A change at Rawalpindi GHQ is not going to alter India-Pakistan relations | analysis | Hindustan Times
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A change at Rawalpindi GHQ is not going to alter India-Pakistan relations

Lt Gen Bajwa’s name has been announced with media reports stating that he is a non-interfering sort of a military man and also a Kashmir expert. The façade of Pakistan having an elected civilian government thus gets sanctified, which is encouraging for the country.

analysis Updated: Nov 28, 2016 23:05 IST
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) talks with Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan's newly designated Army Chief, at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) talks with Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan's newly designated Army Chief, at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad(Reuters)

A change at Rawalpindi GHQ is going to alter India-Pakistan relations

For a long time, a common refrain in India has been that our hostile and myopic neighbour -- Pakistan -- is obsessed with everything Indian and this attitude is a major reason for the deterioration of relations between the two nations. But it amazes many in this land too about how equally fixated we are about our errant terror-exporting neighbour.

If we weren’t, why did the media and security analysts go overboard as to who would succeed General Raheel Sharif? Of course, the odds were between an extension for Gen. Sharif and him ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as many of his predecessors have done to their PMs in the past.

Read: General Qamar Javed Bajwa named new Pakistan Army chief

It is a matter of satisfaction that the Pakistani establishment has not accused the Indians of interfering in their internal matters by conjecturing on the selection of their army chief.

How does it matter to India as to who is the next incumbent of any post in Pakistan? Let us not demean ourselves by indulging in such trivialities.

Mercifully for him, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been given the opportunity to nominate the new chief officially. I wonder if Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is his choice or that of Pakistan’s Deep State.

Read: New army chief Bajwa brings no immediate change in policy: Pakistan

Lt Gen Bajwa’s name has been announced with media reports stating that he is a non-interfering sort of a military man and also a Kashmir expert. The façade of Pakistan having an elected civilian government thus gets sanctified, which is encouraging for the country.

Surely some of their friends in the West, notably the US, would be pleased for optics matter more than reality in today’s perception-oriented world.

It is indeed laughable as to how the Pakistani and even some in the Indian media have already started analysing the next Pakistani Army Chief’s future strategic and operational proclivities.

Read: ‘We know how to deal with them’: Pakistani air force chief’s warning to India

It requires no great wisdom for anyone to know that national interests, security challenges and the mission for army chiefs do not change overnight.

Personalities will come and go but national interests, challenges and opportunities have to be analysed, strategies conceived and implemented.

However, the only institutions that try to analyse important personalities remain intelligence agencies in some nations.

But more often than not, such analyses count for nothing substantial and accordingly, national decision-making must remain clinical, capability- and current ground realities-based.

Thus, let us not hope that a personality change at Rawalpindi GHQ is going to alter India-Pakistan relations anyway.

India’s security preparedness has to be continually improved and energised with a recalcitrant and mischief-making Pakistan never changing its spots, changes in military leadership notwithstanding.

Gen Kamal Davar was the first chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency

The views are personal