Friday, December 26, 2008

Jalaa kar raakh kar dungaa

Almost as a corroboration to my previous mail, Bharat Verma, editor of Indian Defense review, in an article on rediff, underlines the following steps that India should implement against Pakistan:

  1. Snap diplomatic relations immediately.

  2. Declare Pakistan a terrorist State.

  3. Discontinue all trains and bus services as well as trade and business transactions.

  4. Announce renegotiations of the Indus Water Treaty as the terms unduly favour Pakistan.

  5. Begin a process to regulate the water supplies and build new mechanisms to activate water flow controls.

  6. Cancel permissions for over flights.

  7. Seal the Nepal and Bangladesh borders on a priority basis.

  8. Build a grand alliance of democracies by increasing their stakes in the burgeoning economic pie of India, to leverage their support against authoritarian regimes on our border including Pakistan.

  9. Increase immediately FDI in the defence sector from 26 percent to 49 percent. This will help India to emerge as the most modern technology driven defence industry hub in Asia while making it profitable for Western companies to invest.

Whoa! It surprise me as Mr. Verma, must be aware that India has borne much more provocation than Taj attack.

Mr. Verma asks “Imagine if ten trained terrorists from Karachi can hold the financial capital of India to ransom for days, what will happen if 500 pour in from different points in to the country?”

A lot worse Mr.Verma.

But what you suggest would, at one go, put to waste a ten years series of diplomatic efforts where we have scaled from a perpetual war threat in the late eighties and early nineties to a point that even reunification was suggested a couple of years back.

It takes years to start a bus and only minutes to stop it.

Do ten terrorists really qualify for a war putting at risk approximately one third of the world’s entire population?

This is not a pacifist argument. But war should only be a last resort.

Terrorism is price I am willing to pay as being an Indian. Much as the RSS would not like it, the foundation stone of India is not Hindutva but the convent under which it was formed. A composite of annexed British territory and some five hundred odd “puppet” kingdoms (the claim of Kashmiris that they were not a part of British India is as ridiculous as that of Hyderabad or Patiala), the foundations of modern India are as practical as that of the other great democracy across the Atlantic – a guardian of rights of all its citizens. Mukul Keshavan points out that tho’ it is possible to be individually different in America but not collectively (even the blacks had to don suits, forget their native tongues and praise Lord Jesus before being assimilated into the mainstream power equations); but being Indian gives the right to be collectively different also. Hence a Naga tribal is as much Indian as a Keralite Christian. The inherent greatness of this ambition is bound to create a lot of friction at its borders. Much of the world is still reeling under the fundamentalist ideologies harking back to millennia ago; fascism, xenophobia still rule and the concept of India is very hard to sell.

But we have sustained. After sixty years we are still there. We bore the worst of crises and threats, but we didn’t survive by the bullet but by giving the right of ballot to even the dissidents (the Manipur secessionist who gave up arms in ’86 and went on to contest elections and even form governments is an excellent example).

War-monging to relatively minor (yes you heard that: minor) provocations like these is not the answer.
True, Pakistan is involved but what is Pakistan now? Is it the army or the puppet government or the intelligentsia? If we go by Mr. Verma’s recommendations, we will be playing right into the hands of the institution that has made Pakistan what it is today. A war devastated Pakistan is going to be a guarantee of another fifty years of trouble in our own backyard.

Instead, let’s concentrate on our own homework: improve our intelligence and human-rights record against minorities.

Mr. Verma’s essay is an excellent argument as to why defense forces should not be engaged in handling delicate issues like foreign affairs.

1 comment:

subbu said...

Thank you! finally someone who is making sense in this whole testosterone-filled thirst for revenge...
if 10 terrorists from Pakistan can kill 200 people in the most important part of the most important city in India, then 10 terrorists from LTTE/ULFA/any of the other innumerable terrorist organizations can do it. Lets put our own house in order first, so that terrorists dont think they can blow us up, and then call us and say that the Hyderabad Mujahideen did it. (and have people in our country believing it)
Seriously, how dumb are we? I can understand outward anger in 1993. But then 2001, many more times do we get attacekd before we provide our commandoes with rudimentary equipment, before we fire policemen with bellies so big that they cant stop a guy from running away in a police car (and shooting at all and sundry in the process?)
We need to take a long, hard look at our processes, forget about policy. Fire the bureaucracy at the higest level and overhaul law and order budgeting, crisis management, hell, simple management would suffice.