The latest edition of the Pakistan Army’s Green Book, a prestigious internal publication with essays by serving officers, reveals mounting fears among its officer corps that the deepening India-United States strategic relationship could pose a threat to the country.
Major-General Shaukat Iqbal, one of the most senior officers writing in the 2011 Green Book, describes what he calls an emerging “Indo-U.S. nexus.”
His essay argues that geo-strategic developments show “all conspiracy theories are getting materialised and [the] Great Game played in the region is posing a serious threat to the security and integrity of Pakistan.”
The two countries hope Pakistan “is tamed and sufficiently weakened to act in form of colonised state which should serve U.S. interest and oblige to the dictates of India” [sic.].
He writes that the United States wishes to “use the war on terrorism as an instrument [to] get [the] Pakistan Army bogged down, weakening its war stamina [and] creating a wedge between religious forces and the Army”. It is also, he says, “disreputing [sic.] and maligning the Pakistan Army and the ISI through actions like [the] raid on Osama Bin Laden’s complex.”
The essay says India has expansionist ambitions, quoting Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — without citation — as saying she would never forgive her forefathers “for accepting the division of India,” and vowing to undo it.
‘India posing threat’
Major-General Ashgar Nawaz, writing on the United States’ interests in South Asia, asserts that Pakistan’s traditional superpower ally is “as much a liability as a friend.” The United States help has allowed New Delhi to “employ contemporary Afghanistan as a springboard for fomenting terrorist activity and instability in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas [FATA] belt on [the] Pak-Afghan border.”
In recent years, Pakistani commentators and politicians have repeatedly claimed that India is supporting elements of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, notably its new Afghanistan-based commander,
General Nawaz writes, in support of his claim of hostile Indian intentions, that in the wake of 9/11, it “nominated Lt. Gen. [Lieutenant-General] (retd) Sawhney, ex Chief of RAW, as their Ambassador in Kabul.”
In fact, India’s first Ambassador to Afghanistan after 9/11 was career diplomat Vivek Katju. RAW has never been led by a Lieutenant-General, serving or retired, nor anyone called Sawhney. The reference may be to the former Director-General of Military Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Ravi Sawhney, has travelled regularly to Afghanistan in various capacities.
“I think the interesting thing here is not what the essays say, but the fears that underpin them,” says Sushant Sareen, a Pakistan expert at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. “There is clearly a pathology at work, which does not allow itself to be inconvenienced by facts.”
Fears of Indian expansion have figured prominently in earlier editions of the Green Book, too. The 2010 edition began with an essay by Brigadier Umar Farooq Durrani on “Indian-backed Psychological Warfare Against Pakistan.”
It asserted that the RAW “funds many Indian newspapers and even television channels, such as Zee Television, which is considered to be its media headquarters to wage psychological war.”
“The most subtle form” of this psychological war, the Brigadier stated, “is found in movies where Muslim and Hindu friendship is screened within [sic.] the backdrop of melodrama.” “The effects desired to be achieved through this,” he argued, “is to undermine the Two National Theory [as] being a person obsession of [Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali] Jinnah.”
Interestingly, there is no discussion in the 2011 Green Book of Pakistan’s war against Islamist groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
However, several chapters are devoted to addressing the conventional and nuclear challenges posed by India, and two to the Army’s campaign against ethnic-Baloch insurgent and terrorist groups.
Published every two years by the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Green Book provides rare insights into the organisation’s internal debates. In his foreword to the 2011 edition, the former Army chief, Gen. (retd.) Pervez Kayani, describes it as “a platform where the intellectual context of national security can be crystallised.”
The article has been edited to incorporate the following correction:
A sentence in the report, “New Pakistan Army Green Book voices fear of India-U.S. axis” (Dec. 6, 2013) read: “… India’s first Ambassador to Afghanistan after 9/11 was career diplomat Rakesh Sood.” It should have been Vivek Katju.