If wishes were horses beggars would ride -by Simranjit Singh Mann
The Abbottabad raid by the American’s which killed Osama bin Laden has won the imagination of almost all the Indian’s as he has become the modern day Scarlet Pimpernel. Generals are in great demand by journalists who want to write something on this subject and most of them feel that the Indian military should also make a similar strike into Pakistan where India says about fifty wanted alleged terrorists are being harboured. Some retired Generals have said that the American Special Forces like incursion can be undertaken by India’s Special Forces. But the very cautious Generals fear that India does not have the technical know how and the wherewithal to carry out such a raid and a botched raid, like the one that was undertaken during the period of President Carter into Iran could do more harm than good.
However, I feel that if the Indian Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh has said that his troops are capable of making a successful raid into Pakistan, his counterparts in Pakistan have said that if India does this then they have already chosen targets where they would strike in this country and all hell would break loose. If Gen. V.K. Singh has voiced the policy of the Union government of India, I think it has set a precedent after the American raid in Abbottabad where stronger nations think they can carry out such depredations with impunity.
If the Indian thinking is correct then if it is a precedent, I think China can also strike at targets with its Special Forces where it believes that India is harbouring terrorists who are subverting its sovereignty. As such there can be no end to the bigger fish eating the smaller fish if this is a policy that India believes can bring back its fugitives for retribution.
If India has its list of terrorists in Pakistan so do we Sikh’s have a list of genocidaires who have since 1982 committed the genocide of the Sikh race? Of these none have been arrested or been sent up for trial at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, which is the right place for these scalawags to stand trial.
In the Abbottabad raid by the American’s we are told that the Al-Quada fugitive Osama bin Laden was unarmed when the Special Forces entered his house and bedroom. As such he could easily have been arrested and taken alive because the Geneva Conventions of War do not allow the killings of unarmed combatants. This legal point is going to come up for academic discussions once the heat of Osama bin Laden’s death cools down. I think when the Indian’s think of an Abbottabad raid into Pakistan to capture the so-called terrorists on the list they have sent to Pakistan, they would too like to kill those on the list they call their quarry. Again this would be in violation of the Conventions, that is if their quarry is unarmed.
In the case of the American ingress into Pakistan, Pakistan had very little to say. Its ally China has also more or less said very little against the American foray. But in the case of India, if it were to emulate America, would Pakistan a nuclear armed state remain quiet or would China also play dumb? These are the questions that we must seek from the hawks in the Indian establishment.
If India were to carry out such a raid, what effect would it have on us Sikh’s and in the territories where we have our populations, that is Panjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh UT, Jammu Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The Sikh’s are neither Hindu nor Muslim and we do not have any enmity with either of these two nuclear armed states–India and Pakistan and China as well which may come into the fray as I have said. Why should the Sikh inhabited territories become the nuclear battlefield when we have no ill will with any of these inimical countries?
The other question that comes to mind is that if such raids become a precedent and the legal route is abandoned like extradition treaties, then the law of the jungle would prevail in international relations. If this is so the Sikh’s who are a stateless people at this period of time but consider themselves sui-generis sovereign then when the Sikh adventurers killed Indira Gandhi and General Vaidya as they too had committed grave and heinous crimes against the Sikh’s then where were they wrong? If India has submitted a list of its criminals to Pakistan the Sikh’s too have their list of their genocidaires and would it be a crime if the Sikh’s hunted these wanted criminals in the same way that India wants to and America has already done?
Of course these are all hypothetical questions after the Abbottabad raid but if India were to repeat such a raid into Pakistan then these would not remain hypothetical questions and what I have stated bedlam would be let loose in international relations. I think all this banter of the Indian’s in making a raid into Pakistan is only wishful thinking because they would never be able to ride out the storm.
Simranjit Singh Mann,
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar