I write this blogpost today, consciously aware of the fact that the anti-Pakistan rhetoric and feelings in India has reached a crescendo, with all a parties throwing their weight around the recent surgical strikes carried out across the LOC. Bollywood has banned Pakistani actors from acting in India, India has said no to all talks with Pakistani. Hate and belligerence is being spewed everywhere from chat rooms to prime-time debates. What I want to do here is not eulogize Indian para commandos for the attack, neither do I seek to belittle India for its bold military policy. I will however try to build a case for unceasing talks, despite all that has happened.
Unless you have been meditating in the Himalayas, you must have heard about the recent Indian surgical strikes in PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)as a reaction to the attack on a Armed forces camp in Uri. 18 terrorists have been said to have been killed in the attack carried out by Indian Para-commandos insidiously, without any inkling to the Pakistani armed forces. Pakistan however rebuts the claim, saying that there was instead a ceasefire violation across the border which killed two of its jawans.
First things first there is no contending the fact that the operation was a brave one and the valiance shown by the soldiers is commendable. But the question I seek to ask here is, were these attacks the only alternative we had ? Could we not have resolved this in a better way, without violating the LOC, which was decided with the blessing of the UN ? Was this the last resort? Could we not have beefed up our defenses and thwarted any infiltration, instead of subjecting out valuable soldiers to an attack which could have possibly taken their lives. Is beefing up our defense not easier and more pragmatic than throwing our soldiers in a foreign land, where a single glitch could have cost us the lives of 40 of our brave men. To avenge 18 killing is it worthwhile to expend the blood of 40 people in a foreign land, when there are more options. I feel the answer, despite the popular feeling is NO.
Today the average Indian is so tired of these constant skirmishes across the border and the conundrum in newsroom debates that the word ‘Pakistan’ to us connotes fear and hate. But is this the real case ? What explains our banning of Pakistani artists from working here and Arnub Goswami’s belittling of respected Pakistani Journalists in his show ? Is the common man in Pakistan perpetrating these acts ? Definitely not. Infact whatever is happening is the doing of a microscopic minority of the Pakistani Army and ISI. Then why are we aiming our outrage at innocent individuals.
Let me examine the alternatives that could have been followed. Diplomatic alienaton i.e consciously making sure that Pakistan stands alone in the world in this fight should have been our focus. And what surprises me that is that we were doing this pretty amazingly. Eenam Gambhir, a young IFS officer put across India’s stand so elegantly in the UNGA. Sushma Swaraj said in the UNGA that India has always been prepared for talks, then why did her government feel the need to violate International Law in this case ? NaMo delivered a great speech asking Pakistan to compete with India in ending poverty and why suddenly this. India should have built on the wave it was creating in the world and should have cornered Pakistan into acceding to its demands. This airstrike despite its harmlessness to the civilians in Pakistan sends a wrong signal to the International Community. This should have been our last resort.
Cancelling PM’s visit to Pakistan for SAARC summit and coaxing other neighbours to do so was an outstanding victory of Indian Diplomacy. This should have been continued. Now despite the backing by Bangladesh, it is highly unlikely that other states like Afghanistan will openly back this attack. We also make ourselves susceptible to retaliatory attack by Pakistan. Strictly speaking uncalled for invasion into enemy territory ,unless it be, with international ratification and for protecting human rights of groups residing in that country ,is an act of aggression and Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate. And let us not forget that Pakistan also is a Nuclear powered country and hasn’t even signed the No-first use policy. This means nothing is stopping it from leveraging this moment to start a nuclear war. And past experiences have shown us that nothing can be too far-fetched coming from Pakistan.
Now some people have argued that there is no scope for talks in this scenario. Taking such a stance is dangerous and not wise. Despite what the population might feel talks have a irrevocable character. The story of the Cuban Missile crisis maybe cited here. World reached the closest to a nuclear holocaust during the Cuban Missile crisis, which was a situation where Cuba, a island nation near the USA housed nuclear weapons of USSR(now Russia) which threatened the safety of USA. While the leaders of the two super powers mulled over whether to pull the trigger or not, they had back channel talks going on between the USSR envoy and USA gov. This saved the world from destruction. Now I haven’t talked about Kashmir here, but you can check it out in by other blogpost. I do not think it is wise to bring in the Kashmir controversy into this issue, because it has its own story. However what we must stress on is talks. Patriotism and Nationalism are important, but what is more important is being a person of humanity of the whole world. Let us not waste our missiles on each other. Give them to Elon Musk instead, he might just send you to Mars 🙂 .