Should India Buy Weapons from Pakistan?

India is spending $11 billion on buying arms from US, Russia and others. If they spend one billion on buying weapons from the Pakistani military-industrial complex, they could have a reasonable chance of making peace with a vowed enemy in their backyard.

The eternal enmity that ensued with the partition has caused enough death and destruction in the sub-continent already, and the looming threat of nuclear war makes the future insecure. Some visionary leadership is needed to steer the future clear of this imminent death threat hanging over 1.5 billion lives.

Terrorism being the stumbling block, all efforts at negotiations between India and Pakistan came to naught once again. The suffering of the people and environment were ignored over patriotic ambitions, conspiratorial war-mongering and supremacy. In a conflict between two in-equal entities, initiative rests on the one who is bigger. A proactive approach, that engages Pakistan’s war-machinery in trade, might have some merit in diffusing this hostility that has the potential to produce the deadliest-ever-witnessed disaster, in the history of mankind.

The Krupp of Germany used to sell armaments to many countries that fought wars against Germany. A British company ‘Vickers’ was given the license to make Krupp time-fuses before WW1. Vickers was supposed to pay Krupp a fixed sum for every shell fired. After the defeat of Germany, Krupp claimed that money and settled with the British for a lower amount. There are examples in history on trade of weapons between hostile countries.

Dominance of the army over Pakistan is not a secret. The democratic set-up had to comply when Kerry-Lugar aid bill was disputed by the powers. Political signals of peace with India changed into rhetoric of un-ending war over Kashmir, in plain public view. It is the army of Pakistan that survives and thrives with an anti-India manifesto. Jane Perlez reporting on the extension of service for the ISI chief wrote in New York Times, “The announcement extending the tenure of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha as director of the spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, was formally made Wednesday by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. But it had been clear for weeks that General Kayani planned to keep General Pasha at his side, and that the weak civilian government would have little choice but to go along with it.”(Report dated March 10, 2010.)

Terrorism in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India is a proxy-war causing immense suffering and death. President Karzai of Afghanistan, on his recent visit to Pakistan said, “Afghanistan does not want any proxy wars on its territory. It does not want a proxy war between India and Pakistan on Afghanistan. It does not want a proxy war between Iran and the United States on Afghanistan. It does not want any country… to engage in any activity against another country in Afghanistan.” (Excerpt from the Dawn report, March 11, 2010.)

Afghanistan sent into oblivion after the defeat of Soviet Union, came back to haunt. No matter how deadly the enmity, no country could be dispatched to hell like that. Let alone a nuclear armed country like Pakistan. Those who patronize the indulgence in terrorism must be engaged in peaceful transaction. USA and China invest heavily in building Pakistan army. India, with the ambitions of becoming a super-power cannot afford to postpone involvement indefinitely. A policy of directly engaging Pakistan army in a lucrative deal could see the end of terrorists who commit carnage across the border.

Mitigating the influence of USA and China in Pakistan requires innovative thinking in terms of Indo-Pak relations. IK Gujral, former Prime Minister of India, explaining his 5 point doctrine at Bandaranaike Center for International Studies in 1997 said, “We need neighbors who are developing at least as fast as we are to avoid imbalances which feed dissatisfaction and political problems.”

Many years ago, a Bangladeshi pharmacist asked me, “Do you know the difference between stupid and crazy?” He went on to explain that stupid will never rip a dollar bill. Only crazy could do that. My humble recommendation is based on the assumption that Pakistan’s military leadership is not crazy and India’s democratic representatives could muster the courage and wisdom required for proactive measures to ensure peace in the region. I could be wrong. After all this is just another cry for peace.

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