, procedures and institutions. There is little to argue in this, with SAARC serving as a proto South Asian Union for the future. The second version is that of the RSS as articulated by Ram Madhav, in which accession to an Indian (read Hindu) dominated region state is brought about by the dismemberment (for a second time round following the first one in 1971) of Pakistan.

Given that the ruling party in the government may be sharing the RSS view, if covertly, it bears discerning if this is so and to what extent. There is little doubt that the SAARC is currently the least effective regional organisation in the world and South Asia is the least integrated region. The India-Pakistan rivalry is at the root of this, and much of the blame can easily be laid at Pakistan’s door. For instance, it denies India MFN status; prevents its access by land to Afghanistan; and is the fount of terrorism in the region. India for its part is the core of South Asia and not wanting to be ‘big brother’ allows for a leisured pace in regional integration, lest any haste on its part is misinterpreted by its smaller neighbours who may then renege or bandwagon with China. Nevertheless, India is staying the course, best evidenced by the possibility of Mr. Modi heading for Islamabad come September for the SAARC summit, given life by his flying visit to Lahore for Nawaz Sharif last Christmas. That is indeed the way to go in so far as a measured way to a regional identity goes.

However, in case this is complicated by Hindutva’s ideological shadow over India’s motives, reaching further would be unlikely.

To what extent is there an ideological shadow over India’s Pakistan policy? From the contretemps surrounding the Pathankot terror attack early this month, it is not entirely certain that the latest twist in India’s Pakistan policy is uncontaminated by ideology. While well wishers of peace would like to believe that Mr. Modi’s initiative is in the tradition of Vajpayee’s politically bold reaching out, the initiative must nevertheless be subject to hard-headed analysis as to motives, next steps and potential outcomes.

Mr. Modi has gone overboard in courting Mr. Sharif. In doing so he is opening up a schism between ‘official’ Pakistan and its ‘deep state’. Whereas in this round of détente between India and Pakistan, there are all indications that the Pakistani army is on board, the pace of this and seizure of initiative by Mr. Modi on this would lend it pause. In India’s establishment version of the Pathankot terror episode, the deep state has struck back. Using the opportunity, India at the time of writing has indicated that it would not proceed with the foreign secretary talks until Pakistan cracks down on the Jaish-e Mohammad, which India says is behind the attack. This tough line enables India to open up yet another schism in Pakistan, between its ‘deep state’ and ‘rogue’ elements out to wreck the emerging bonhomie with India. India in one fell swoop has created two schisms between three actors.

If Pakistani hardliners are to be believed, India is behind some of the disaffection in Baluchistan and even behind some of the terrorism Pakistan has been subject to. One Pakistani analyst outshouted even Arnab Goswami to claim that the handlers of the terrorists who attacked the school in Peshawar spoke in Hindi.

In so far as all this is ‘normal’ intelligence work and is to pay back Pakistan in its own coin, it is unexceptionable. However, in so far as India’s intelligence activity is outside of checks and balances of democratic governance, such as parliamentary and executive scrutiny, then there is a problem on hand. The generation of instability in Pakistan can then be seen as the initial part of the Ram Madhav’s way to Akhand Bharat. Indeed, India’s proximity with Israel, set to grow with Mr. Modi’s impending visit there close on the heels of the President’s last year, indicates that India is borrowing from Israel’s strategy copybook of keeping its periphery in turmoil for its own security. While Israel is using the Israeli lobby in the US to make US continue generating instability across the Middle East, India is relying on its own resources. A Pakistan down the tube is in this perspective taken as in India’s interest since it would leave India without a regional irritant, if not a strategic competitor, to deal with.

This implies both Ayodhya and Lahore are interlinked. Hindutva renders India’s domestic politics and foreign policy seamless. Even as India is transformed by Hindutva in its own image, South Asia is made ripe for a takeover by such an India. Neither of the two possibilities – increasingly distinct by the day – is heartening. Though Ram Madhav has raised a spectre, he needs being thanked for prematurely letting the cat out of bag.sm in Pakistan, between its ‘deep state’ and ‘rogue’ elements out to wreck the emerging bonhomie with India. India in one fell swoop has created two schisms between three actors.

If Pakistani hardliners are to be believed, India is behind some of the disaffection in Baluchistan and even behind some of the terrorism Pakistan has been subject to. One Pakistani analyst outshouted even Arnab Goswami to claim that the handlers of the terrorists who attacked the school in Peshawar spoke in Hindi.

In so far as all this is ‘normal’ intelligence work and is to pay back Pakistan in its own coin, it is unexceptionable. However, in so far as India’s intelligence activity is outside of checks and balances of democratic governance, such as parliamentary and executive scrutiny, then there is a problem on hand. The generation of instability in Pakistan can then be seen as the initial part of the Ram Madhav’s way to Akhand Bharat. Indeed, India’s proximity with Israel, set to grow with Mr. Modi’s impending visit there close on the heels of the President’s last year, indicates that India is borrowing from Israel’s strategy copybook of keeping its periphery in turmoil for its own security. While Israel is using the Israeli lobby in the US to make US continue generating instability across the Middle East, India is relying on its own resources. A Pakistan down the tube is in this perspective taken as in India’s interest since it would leave India without a regional irritant, if not a strategic competitor, to deal with.

This implies both Ayodhya and Lahore are interlinked. Hindutva renders India’s domestic politics and foreign policy seamless. Even as India is transformed by Hindutva in its own image, South Asia is made ripe for a takeover by such an India. Neither of the two possibilities – increasingly distinct by the day – is heartening. Though Ram Madhav has raised a spectre, he needs being thanked for prematurely letting the cat out of bag.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The conspiracy angle to the Pathankot episode
http://kashmirtimes.com/newsdet.aspx?q=48483

In the pro-establishment version, the anti-terror operation in Pathankot was triggered by the Pakistani ‘deep state’ unwilling to countenance potential success of the initiatives unleashed by Mr. Modi in his characteristic style of bold leadership. The ‘deep state’ was therefore out to derail it, just as it had truncated the earlier Lahore peace process. While this time the scale of their action was not quite another Kargil, they were messaging their disapproval not only to India but also to India’s interlocutors, in particular Nawaz Sharif, and pro-India constituencies in Pakistan such as business interests. In so far as there were drawbacks in the operational conduct, there was mention of security gaps in the media coverage of the visit of the defence minister accompanied by the army and air chiefs.
There is much to commend the pro-establishment version of the episode. Pakistan’s ‘deep state’ comprising its army and the ISI, while of a piece with Pakistan reaching out to India, are wary of India attempting to set the pace. The army has attempted to retain control by replacing the National Security Adviser with a former military man. Yet, they are worried by initiatives such as Mr. Modi’s stopover in Lahore, evident from the Pakistani NSA keeping aloof from the function. They are also perhaps as confused as ordinary Indians are over the periodic about turns in Mr. Modi’s Pakistan policy, which at last count were on four occasions, with the foreign secretary talks currently lined up in Islamabad being potentially the fifth. For its part, as a preemptive measure, Pakistan was quick in its condemnation and expression of solidarity with India. Even if the ‘deep state’ is not implicated, there are elements, the so-called ‘rogue’ elements, who may want to throw a spanner in the works for their own autonomous reasons and self-interest, including terrorist organizations either hell bent on seeing Kashmir not as a resolvable territorial dispute but a millennial struggle against non-believers or for more prosaic reasons as self-perpetuity.
The plausibility of this narrative aside, there is another version that needs airing, given ballast by the contradictions in the establishment’s story of what happened. While loose ends can be expected in fast developing stories, certain elements in the ‘Pathankot’ story suggest the possibility of a counter narrative. This can be derided as a ‘conspiracy’ theory, but we must not on that account dismiss it overly quickly.
While Ajit Doval is a man of action and has acted true to form and reputation in this case by seizing the leadership of the operation, his alacrity suggests there may be more to it than personality issues alone. The second element that has been noted widely is the mysterious role of the Superintendent of Police of a neighbouring district in the initial and, as it turned out, critical phase, of the operation. The two suggest a critical look at the statist narrative. 
Delivering the tenth Nani Palkhiwala memorial lecture at the Sastra University down south prior to taking over as NSA (his famous ‘you will lose Balochistan’ speech), Ajit Doval had virtually given out his manifesto on how he would tackle national security given the chance. The chance arrived a couple of months later in the form of the Modi wave, which he did much to create such as by energizing the strategic community against the incumbent government being in strategic stupor. Doval’s exposition of ‘defensive offence’ includes a reference to buying terrorists off, exploiting their vulnerability for funds, as he puts it, ‘if they have a budget of 1200 crores we can match it with 1800 crores, they are all on our side’ (1 hr: 3 min). To him they are not ‘great fighters’ but are mercenaries, unemployed and misguided. He wants to ‘match them (Pakistan), with money by money.’  In effect, terrorists can be bought off and employed to one’s own ‘covert’ purposes. Doval beguilingly states, ‘you know the tricks, we know the tricks’.
This implies terrorist organizations across the border can be manipulated into doing our intelligence bidding if the price is right. Terrorist handlers can then dispatch would-be jihadists to gain paradise in India. This is what ‘black flag’ operations comprise of, a stock in trade of the men in ‘the trade’ as intelligence practitioners refer to their craft. There is suspicion on precedence to such operations, including in the parliament attack case which the gratuitous hanging of Afzal Guru has only served to reinforce. If the gambit succeeded in the more visible case of parliament attack, it would presumably be relatively easily to execute in close proximity of the border and of Kashmir, viz. Pathankot.
Even if the possibility of an Indian hand is ruled in, it still leaves us with having to explain the motive, particularly in face of the statist narrative best encapsulated by the Great Communicator Mr. Modi himself in his speech at the combined commanders’ conference as ‘try and turn the course of history’. If India’s Pakistan strategy is being reset for the better, it would be churlish to argue against it or to attempt prove otherwise. Indeed, this article attempts this difficult proposition.
The bonhomie on display between the two prime ministers, mostly driven by Mr. Modi, is in its being counter-productive to India’s Pakistan strategy a key give away that India’s Pakistan strategy is not quite what is made out in the statist narrative. If India is to improve relations with Pakistan, it is not quite Nawaz Sharif it has to embrace as it is doing, but to get the Pakistan army – the ‘deep state’ - alongside. It has failed earlier in relying on Nawaz Sharif and to expect India not to have learnt this lesson at Kargil is to be mean spirited on India’s strategic sense. In other words, Mr. Modi’s very public and effusive embrace of Nawaz Sharif is not so much as to put his eggs in Sharif’s basket as to provoke an internal schism in Pakistan, between the ‘liberals’ – wanting better ties with India to ward of the clear and present danger at their door step - and the ‘deep state’, that could ally with the clear and present danger of extremism if only to get back at India.
Doval has indicated as much in his famous ‘Balochistan’ speech (at the 58 min mark). He wishes to ‘start working on the vulnerabilities of Pakistan, it can be economic, it can be internal security, political… making it difficult to manage internal political balance or internal security ….’ India’s stratagem of reaching out visibly to Nawaz Sharif can be expected to generate a backlash that can only rebound on the strategy’s success. Consequently, the strategy of ‘reaching out’ is not reliant on Nawaz Sharif prevailing over his opposition, but intended instead to divide and thereby generate the desired negative internal political dynamics in Pakistan such as another praetorian tryst. This will create one more front for the Pakistan army to manage, thereby spreading it thin; increasing Pakistan’s vulnerability to the enemy at the gates. The strategy’s intent therefore is for getting Pakistan’s army to its knees, enabling India to set the terms.
The Modi-Doval doctrine cannot be less ambitious or any more benign than this. Theirs’ is not a UPA requiem. The principal problem remains how to manage the Pakistan army and this is the only possible strategy that can be attributed to the duo since in analysis in their case the role of personality cannot be wished away.
This is a counter narrative that must be out there even as we hope and pray that even if plausible it is not true. The fact is that a consummate intelligence man is at the helm of national security and reporting to a seemingly implacable boss. In his lecture, Doval has of the three modes – defensive, defensive offence and offensive - ruled out the defensive mode as that of UPA and the offensive as too military reliant in light of the nuclear threshold. His dispensing with the military in Pathankot indicates he is consciously relying on the intelligence instrument.
The Pathankot episode was to set up a three cornered faceoff in Pakistan. It is to decelerate on talks process by blaming the ‘deep state’ so as to set ‘official’ Pakistan against it and to also perhaps set the ‘deep state’ against extremists to the extent the ‘deep state’ wishes to ameliorate relations with India and is unable to do so due to actions of extremists such as JeM’s Masood Azhar blamed by India for the attack.

This brings one back to the two indicators that the Pathankot episode has an intelligence angle that cannot be wished away. This intelligence angle was facilitated by the SP’s car enabling the access of the terrorists into vicinity of the air base. Doval’s alacrity in handling the episode and use of the National Security Guard – more amenable to such handling than the army – suggests he wanted to ensure an early termination so as to keep the intelligence angle under wraps. To the extent the narrative here is taken as the conspiracy theory, he has succeeded. To the extent it carries any credence it can serve as a check. India – nay, South Asia - cannot afford otherwise.