& Kashmir: A Comparison
to breakout of its frustrating bind on Kashmir spares no recourse or
instrument to sensationalize the Kashmir issue. The latest canard
being propagated is that India like the United States in Vietnam is
getting bogged down in Kashmir militarily with more than 500,000
troops sucked in and a state of fatigue might set in. A similar view
was earlier expressed by one of the retired chiefs of Pakistan Army.
has been clever in devising this stratagem as Vietnam War memories
evoke strong reactions and unpleasant memories amongst United States
policy planners who then use the argument of a ‘hopeless’ war
very persuasively with Indian policy planners, track II diplomats
and academia. The Indian media without much analysis keeps
highlighting the "unholy figure of 500,00 troops " in
Vietnam, as if that were the sole cause of America’s debacle in
has been far too clever in alleging widespread human rights
violation in Kashmir. Michael Mandelbaum the noted American author
and policy analyst in a talk in New Delhi in the early 1990s noted
that with the end of the Cold War, the United States would adopt
‘human rights’ as an ‘ideological weapon’ in the absence of
Communism, as nothing excites the average American mind than human
rights violations. Here too, while foreigners were expected to lap
up Pak propaganda, the drawing room liberalists of New Delhi of all
hues vociferously try to outdo the Westerners. They conveniently
forget that human rights apply to those who live within the ambit of
the laws of the land and not for mercenary terrorists or outlaws.
comparison on what is happening in Kashmir today and the Vietnam war
is not only illogical but also betray a poor sense of political and
strategic analysis on the part of those accepting such comparisons.
It would therefore be in order to highlight such absurd comparisons.
absurdity of comparing Kashmir with Vietnam War
Vietnam War was an offshoot of the extension of the Cold War in
Asia-Pacific which first manifested in Korea. It was a component of
the global superpower rivalry resting both on ideological
confrontation and strategic considerations. Kashmir issue on the
other hand is very much a local south Asian problem festered
unceasingly by Pakistan and fuelled by its domestic political
compulsions. As opposed to ideological causes, Pakistan claims
Kashmir on the basis of the ‘two nation theory’ (separate
homeland for Indian Muslims) which stood negated in 1947 and 1971
when East Pakistan fought its way out to become Bangladesh.
Vietnam War emerged as a result of military intervention by the
United States to shore up its regimes in the South. It began with
limited intervention and then ballooned on to 550,000 at the time of
the US withdrawal. India did not go in for military intervention in
the state of Jammu Kashmir. The state acceded to India as per the
Instrument of Accession accepted by India’s Governor General who
happened to be a member of the British royalty, Lord Mountbatten.
Indian forces moved in to repel the Pakistani invaders who had
militarily occupied the state right upto its capital Srinagar.
Pakistan still occupies one third of the state.
the Vietnam Wars where there was a mass upsurge against American
military intervention, such a situation does not exist in Kashmir.
The insurgency did not acquire a mass character of even that of
Bangladesh variety. The insurrection in Jammu and Kashmir State has
remained confined to the Kashmir Valley Muslims. The Gujjar Muslims
and Shia Muslims of Poonch and Kargil have not been part of this
insurgency. Today the military conflict in Kashmir is nothing but a
proxy war launched by Pakistan through Islamic fundamentalist
mercenaries from the radical states of the Islamic world and
Pakistani madrassas. To call the disaffection of a section of the
valley Muslims as a mass upsurge of the Vietnam variety is absurd.
to the much touted comparison of numbers of troops deployed in
Vietnam and Kashmir, the argument becomes totally illogical in terms
of comparative analysis. In Vietnam, the Americans started with a
token intervention of about a division worth of troops, as the
stakes became higher, collaterally linked with the global strategic
situation Vietnam ultimately sucked in nearly 500,000 troops, to no
Indian military deployment in Kashmir even before the valley
disaffection started in 1989 is over two corps sized formations and
independent brigades. These stood deployed for the defence of
India’s territorial integrity as a result of Pakistani invasions
in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and the Chinese invasion in 1962. Today, in
terms of military deployments in Jammu and Kashmir, a third army
corps has come into existence after Pakistani military incursions in
Kargil in 1999. Addition in armed police forces is a natural
corollary when a neighbouring hostile state launches a proxy war and
whips up a law and order situation. Surely, the valley is no
Vietnam war was an all-out war where ground, naval and air forces
were applied on a full war scale. In the case of the Unites States
it was an over application of force without results. In Kashmir, the
Indian military responses have been limited both in terms of
application of force, extent of force and the geographical spread.
India has exhibited remarkable restraint even in the limited war in
Kargil in 1999. The same was not the case in Vietnam. India’s
military resilience in Jammu and Kashmir was demonstrated in 1999
when the Indian armed forces successfully tackled both the proxy war
of Pakistan in the valley and Pakistan’s invasion of Kargil,
has attempted to impose a Vietnam type situation on India in terms
of its strategic objectives, namely, to bleed India through a proxy
war, terrorist acts aimed at innocent civilians and widespread
sabotage. It went a step further in terms of inciting an ethnic
genocide against the valley Hindus. But Kashmir is not Vietnam, very
much that Pakistan wished it so. Kashmir is not Vietnam war for
three simple reasons
In Kashmir, India did not resort to military intervention. Indian
military deployments in Kashmir are designed for triple military
threats of Pakistan, China and Islamic fundamentalism.
Insurrection in Kashmir is confined to some section of the valley
Muslims. It does not incorporate widespread support amongst other
J&K Muslims besides the total opposition from the populace of
the Jammu and Ladakh region. It is therefore not a mass movement.
In Kashmir, India is not fighting somebody else’s war. India is
fighting very much to defend India’s borders and the military
challenges to its sovereignty in the form of Pakistan’s proxy war
and Pak-sponsored Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. It is
highlighted by India’s military resilience in 1999.
United States failed in the Vietnam war because the American public
did not support the US government’s military interventions and
fighting other people’s war at the cost of US lives. On Kashmir,
the Indian public support for successive governments of various
political hues has been unequivocal i.e. Pakistani aggression has to
be met squarely and defeated. The views of liberal fraternity of New
Delhi’s drawing rooms do not reflect the Indian public opinion.
special arrangement with South Asian Analysis Group, New