Green Book, Pink Elephants – Pak’s Relentless Propaganda Continues

 By Kanchana Ramanujam

The Pakistan Army recently issued the 2020 edition of its research journal – Green Book. This ‘research journal’ is, in large measure, nothing more than a diatribe against India, lacking scholarship, objectivity, and vision. Losing sight of facts, nothing unusual for the Pak Army, the ‘research journal’ has references to the ‘US National Security Strategy of 2018’ (in the part written by Senator Mushahid Hussain) and ‘November 7, 2008’ attacks in Mumbai (in the part by Prof Tughral Yamin – a retired Pak Army Brigadier). The last issue of the US National Security Strategy was published in 2017 and, needless to say, the attacks in Mumbai took place on November 26, 2008. Perhaps the Pak Army took its ‘research journal’ as seriously as its so-called fight against terrorism!

All the inaccuracies and propaganda aside, the following key-points emerge from the Green Book –

  1. J&K: The Focal-Point of Pakistani Propaganda

There is an attempt in the journal to de-hyphenate terrorism from the Kashmir issue and project it as an indigenous uprising which has only diplomatic, political, and moral support from Pakistan. To this end, the examples of Burhan Wani and Adil Ahmad Dar have been given. It has been clearly mentioned that ‘Only a native uprising will be just and politically defendable for Pakistan on international forums.’

The propagandist reference to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) as a ‘nuclear flashpoint’ aside, the Green Book contains the following recommendations vis-à-vis J&K –

  • Setting up of a Prime Minster-controlled ‘Kashmir Fund’ for domestic and international operations, to which the provinces shall allocate at least 1 per cent of their National Finance Commission shares. It could be based on a crowd-funding model and be given tax-incentives
  • Influencing ‘Indian masses and liberal intellectuals’ through Pakistani disinfomation campaigns.
  • Exploiting the diaspora from J&K, including Pakistan-occupied-J&K (PoJK), through diplomatic missions.
  • Carrying out lobbying, especially in P5 and Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) countries.
  • Involving eminent personalities like Nobel Peace Prize laureates in the issue.
  • Buying air-time in both domestic and foreign media for Psy Ops. The Foreign Office (FO) should circulate videos that show India in poor light. Additionally, the FO is also required to focus on the alleged human-rights violations against minorities in India.
  • Prosecuting lawfare by involving the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and the United Nations (UN).
  1. China-US Competition and Deepening India-US Ties

The Green Book mentions how India is bolstering its economic and military prowess against the backdrop of the China-US competition. The US and India have a common interest in containing China, and the US is pressing India and others to further US’ interests in the region including opposition to the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it claims. India’s purchase of hi-tech equipment from the US is creating a security dilemma for Pakistan and there is an intense, severe evolving security dilemma in the Asia-Pacific between the US and China, China and India, India and Pakistan. The termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has worsened the competition between the US and China with a concomitant effect on India and Pakistan.

The journal also mentions that despite Pakistan fulfilling its commitments to the US-led Global War on Terror (GWoT), the US has deepened relations with India at the cost of Pakistan, bracketing Pakistan with the ‘stone-aged’ Afghanistan.

  1. Pak’s Nuclear Deterrence

Pak Army believes that its nuclear deterrence has created a challenge for the conventionally-superior Indian Army to manoeuvre below the nuclear threshold. In this regard, the example of the Mumbai attacks not translating into a conventional air and land offensive has been given. Additionally, it states that Nasr has been designed to offset India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

  1. Recognition of the Afghan Govt

Pakistan has made the recognition of the Afghan government conditional to the Afghan Constitution being revised and border issues being addressed to the satisfaction of Pakistan, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan leaders being handed over to Pakistan, and expulsion of “hostile intelligence agencies’ agents”. In short, any dispensation deemed unfavourable to Pakistan would not be allowed to thrive.

  1. Pakistan’s Relevance

The Green Book highlights the relevance of Pakistan to Afghanistan, China, Russia, and the US. It brings out Pakistan’s importance in the Afghan Peace Process and, given the impact the Afghan Peace Process has on the American elections, the journal states that ‘the road to the White House lies through Pakistan’. It further states that China’s endeavor of challenging American dominance passes through CPEC. Moreover, the US should be made aware of the supposed ‘Indian threats’ which could compel it to move its forces towards the Indian border, thus impacting peace and stability in Afghanistan, for which India would be responsible. Russia, it states, senses an opportunity in the Kashgher-Khunjrab-Gwadar corridor which is the shortest route to Indian Ocean Region. Russia’s re-export of power-plants to Pakistan, bilateral military exercises, and converging interests in Afghanistan are deepening Russia-Pakistan relations.

  1. The China Factor

This journal appears to be a panegyric on China and its ‘peaceful rise’. Pakistan considers China key to any strategy as it provides Pakistan weight in international organisations such as UN Security Council, Nuclear Suppliers Group, etc. China’s influence must also be capitalised for the J&K issue. It also mentions that a China-led, multi-national organisation must be formed to respond to threats to the BRI. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa, and OIC must be exploited for the same.

  1. Re-building Brand Pakistan (& Tarnishing Brand India)

Pakistan is acutely aware of its image as a regressive, theological country and the epicentre of global terrorism. It wants to rid itself of this image, not by systemic and meaningful changes but by cosmetic approach of propaganda. The Green Book portrays India as fomenting trouble in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, and as a supporter of groups considered terrorist entities by Pakistan, such as ‘Jamaat al Ahraar’ (sic), Balochistan Liberation Army, and Baluch Liberation Front. It mentions that Indian actions in Afghanistan have ensured that Afghans hold Pakistan responsible for their difficulties. Pakistan wants to be seen as ‘sincere peace broker’ in Afghanistan and portray India as sham democracy with rightist tendencies. This right-wing extremism in India endangers India’s military nuclear-facilities and as such, ‘the Indo-US nuclear deal must be scrapped’, it claims!

  1. Re-writing History

Pakistan is attempting to re-write history, especially of J&K. There are mentions of how India ‘surreptitiously occupied the vacant area north of NJ 9842’ in 1984, and how Pakistan was blamed sans evidence for the ‘engineered’ October 1, 2001 and December 13, 2001 attacks in J&K and Delhi, respectively. There are also half-truths, such as Pakistani Army officers fighting in the 1947 War while officially on leave, while the fact is that it was part of the plan.

What Pakistan is actually signaling through the Green Book is pretty evident –

  • Pakistan wishes to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s Grey List and is in need of financial assistance, given its economic condition. In this regard, there are repeated mentions in the Green Book of the cost, both economic and human, that Pakistan has incurred as an American ally in the GWoT. Pakistan has not been compensated for those losses and ongoing strain of sheltering Afghan refugees.
  • Pakistan wants a more pro-Pakistan Muslim-world and may work towards creating such a structure in partnership with Turkey and Malaysia. The Green Book mentions how Pakistan is disappointed with the reaction of the Arab world to India’s August 5 move with respect to J&K, calling the reaction ‘astonishingly quite disappointing’ and ‘disgusting’.

In the light of this, the following points may be of interest to India in countering the hybrid war being prosecuted by Pakistan –

  • It has been observed that the understanding of the Armed Forces and its structures is not to the desired extent in the media. Reporters are often unable to distinguish between the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces. Moreover, the media is also required to make the masses aware of hybrid warfare and grey- zone conflicts. As such, the Army Welfare Education Society may establish an an institute for journalism as it has done for medicine, technology, managment, etc., focussing especially on Defence Journalism.
  • The Indian government needs to publicly put forth its views on issues and the rationale behind actions taken, to counter malicious propaganda. A dedicated page on or something similar to the Chinese White Paper could be deliberated upon. It should be multi-lingual containing, inter alia, Arabic, French, and Mandarin versions.
  • India needs country-specific, counter-propaganda teams. Such a team should necessarily consist of, among others, law, history, and defence experts to counter disparate aspects of the war of narratives.
  • India should also institute country-specific, vulnerability-study teams to understand the fault-lines of the country and novel ways of exploiting it. For targetting Pakistan economically, for eg, India could identify where Pakistan gets maximum foreign remittances from, and direct Indian human-capital there.
  • India needs to co-opt the citizenry as part of full-spectrum preparedness in the fight against hybrid warfare. One way of doing this is by introducing defence- and security-related aspects in the academic curriculum of schools and higher educational institutions. The youth of the country needs to understand how hybrid warfare seeks to introduce societal and communal disharmony by means of sock-puppets, fake news, deepfakes, and so forth.
  • The rise of threats in the grey zone necessitates the collaboration between think-tanks in the field of defence and security with not just experts from myriad fields such as medicine, technology, psychology, and law, but also students pursuing these fields. Students should be encouraged to analyse the security-situation of the country from the point-of-view of their respective fields.
  • India’s instruments of national power need to follow standardised and uniform terminology and maps. It is often seen that there is a lack of uniformity while referring to PoK /PoJK, Burma/Myanmar, and so forth. There is also lack of clarity on aspects such as which all countries India considers part of West Asia. As far as maps are concerned, the island territories of India are often not depicted. Additionally, some online software may be provided on or any other website with the facility of correcting incorrect representations of the Indian map which would help academics and researchers while using foreign sources in their work. It is necessary that there is consistency in sight and sound while countering propaganda.
  • Statistics, in terms of population, geography, revenue, etc. should clearly mention whether it includes territories of PoJK and CoJK.
  • The government needs to provide citable material pertaining to the history of contentious issues, wars, etc. so that the larger audience understands the Indian perspective. It should include videos, write-ups, etc. in both concise and detailed forms. Needless to say, the same should be multi-lingual, including Arabic and French. Influential Indian figures could share this material to ensure wider publicity.
  • The Army needs to improve its strategic communication by having an independent, professional team for the same. It can start by evaluating the difference in approach of its social-media strategy compared to that of the adversary.