Afghanistan, Indo-Pak and Beg's Strategic Depth doctrine

Last updated on Jul 24, 2009

Posted on Jul 24, 2009

As I said in an earlier post about a person who commented on my article on the includion of “Balochistan” in the Singh-Gilani statement.  This person also suggested that:

I disagree with your view that Pakistan may kick India out of relation with Afghanistan. In fact Pakistan has no role to play in  the matter of relation between India and Afghanistan.

Now, he is a person who has been to Pakistan and Afghanistan.  So, he is in that sense, more aware that most other Indians on Pakistan.  But despite that to make such thoroughly outlandish statement suggests that most have, One – short term memory, and Two, choose to remain blind despite repeated terror attacks.

Afghanistan as the Center-piece of geopolitics of the Indian sub-continent was BEST articulated – suo-moto – by Pakistan.  General Mirza Aslam Beg was the architect of the “Strategic Depth” doctrine.  Now, some people from Pakistan – like Musharraf – (in the usual tradition of obfuscation) have suggested that Strategic Depth in the world of Nukes doesn’t make sense.  But they obviously don’t mention the whole thing.  One, Strategic Depth was and IS an Offensive doctrine.. not a Defensive one.  Two, the central tenet of this doctrine is Terrorism – of which Afghanistan (and Taliban + Al Qaeda + Jehadis) was the main preparation ground.

If Taliban again becomes strong in Afghanistan and US goes away, you can bet the 7 Race Course Road in Delhi that the launch of terrorism in India will be unprecedented this time around!!

Btw, today comes the news that Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik has told their Parliament that “Indian intelligence agencies were running training camps in Afghanistan to foment unrest in Balochistan”.  The predictability of this story is so amazing that one can’t understand the calculations of Dr. Singh in all this???!!

This is from Rizwan Hussain’s book Pakistan and the emergence of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan (Page 172) [1] on what were the central tenets of Aslam Beg’s “Strategic Doctrine”.

  • To achieve “strategic depth” against India.  The concept of strategic depth was first articulated by army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg.  This doctrine stressed the need for a dispersal of Pakistan’s military personnel and assets in Afghanistan well beyond the offensive capabilities of the Indian military.  Pakistan’s geographical width was considered inadequate for a prolonged defence against India.  In this context, post-Soviet Afghanistan was considered an ideal choice for Pakistan to gain strategic depth.
  • To support secessionist movements in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • To gain access to Central Asia in order to open that region for Pakistani economic penetration.  Moreover, Pakistan could serve as the “gateway” to landlocked Central Asia for investment from the United States and other industrialised states.  In this regard, a Pakistani controlled Afghanistan would enhance Pakistan’s geostrategic importance for United States.
  • To continue to pursue a strategy of nuclear ambivalence.
  • To enhance the existing strategic and military to military relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Reference Links:

1. India running terror training camps for Baloch youths: Pak
2. Pakistan and the emergence of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan

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