India-Pakistan relations

India-Pakistan relations are hotting up and the talk of a war is in the air. India claimed to have carried out yet another ‘surgical strike’ in Kashmir which was routinely denied by the Pakistan army. But the fact that all the three chiefs of Pakistan’s armed forces issued ‘warnings’ against India and threatened India with dire consequences should it embark on a war left no one in any doubt that the surgical strike has really hurt Pakistan and it is desperately trying to save its face before the people at home. The wise course for India should be to refuse to be provoked.
People who do not have the ghost of an idea what war – especially a war between two nuclear-armed countries – actually means are engaged in fanning the flames of jingoism at home. A section of the electronic media is playing a particularly irresponsible role in whipping up war hysteria. Some of the anchor-persons, safely ensconced in the comfort of their air-conditioned studios, are talking like army generals and questioning the patriotic bona fides of anyone who dares to differ with them. By contrast, army officials who know far better than anybody else what war is and what war means, have observed a remarkable restraint. Exuding a calm confidence, they have refrained from resorting to verbal bravados or provocative remarks.
Some retired army generals have drawn attention to certain stark realities like a shortage of arms and ammunition to sustain war that will not be over in a day or two;  depletion of India’s air arm, strengthening the defence base – in short, to make up for the scant attention paid to defence in the last decade and a half. In visualizing any Indo-Pak war scenario, China has to be factored in. Those who are itching to ‘teach a lesson to Pakistan’ have very little idea of what a modern-day war means. A war has to be fought with all our strength if war is imposed on us but it should not be of our own seeking. The main effort should be to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and expose its role as a promoter of terrorism not only against India but other neighbours, too, like Iran and Afghanistan. A concerted and sustained diplomatic war against Pakistan will be far more effective than a ‘hot’ war with unforeseeable consequences. Fortunately for India, the international situation is far more favourable to it than it has ever been any time in the past.

Friday, 26 May, 2017