ALAM RIND Toying with the idea of having "limited war" under nuclear hangover in the subcontinent is quite a dangerous notion. I am sure General Deepak Kapoor fully understands the implications of such an undertaking. It will also be inapt to consider that he made such an assertion out of exuberance or it was a plane expression of his personal military thoughts and nothing more. It certainly was a well thought out and carefully timed statement while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on a state visit to the US. Being scheduled immediately after Obama's visit to China it divulged future American outlook for the area and the possible role for India in the region. For Indian consumption, the joint statement issued on November 24 reaffirmed the global strategic partnership between India and the US and described it as "indispensable for global peace and security." It also highlighted the desire of the two leaders to "defeat terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan." However, interestingly, the US-China joint statement issued on November 17 "supports the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism...and supports the improvement of relations between India and Pakistan," implicitly assigns the region's leadership role to China and confers upon them the responsibility to resolve regional disputes, much to the India's disappointment. Certainly, America cannot ignore China whose economy is gaining strength by leaps and bounds and which is a future superpower. Furthermore, while the Indian PM was busy convincing the US authorities of the Indian ability to act as a counterweight to China, the statement of their army chief reflected upon the willingness of the Indian forces to exert themselves for the fulfilment of Indo-US objectives in the region. Such an aggressive statement by the general reflects India's regional aspirations and its desire to subjugate Pakistan. However, it would be naive of India to consider that Pakistan is anywhere close to exhaustion and it can replay the East Pakistan episode. Moreover, Indian involvement in Balochistan and their anti-Pakistan activities in Afghanistan are well known. The focus of their military planning seems to hinge on the assumption that by applying their "Cold Start strategy" India will be able to achieve its dual aim of fixing the Pakistan Army and triggering centrifuge forces resulting into the disintegration of the country. They fail to recognise that the people of Pakistan fully understand the criticality of the situation and are much more united than ever before. They have the courage to render sacrifices and resolve to preserve their independence as amply demonstrated during the Swat and Waziristan operations. Therefore, while contemplating such thoughts the Indian military hierarchy must remain cognisant of Pakistan's nuclear capabilities; a reality that averted war during 2001 (attack on Indian Parliament) and then in 2008 (Mumbai tragedy). There was no involvement of Pakistan's government or any of its organs in such foolish acts. On the contrary, India used these events to give vent to propaganda against Pakistan and draw short-term advantage like severing peace talks and stalling the peace process. The notion of fighting a "limited war" under nuclear hangover failed in the recent past and is most unlikely to succeed in the future. Nevertheless, such statements can serve the lesser aim of increasing mistrust between the two neighbours, thereby further delaying peace talks, covering up their atrocities in Occupied Kashmir, and continuing with the stubborn attitude towards the resolution of water dispute. Such an approach will definitely not help in resolving regional disputes. The process can also lead to antagonism in US-India relations as through blind pursuance of her regional agenda India can hurt US interests in Afghanistan. Strangely, while sitting in the American lap, India is covertly working to settle scores on behalf of Russia, her former ally, by supporting the militants and thus orchestrating US defeat in Afghanistan. The writer is a freelance columnist.