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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Debunking arguments against eastern deployment —Ejaz Haider

There is much talk in the Western media and also by visiting foreign dignitaries about the Pakistan Army’s east-oriented deployment and threat perception from India at a time when presumably Pakistan faces no threat from India but is grappling with an internal, existential crisis.The question posed is: why doesn’t Pakistan thin its defences in the east and induct more troops in the west to fight the Taliban? While the question may be genuine, and I am being entirely charitable on this count, is it based on a sound understanding of military strategy?Short answer: no.There are two broad issues here. The first relates to Pakistan’s threat perception from India; the second to Pakistan’s ongoing counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism operations. Let’s analyse them in the same order.

Finally, the issue is not whether Pakistan should or should not reconfigure its deployment pattern but whether it can. Unilaterally, it can’t.Also, if the country has to induct more troops in the NWFP and station military elements in the area for a longer deployment, it needs to build infrastructure for doing that. That decision has to be taken at the political level (keeping in mind regional security requirements) and money found for it.Therefore, before Pakistan is asked to do this or that, its threat perception has to be taken into consideration and money provided it for longer deployment on the west. The first involves pulling in India; the second, opening the purse strings.

Debunking arguments against eastern deployment —Ejaz Haider


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