Category Archives: Offstumped

Don’t Vote 09 Campaign is an Act of Treason

Mizoram a tiny state to the North East went polls yesterday to record a turnout of over 74%.

In Delhi which went to polls on saturday over 60% turned out to vote, a record turnout in stark contrast to the dismal turnout in earlier local body elections and the 2003 assembly elections.

Madhya Pradesh which went to polls as news of the terrorist attack on Mumbai trickled registered a record 69.3% turnout.

Jammu & Kashmir which just concluded the 3rd phase of polling recorded 62% turnout.

Irrespective of their political affiliations Indians across the country have sent one message to the terrorists who struck Mumbai and to their sponsors in undemocratic Pakistan a resounding message by reposing their faith in India’s Democracy.

Now it appears that a small but vocal minority from the usually non-voting upper middle class with its conscience perked over the failure of the State in response to the War on Mumbai have come up with a quixotic campaign called “Don’t Vote 2009“.

So the brightest idea these dim-wits could come up with to fix accountability of the political leadership is to basically leave the contest to lobbies and pressure groups to elect their favorites while the common man in their opinion should just sit out.

The utter naivety of this campaign apart, it raises serious constitutional questions of voter intimidation.

It is this defeatist mindset of the upper middle class which as at the heart of the current political culture.

Having sat out of previous elections with similar attitude this section of the urban middle class has done precious little to exercise its influence over the political process. When it did choose to engage the politicians it was to patronise a political culture that curries political favor through connections and nepotism.

Having never seriously engaged the mainstream political parties by making their votes count, these dim-wits now want to mislead the Youth of India and First Time Voters into believing that the smartest thing to do to clean up the political system is to somehow turn your back on the very process that makes politicians accountable.

But here is what makes this so called Dont Vote Campaign an act of treason.

It basically sends a message to the Terrorists who struck Mumbai and to their sponsors in Pakistan that they were right to strike at our democracy and our way of life for that Democracy is not worth fighting for and defending. They want to send the message to the Terrorists that this democracy is so dispirting that one is better off sitting out of the very process of elections that makes it work rather than get engaged to make it accountable and effective.

Offstumped Bottomline:

A Vote not Cast is a Vote in support of the Terrorists

In a year when evern Kashmiris have opted for the Ballot over Bullets, a Dont Vote Campaign championed by educated upper middle class voters of Mumbai is not just foolish and misguided but actually dangerous.

India’s War on Terror is not merely a fight against terrorists but it is a fight to defend our democracy and our way of life. That War cannot be won by sitting out of elections.

If you are disappointed with the current class of politicians then get engaged in the political process. If you dont have it in you to participate in the political process then atleast rally behind those who can.

But for godssake dont allow your defeatist mindset to prejudice the youth and first time voters against exercising their franchise.


Offstumped – Countering Pakistan’s Salami Tactics

For days we have been debating on what the strategic response ought to be to the War on Mumbai. While broad contours have been emerging in the media, it is far from clear what would be the most effective strategy and if the present Government has the will and the wherewithall to follow through on such a strategy.

While minds brighter than this blogger will articulate in the days to come possible scenarios for how such a strategy could play out, here are some initial thoughts to foster debate.

Factors to be considered

Any strategy we come up with must factor the following:

– there is more than one and maybe upto 4 competing interests in Pakistan and hence it does not make sense to have a single Pakistan strategy but multiple sub-strategies to engage or deal with each of these competing interests

– most of these competing interests can get behind a common enemy India if directly threatened

– most of these competing interests have by design or default perfect the art of Salami Tactics where by they can perpetually lock India in a low intensity conflict

– a hallmark of the Pakistani Art of Salami is the use of non-state actors so agencies of the Pakistani State always have a degree or two of separation

– The Ultimate Shield for this Art of Salami is the Islamic Bomb. Not all of these competing interests need access or control of Nuclear Weapons, the mere fact that they exist gives all of them the necessary strategic cover from an all out Iraq style invasion

– While some of these interests directly threaten the USA none of them affect China directly atleast not to the extent that a Democracy like USA, India or Israel would be affected. Therein lies the next layer of strategic cover from an all out Iraq style invasion for China would never stand for it.

So given these factors what kind of a strategy would be effective against the many competing interests of Pakistan.

Characteristic #1 – It must recognize the many competing interests

– Identify the many power centers

– understand their near term and long term goals

– articulate where their interests should lie

Characteristic #2 – It must never pose a common threat to Unify them

– Never threaten all out war and unify them

– Every step and move must be calibrated to play one against the other

Characteristic #3 – It must seek to isolate the State agencies from the Non-State actors

– Find wedge issues that hold out incentives to one group and costs to the other

Characteristic #4 – It must seek to insulate Chinese interests from the fate of individual groups

– Provide China with a stake in the future of Pakistan

– Ensure Chinese interests are preserved irrespective of which faction ultimately prevails in Pakistan

Characteristic #5 – It must deprive the competing interests the shield of Nuclear Deterrence without directly threatening the nukes

– This is the key characteristic

– As long as that shield exists, Jihadi terror will always find sponsors and safe havens in Pakistan

– But it must be done without physically affecting the status of the Nukes to avoid the risk of an accident or conflict

While these initial thoughts need to be further baked it is increasingly clear that

– an all out threat of invasion similar to Operation Parakram would have the opposite effect of uniting the competing interests and hence is not a viable option

– surgical strikes from across the Indian border on specific targets in the heart of Pakistan would carry the perilous risk of a nuclear misadventure given the insecurities of these competing interests and hence are not a viable option

– a U.S or India lead initiative in the UN Security Council will immediately get identified as anti-Islamic and have the counterproductive effect of uniting the non-state actors and hence that too is not a viable option

Hence the Strategy must not be military and must also not be initiated externally.

Which leads Offstumped’s half baked thinking towards a path that

– it has to precipitate a crisis within Pakistan

– it must pit one competing interest against the other

– it must raise serious doubts about the safety of Pakistan’s Nukes within the competing interests to the point where they dont trust each other but are also scared for their safety

– it must culminate in governing interests within Pakistan calling for external intervention to ensure their very survival

– the external intervention is conditional on the grounds of protecting various interests

– the external intervention becomes semi-permanenet to become the basis for balkanization and containment

Offstumped – Bill Kristol hands it to Pakistan Apologists

Less than 24 hours after the War on Mumbai was unleashed, Offstumped had noted that Pakistan Apologists in the International Media had come out of the wood works to push a new formulation to further their agenda of appeasement of the Pakistan establishment.

Well there is some ray of hope after all that no every commentator in the West subscribes to the “Progressive Liberal” template being pushed by the Pakistan Apologists.

Noted Conservative Commentator and Fox News Contributor Bill Kristol writing in the New York Times hands it to the Pakistan Apologists. In fact the intellectual clarity and moral certitude that Kristol brings to the debate should put even some Indian commentators who have been seeking refuge in political correctness to shame.

In a piece titled “Jihad’s True Face“. Kristol had this to say

Much of the reporting from Mumbai the last few days has been informative, gripping and often moving. Some of the commentary, on the other hand, has been not just uninformative but counterinformative — if that’s a term, and if it’s not, I say it should be

Taking issue with Martha Nussbaum’s piece in the LA Times Kristol hands it to her

So jihadists kill innocents in Mumbai — and Nussbaum ends up decrying racial profiling here. Is it just that liberal academics are required to include some alleged ugly American phenomenon in everything they write?

Kristol explaining the rationale behind groups like Lashkar’s Jihad had this to say

Lashkar-e-Taiba, Haqqani explains, is a jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion, “backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services.” He notes that “Lashkar-e-Taiba has adopted a maximalist agenda for global jihad.” Indeed, the political arm of the group has conveniently published a pamphlet, “Why Are We Waging Jihad?,” that lays out all kinds of reasons why the United States, Israel and India are “existential enemies of Islam.”

Kristol closes his piece with this fitting tribute to India’s slain hero Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

Patriotism is an indispensable weapon in the defense of civilization against barbarism. That was brought home over the weekend in an article in The Times of India on Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a major in India’s National Security Guards who died fighting the terrorists at the Taj hotel. The reporter spoke with the young man’s parents as they mourned their son: “His father, dignified in the face of such a personal tragedy, was stoic, saying he was proud of his son who sacrificed his life for the country: ‘He died for the nation.’ ”

Offstumped applauds Kristol and others like Bruce Reidel from the Brookings Institute who have called the Jihadi terror for what it is.

Meanwhile back home Prabhu Chawla’s India Today is showing some moral certitude by setting the record straight on the media spin on why BJP leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi visited Mumbai

Already under attack for fiddling while his showpiece city burnt, Deshmukh was further riled by news reports which said his government sat on tip- offs from Gujarat intelligence agencies which warned about the likelihood of terrorists using fishing trawlers and such like to enter Mumbai via the sea route. The reports were rubbished by Deshmukh and his aides at the Mantralaya, who said the warning from the Gujarat authorities were very general in nature and the inputs contained no specific information that could have averted this tragedy. An incensed Modi then dispensed with protocol and arrived in Mumbai and headed for the Trident.

and why leader of the opposition and the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani chose not to fly jointly with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

But as in any story, there is the other side which tells a different tale and paints Advani as the villain of the botched opportunity.

The government has it that the PM was keen on an all party show of unity. Amongst those he had invited to join the hurriedly drawn up entourage were Sharad Pawar and Amar Singh. A man is known by the company he keeps and Advani may have had his reasons not to share the stage with Singh.

But it still begs the question: When Advani had offered to catch up with the prime minister in Mumbai, why was his request ignored? Couldn’t Manmohan, who has learnt in these past four and half years to make the impossible possible, have kept the larger picture in mind and persuaded the Opposition leader to be by his side in this gravest of hours? Politics aside, it’s a decision both will grieve over for long.

Offstumped closes this note to remind Indians that the media has an agenda and is not to be trusted with the way it spins stories. The media has forgotten that the enemies are the Terrorists and not the BJP. It must be reminded of this fundamental obfuscation by calling out its spin every time it is thrown at us.

Offstumped – Putting lipstick on a corpse

Offstumped and other blogs on the Indian National Interest have been down for about 12 hours now. Please visit this temporary home while we are back on our feet.

As India continues to debate its response to the War on Mumbai, yesterday’s all party meeting had a predictable outcome – promise of actions sans any kind of strategy.

Many commentators have come out in the last 24 hours on the need for such a strategy.

Rajamohan in The Indian Express

Lead editorial in The Mint

We are now told that U.S. President George W Bush is sending Secretary of State Condi Rice to New Delhi to manage our response – whatever that means.

We are also told dutifully by The Telegraph that Rahul Gandhi has also called for such a strategy in the CWC meeting.

Unfortunately though the Manmohan Singh Government’s conduct to date has been high on rhetoric and low on substance.

The latest round of resignations can at best be described as a sideshow.

We are past the stage where individuals mattered. It is now a time for Institutional change and Strategic response.

By swapping Zombies and dead beat leaders with glib talkers and smooth operators if the Congress thinks it can wing its way to the elections it is sadly mistaken.

We need a Strategy and not merely talk that makes us feel good.

For far too long we have endured Pakistan’s Salami Tactics, it is time we returned the favor with a thin sliver strategy as espoused by The Mint.

Anything less in a response would be merely putting lipstick on a corpse

Google cache of all previous posts since Mumbai events unfolded.

Offstumped » Mumbai under fire – Live Blogging – Nov 26

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Offstumped » War on Mumbai exposes India’s Soft Underbelly

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Offstumped » War on Mumbai – L.K. Advani’s Statement

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