Opinion » Lead

Updated: August 14, 2013 11:08 IST

Hold the Vajpayee-Manmohan line

Harish Khare
Comment (42)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

It is incumbent upon the Indian political leadership to help create and sustain a constituency for peace and sanity in Pakistan

From the depths of her loss, the grieving wife of the soldier who was slain at the Line of Control (LoC) has declared that she will not accept any compensation from the Bihar government unless “action” is taken against Pakistan. A widow’s grief is understandable. What is not, though, is why the nightly, outrage industry has gone into overdrive demanding an apology from a minister in Nitish Kumar’s government for pointing out that soldiers do die on the border. No doubt, the death of any citizen at the hands of external forces cannot be easily brushed aside, much less the martyrdom of a soldier, because he represents the sovereign. In our case, every solider embodies the Indian state and its sovereignty. Yet, let it be reiterated, there is nothing unusual about soldiers dying in the combat zone.

‘Punish Pakistan’

Equally incomprehensible is the outrage industry’s continuing delusion — despite being fully aware of the 60-year history of an intractable, bloody and ugly relationship — that Pakistan is an errant schoolboy who can be easily tamed, disciplined and, if need be, spanked.

Not to be outdone, a straggling posse of about three dozen “strategic experts” has also pitched in, demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should rethink his proposed conversation with his Pakistani counterpart later next month in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The argument is that any conversation with Pakistan would be an undesirable and unnecessary act of appeasement.

The list of signatories to this “no summit in New York” démarche is an impressive roll-call of men of experience. These include men who are intimately familiar with the extent and limit of Indian defence capabilities; in particular, some of them must be only too familiar with our generals’ gift for braggadocio and grandstanding. Some of them achieved their operational manhood when they helped the political leadership script the terms of surrender at Kandahar in the closing days of 1999. Some of them were in positions of responsibility when a Prime Minister allowed himself to be provoked by a television reporter into impetuously promising an “aar paar ke ladai” with Pakistan after the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament. And perhaps each one of them has made his personal, painful discovery that the very political heavyweights who were thought to be men of Churchillian resolve turned out to be men with feet of clay. And, of course, some of them hope to man the national security ramparts in a Narendra Modi regime next May.

Whatever their political biases, these men firmly belong to the “Punish Pakistan” school. The subtext of their argument is that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other United Progressive Alliance (UPA) leaders cannot be trusted to engage Pakistan without compromising our national interests; on the other hand, the unstated assumption is that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) crowd is endowed with foresight, prescience and wisdom to see through the Pakistani stratagem.

Measuring up

This school refuses to recognise that our decisive, conventional, defence superiority over Pakistan became a thing of the past within a week of that triumphant moment in the sands of Pokhran in 1998. But we continue to believe that there are muscular options available — and that these options are easily evident to everyone except the timidest of the decision-makers. And a new, “bold,” political leader would not hesitate to empower our brave soldiers to “sort out” the irksome “Pakis.”

It is one thing for a demagogue to reinvent the “biryani” allegory; it is an altogether serious matter for our experienced, foreign policy hands to abet the demagogue’s delusions. Take the grand deshbhakta response to the most audacious affront to Indian democracy on December 13, 2001. The “punish Pakistan” school chooses to remain convinced that our response was efficacious and an imaginative exercise in coercive diplomacy.

On the other hand, Jaswant Singh, a key decision-maker at that time, has had the courage and intellectual honesty to record what a taxing task he had on his hands to convince his political colleagues as well as the itchy “chiefs” of the usefulness of a “restraint (in that context) as a strategic asset for avoiding conflict.”

Coercive diplomacy

The much touted coercive diplomacy of Operation Parakram ended in a whimper, with over a thousand soldiers losing their lives. Those in the NDA government are entitled to claim that this year-long quasi-confrontation achieved its diplomatic aims, but the world did not share that sanguine view.

This is what Mr. Bruce O. Riedel has to say about Operation Parakram in his most recent book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back. As a highly networked policy-wonk in Washington, he was naturally and easily allowed [during the stand-off with Pakistan] access to “an advanced Indian air force jet fighter base….the pilots were frustrated. They had been preparing for war for nine months now, and they were ready. As professionals, they were eager to do their job. But the order never came, and a month later they would be told to stand down.”

And, Mr. Riedel rubs it in: “From the Thar Desert to Fort Williams in Kolkata, the Indian military academy in Pune, and military headquarters in New Delhi, we heard the same argument: India cannot let Pakistan get away with terrorism; it must pay a price. Nonetheless, in 2002, Pakistan got away with it.”

Pakistan remained unrebuked, and yet Prime Minister Vajpayee travelled to Islamabad to put faith in the words of an untrustworthy general. Prime Minister Singh has only carried forward the Vajpayee-Brijesh Mishra line of engagement with Islamabad in the hope of tapping the saner elements in the Pakistani establishment and society. No one is, nor can anyone be unaware that the Pakistan Army has institutionalised duplicity. Yet it has become incumbent upon the Indian political leadership to try to help create and sustain a constituency for peace and sanity in Pakistan.

Foreign policy

The alternative to the Vajpayee-Brajesh Mishra-Manmohan Singh line is a policy of uncompromising, perpetual, frozen hostility towards Pakistan; it will not be without its costs, at home and abroad. It is no rocket science to understand that the jihadi elements (including those in the Pakistan Army) devoutly wish to keep cranking up India-Pakistan tensions, in the malevolent hope of bringing the Kashmir issue back on the front-burner. And, let there be no confusion; this confrontational approach is electorally attractive to a section of our political leadership, itching to reintroduce the Huntingtonian clash of cultures in India. In the process, India can only hand over to Pakistan the ultimate victory by becoming like Pakistan, home to jingoism, xenophobia and rough patriotism.

The latest dust-up has posed a larger question: must our democratic energy become a source of weakness in the conduct of foreign policy? Will every local incident and tactical fracas result in forcing our strategic hand? Will every ceasefire violation lead to a full-scale war? Domestic, political cussedness has already complicated equations with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; we are incapable of even a hint of magnanimity in our approach to the neighbours and then we sulk that they are cozying up to China. It is time we understood that all the screaming and shouting in television studios does not add up to strategic muscle. It is time for the demagogues and their strategic spear-carriers to grow up.

(Harish Khare is a senior journalist and former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He is currently a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow.)

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It is in the best interests of the country to let professionals do their jobs. Whether India should go to war or not is best determined by its military brass and the civilian authority which is responsible for the managements of the country's affairs, along with the experts on strategic affairs. it is inappropriate and unethical for anyone to pretend to be an expert on a subject of which they have very little, if any understanding. What is more incredible, is that a newspaper of "THE HINDU"'s repute has published such an insensitive article, by an author without the proper credentials, to comment on such an important issue. It is irresponsible of any media house of good standing to allow such an article to be published, not because of its contents but because of the author's lack of qualification on such an issue. Ironically or rather comically, the author himself is an armchair expert, the particular class of 'experts' he derides in his own articles.

from:  G. Gupta
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 14:02 IST

This school refuses to recognise that our decisive, conventional,
defence superiority over Pakistan became a thing of the past within a
week of that triumphant moment in the sands of Pokhran in 1998.....

This appears to me similar to what Rahul Gandhi said " Poverty is in
mind" Does the writer mean that if Pokharan 1998 had not happened we
had had maintained our decisive, conventional, defence superiority.
Does he believe that Pakistan developed the nuclear bombs in the span
of seven days after Pokharan??

from:  Mrigendra Kumar
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 11:46 IST

This is terrible.Coming as it does from a former adviser to current
PM.While soldiers are there, ready to die,REST OF US ARE NOT HERE TO
And pray,what is this "Outrage Industry"? You mean to say that 125
crore people have to keep taking it lying down?Offering another cheek?
Time for Nehru-Vajpayee- Manmohan line is over.This is time for
Lalbahadur-Indira - Narendra Modi line.While you are free to ridicule
and berate those gentlemen who stood up,they won't be there to fight it
out.There are young,unknown leaders who will follow the the aforesaid
new line to rewrite the history.Pl remain awake and alive for that day.

from:  Jitendra Desai
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 10:04 IST

Yes, soldiers die in action during wars! But not during peacetime under agreed terms of co-
existence on borders. There is nothing inevitable about such loss of life - even of soldiers!
Secondly, there are a variety of options between warfare and pusillanimity, so it is possible to
take sterner stands with Pakistan instead of cowering before all their hostility and continue to
offer talks. Is it any wonder you hold the views that you do given your roles as an apologist
for a failed strategy! India has become a laughing stock and even Pak soldiers mock our
Jawans on the LOC that they have no mandate from Delhi! With chaps like you presuming to
be know all intellectuals, India on this anniversary of Independence Day might as well ask
what was all that for?

from:  Vibhaker Baxi
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 03:42 IST

A very clear and wonderfull article. Now a day people are trendy about accusing our
respected P.M as "Maun-Mohan" but they don't realise that forien policy cant be dealt
in manner of Roadrage. It is to be handle diplomaticly. People supporting "punish
pakistan" school of thaught are fantacising war becuase they them self dont have to
fight at border and solely finance the war from there pocket. They can only fight with
their mouth on tv. Minor WAR DRAW BACK COUNTRY WITH 10 YEAR.we should
consider this thing also.

from:  mohit kumar singj
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 01:30 IST

Time again and again whenever a sane(s) individual stands up to put
rationality in Indian mindset he is rebuked, insulted and called
unpatriotic showing the fragile and bias mind set of Indian
administration with the germs spreading into huge masses of Indian
population. India mostly is aggressive and provocative toward Pakistan,
her involvement in Balochistan and KP provinces in Pakistan is shameful
reality accepted by even American defense secretary. It is regularly
whopped by China while Pakistan helped India have peace in Indian
Punjab and Kashmir. India never thanked Pakistan but betrayed. True
Musharraf as a general was wrong as per media for Kargil other than
that Pakistan has bent backward to appease India only to be rebuked.
Peace is the only way. A nuclear war will send both nations to stone
age specially India will be hurt more. India should stop negative
propaganda toward Pak and walk the line of peace with Pakistan
following suit. Today India is at fault not to seek peace.

from:  Akash
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 01:25 IST

The author has rightly pointed out the short sighted approach in dealing with our neighbours by giving into so called aggressive approach. This has led them to collaborate with China. There is no doubt that we have to be strategically strong and react appropriately. As a nation, we have to follow the sound approaches to deter any adventures by our opponents along the border or other places. Pragmatic economic engagement with our neighbours is necessary for our growth. This aspect has to be carefully nurtured and this requires going beyond the rhetoric.

from:  Viswnathan
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 at 00:54 IST

According to the author there is nothing unusual about soldiers dying in
the combat zone. However, there is something very unusual if we do not
retaliate during a combat, having suffered casualties. That's where the
problem comes. BTW, the author should not uncritically quote foreign
sources. The Indian military academy in not in Pune.

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 14:04 IST

Well, with all due respect to the writer, I beg to disagree. While
talking about the school of "war mongering" sections of Indians, there
exists another school rather class of people which the writer himself
is a student of who still want to be engaged in the so called peace
process with the stubborn and impossible state like Pakistan at the
cost of the heads of our soldiers. The only language Pak understands
is military action and history backs this fact be it on 1947,
1961,1972 or 1999. And dear Mr. Khare let me tell you one thing
clearly, the fear that you are creating within yourself as well as in
readers because of the Pakistan being a nuclear state is completely
baseless. In fact, you are downplaying the strength of Indian Defence
without having an clear ground level visibility.

from:  Milan
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 13:10 IST

is there really a Manmohan line???
during last 9 years, it was always a flip-flop..!!!

from:  Vasant
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 13:04 IST

At best an immature article by Khare devoid of substance and trying to put fear in the minds of Indians. His theory seems to be based on ' Shut your eyes & All will be well '

from:  H Sachdeva
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 12:42 IST

Biased article from another stakeholder! Of course no solutions are

from:  bhavik
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 12:38 IST

"Defence superiority over Pakistan became a thing of the past within a week of that triumphant moment in the sands of Pokhran in 1998"

Indian nuclear capability fails to deter Chinese incursions and aggression but on the other hand Pakistan's nuclear capability proves more than a deterrent for India which tolerates even the most heinous of acts with patience. How nicely on both accounts our enlightened intellectuals justify Indian inability of action in a nuclear powered world, is praiseworthy.
China's defence superiority over nuclear powered India and Indian loss of defence superiority over nuclear powered Pakistan though contrary,are advocated so vehemently that war of words and strong condemnation seems like the only available weapon for us.

from:  Shekhar
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 12:38 IST

Mr Khare is right when he says that India should not go on a fullscale war with Pakistan but he should be sensitive to the brave Indian soldiers guarding the border.People join the army to serve the nation rather than to die.
The need of the hour is to modernize the army and give it more teeth so that it can retaliate as deemed fit when attacked

from:  harsha
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 12:12 IST

Another excellent one by Mr. Harish Khare. The hawks and the jingoists would do well to remember that Pokhran 1998 negated the conventional superiority of the Indian Army once and forever.
Instead of Operation Parakram which cost thousands of crores to the exchequer there could have been a limited air strike in POK if only the NDA government had avoided Pokhran 98. The upper caste middle class Modi supporting hawks should also know that the Parliament attack was carried out by Jaish e Mohammmed chief Masood Azhar. This gentleman was escorted by the NDA foreign minister Jaswant Singh to Kandahar two years prior to the attack. General Mushraff had also stated that he crossed LOC during Kargil and was in Indian territory for two days! All of this happened under the watch of the "iron man" L K Advani.
Engagement at all levels with moderates in Pakistan, including the army is the only step forward.

from:  C Balachander
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 11:12 IST

we must take a cue from the American diplomacy policy as far as neighbouring nations like Pakistan and Bangladesh are concerned. What Indira did in was a positive step in this direction as the age old tenets of non-alignment and non-intrusion have become detrimental to our own interests. We must take effective steps as far as the dilapidated nation of Pakistan is concerned and do away with the cloak of people who respect the freedom and sovereignty of others to such an extent that we endanger our own existence. Atleast we must take a cue from Israel!

from:  vikram sihag
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 10:59 IST

This comes from an Indian whose family person were and are serving in
the Indian Army, including my father and younger brother. Though the
grief and anger inside the people who lost their loved ones in these
latest attacks is understandable, but we are failing to foresee what
even the so called jihadist are able to see. They know that if Pakistan
and India resume their diplomatic talks, it would bring some normalcy
between the two and would be a big dent to their personal ambitions.
Why else is that everytime when India and Pakistan look to engage in
diplomatic talks, such anti-social elements try to derail the efforts
with violence? I don't understand if insane elements like them can
understand this, why not sane people like us can?

from:  Piyush Gurung
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 10:47 IST

A very sane and sensible article. We also long to be able to talk to
such people who can overcome the fulmination and braggadocio and still
get on without having the fear of being called turncoats and traitors.

USA had its 9/11, India its Mumbai we are bearing the brunt 24/7.

from:  salman
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 10:40 IST

This article however pro-Congress,does make a lot of sense."Teach a lesson",what are we talking about,our foreign policy cannot be driven by some electronic media houses working with the intention of raising TRPs.Killing of our soldiers is totally unjustified and yes demands a fitting reply,but For those wanting war,please understand that we will lose more soldiers when in war and will not help in reaching a logical conclusion to the conflict.A long standing solution to this conflict lies at the source of it, Kashmir which Pakistan considers to be an unaccomplished task of partition of India,can't we have a plebicite in Kashmir,let the people of the region decide which state they would prefer to be a part of.For now,Government has to go ahead with the talks with the precondition that Pakistan govt advises its Army which is no more a standalone institution to stop the dastardly attacks on our brave soldiers.Effective dialogue will take us in the right direction for a long standing solution

from:  Kannan
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 10:30 IST

The reference by the author to 'strategic experts' is in bad taste. At least they have had experience in that field unlike Harish Khare. That you should allow such a biased article as a 'lead' is disappointing too. The author's derogatory reference to our Generals is unacceptable and the fact that such a person was once a media advisor to our PM is a misfortune. He is a prime example of why our country is constantly under ridicule from others. He is also confused. He is a self-proclaimed member of the anti 'punish Pakistan' caoterie and yet he quotes an American, in whom he seems to have a greater faith than fellow Indians, that the entire country wanted to punish Pakistan after the Parliamentary attack. So, why does he call the 40-odd signatories to 'no-Talks' irreverently as a 'straggling posse' when they indeed reflect the feelings of the vast majority ? I am simply appalled that The Hindu chose to publish this article and added insult to injury by making it a lead article

from:  Subramanyam Sridharan
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 10:28 IST

I wonder, Mr. Khare, if you are familiar with the concept of sensitivity? In this case, it is about
demanding an apology of a minister who displayed an amazing lack of sensitivity to a
widow's grief and an army's morale by stating that soldiers are recruited to die for a country.
Yes, we are aware that soldiers are killed while fighting for the country. But it is an extremely
heartless remark to make in the face of a widow's grief. If pols display such a callous attitude
and the Defence Minister absolves Pakistan of all wrongdoing, I guess, the army must be
feeling extremely motivated to serve this country. It is always good to be appreciated
especially when you stake your life for such an appreciative lot.
As for your diatribe against the hawks, no one wants war but isn't calibrated pressure a part
of conflict management? Structured dialogues need some trust overtures and the right
reading of the environment to bear fruit. Not blind faith that ignores provocative acts.

from:  Sangeeta
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 10:24 IST

india has suffered ignominy quite often in its history ,listening to
the advice of armchair intellectuals , who have nothing to lose
like consultants who proffer advice. When acted upon, they would
blame the process of implementation in case of failure.

from:  Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 09:40 IST

sir, we are already like Pakistan no need to become because in garb of democracy we are an oligarchy with a few 100 families controlling the Delhi settle disputes and deny justice we have communal clashes instigated/managed by the state(it may be run by different political parties ,and this does not matter) and police with judiciary and most if not all institutions complicit. feeding gullible people of India with talk and themselves looting national wealth under different schemes.killing/discrediting people who oppose their rule . sir is it a wonder that there is anarchistic situation akin to Pakistan.

from:  shiv
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 09:24 IST

Harish Khare's writes well. Prime Ministers are clever politicians. A
successful war gets votes. On the other hand, an unsuccessful war
leads to decline in vote share. If information available to a PM
suggests that a war with Pakistan will be a success, we would seen one
by now. That Prime Ministers of various hues have not pursued war with
Pakistan should help us infer that India does not have the capability
we wish it had.

It is naive to think that the courage of a PM determines outcomes. We
have had people like Advani as Home Minister for 6 long years and yet
not seen tangible progress on issues like Kashmir. The lumpen class
that has degrees but fails to think rationally as an educated person
should, mistakes bravado for patriotism that is actually a facade. We
have scoundrels masquerading as nationalists with scant respect for
the Indian flag and Constitution, submission to a Dhwaj instead and in
pursuit of an agenda that will make India a Hindu Pakistan.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 09:15 IST

True sir. We believe in peaceful dialogue discussions to short out all
bilateral issues and so time and again our leaders & bureaucrats move
ahead with peace proposals to Pakistan. Though sometime strong
measures are implemented to reply in their tone which certainly cause
loss to both sides but intimidate evil forces of the possible results
of their heinous act towards humanity. But in my opinion above all
this country Pakistan(in fact not fulfilling statehood criteria) is
sure to create abnormality in J&K as they have been doing. They are
not going to be tamed in their LOC related activities for they have
lenient and lethargic democratic system of governance;repercussions of
which are faced by us and will be same if strategic solutions are not
taken by us well in advance i.e. hold the line of Vajpayee-Manmohan
with certain check points in it.

from:  Purushottam
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 09:04 IST

There is nothing to disagree with the statement that all the screaming and shouting in television studios does not add up to strategic muscle.
But they bring in to focus the issues involved and the public opinion on the subject.

Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 09:02 IST

The Author - defends the policy of "restraint" with some just
questions towards the end of article. But at the same time he fails to
provide an intellectual and practical benefits of following this
policy and to counter Institutional duality and its effects and
dynamics on relation with Pakistan.
In his approach, there are only two options - either restraint or full
fledged war. In this era of Economic and Coercive Diplomacy - it is
too narrow minded an approach towards a solution.
Also, I agree with Authors view regarding flare up of Kashmir issue,
Politicization of this issue as in - it is being used to project Modi.

The Article conveniently skips over some major issues - Effects on the
morale of Army, change in perceived global standing of India
considering there is an upcoming UN summit, futility of 7 decade long
ongoing peace efforts with Pakistan and so on.

from:  Cherian
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 08:53 IST

Well written article.But I do not agree with the writer when he says that it is incumbent on the Indian leadership to create a constituency of peace in Pakistan.Secondly, the article lambasts the people belonging to the punish Pakistan school of thought.He is wrong in saying that we shouldn't demand an apology from nitish's minister.We haven't raised a 1.13 million strong force just to let our soldiers die.

from:  Pranay Mudgil
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 08:19 IST

Yeah Right! Keep getting bombed but remember to be magnaninimous. After
all, that soldier is not of my family. Why should I care?

Well, I beg to differ. Conversation is well and good but if someone
tries to be double faced, we need to be assertive. That doesn't mean a
full blown attack. Treat them with the same medicine.

from:  Abhishek Pandey
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 08:04 IST

Respected author,
I understand your point of view, even though my approach and
understanding is different from yours. I agree on importance of
restrain, mainly because we are not powerful enough yet! we are growing
and so is the disparity between us and our western neighbor and I
believe we should show restrain now, to not be entangled in an
unnecessary and premature war now.

But unlike you, I do not believe it is incumbent upon the Indian
political leadership to help create and sustain a constituency for
peace and sanity in Pakistan. Its not! Its a very arrogant and
sanctimonious argument. Pakistan is indeed sane and is acting in its
own self interests however immoral or violent the actions be. It is not
incumbent on Indian political leadership to show the moral light to
anyone, let us now come out of this Nehruvian mindset. It is incumbent
on our political leadership to start thinking only and only around
Indian interests. Pakistan is not US and we are not responsible for

from:  Vineet
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 07:31 IST

It is not the time for the demagogues and their strategic spear-carriers to grow up as this is not the time to surrender nor going to war with Pakistan. This is a warlike environment. It is time to sever diplomatic relation with Pakistan until and unless Pakistan stops firing on the border or at Afghanistan at Indians.
It was a mistake for Prime Minster Vajpayee to make a trip to Lahore and Minister Singh was not discrete in his diplomatic judgment. That was the failure of Indian diplomacy
Riedel presents American stance, not Indian.
President Obama cancelled a trip to Moscow as not to compromise national security. Why should Prime Minister Singh compromise India's national security?

from:  nirode mohanty
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 06:01 IST

The agony of the wife of the soldier is understandable . At the same
time the arrogance of the minister who proclaimed that soldiers are to
die is to be condemned. These gentlemen can't move in our-own country
without the protection of commandos, thanks to their personal
credibility!Even the way you had skillfully justified it by saying "
Yet, let it be reiterated, there is nothing unusual about soldiers
dying in the combat zone.." is a deplorable act! This is particularly
true since there is no combat underway !
The necessity of urgent deployment of modern surveillance specifically
- radar and GPS based anti-intrusion is very much needed. In short, we
need to have eyes from the sky and surroundings too.

from:  Viswanath Pillai
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 05:53 IST

I think this is a pretty biased and misleading article because the author does not seem like one to make the elementary mistakes that he has made. Consider "our decisive, conventional, defence superiority over Pakistan became a thing of the past within a week of that triumphant moment in the sands of Pokhran in 1998". This is ridiculous because everyone and their grandmother knew that Pakistan had an atomic bomb, as did India so India never had the superiority. On the other hand, India did those tests to get the valuable data to later allow simulation of tests, thermonuclear device as well as sub-kiloton devices. Regarding the Indo-Pak standoff the strategic objective was a war of (economic) attrition; 1.4b $ was much worse for Pakistan and 3.6b $ for India. Open conflict was never desired else India would have violated Pakistani airspace during Kargil conflict itself. Lastly, the author is disingeneous to imply that the only way to punish Pakistan is by an all out war.

from:  Nirmesh Mehta
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 05:44 IST

We all know what happened after the vajpai visit. The idea is to push against aggressors who kill at the LoC while politically trying to build bridges. There is nothing wrong with the demand that Pakistan should be punished. Saying that India is a nonviolent state, not a soft state won't do. It's high time we borrowed a leaf from US.

from:  Harikrishnan D
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 05:41 IST

We are in great Leadership Crisis since 1947. All we need a good leader then things will fall in place.

We are surrounded already by our troubled neighbours. We should be ashamed of showing our weakness and covering it in the name of peace.

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan are now China*s puppets.

We need Chanakyas urgently.

from:  Satish
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 05:37 IST

World media (India not being a unique case) today is biased by their beliefs or
interests (monetary or otherwise). So we cant escape that and for the lack of any
solution to that I resigned to that problem.

But the worst of the biased media does at least one thing good. Includes a notion of
the opposite view, completely crippled yes but its there. It gives hope of a more
balanced media someday.

Sadly Mr Khare you have taken away that small hope I had for media. What I hate
most about this article is the blatantness with which the one sided truth is projected
has a bottom line. I tell you why.
1. Factual errors: there are many but the worst is you in your writing (about
operation parakram) killed 202 more soldiers more. 798 died in official figures.
2. This is not something that is well known. So you must have research about this
which means you know that India has infact increased its mine laying task 4 times
since parakram. Why is this important? Because 400 of 798 died due to mine

from:  Nirav Shah
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 04:50 IST

The timing for a peace treaty between India and Pakistan has finally arrived! After 65 years, both countries have realized that they cannot wish the other away, there are too many things in common between the two peoples and that rapid growth in the subcontinent is the only way to deal with terrorism. For the first time,a new Prime Minister elected in Pakistan has a huge support from his people, means well to India, the Military is fighting a losing battle against several trouble makers which could cause the collapse of Pakistan. Therefore, Dr. Singh and Mr. Sharif should boldly announce a peace treaty between the two countries, after their UN meeting. Then the Indian and Pakistani Military should meet to evolve a common strategy against terrorists. Finally, open borders between the two countries would quadruple trade and immediately reduce the influence of China in the region. Such a Peace Treaty will be historic and rightly earn both leaders a Nobel Prize

from:  sridhar
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 04:41 IST

I agree. India has more to gain by restraining itself - politically and economically.
Pakistan is already crumbling - Indians need to sit aside and just watch as it commits
suicide. Acting now will unite all the elements in Pakistan that are currently killing
each other.

from:  KB
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 04:38 IST

Sir your opinion 'nothing unusual in soldiers dying in combat zone' is highly demoralising. Their presence at border makes sure we get a sound sleep. If countrymen have such thinking about their brothers who are gaurding them , its highly unfortunate.

from:  Harmandeep Singh
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 04:07 IST

Brilliant analyses and hope every one read, think and reflect.
Thanks for your time and effort.

from:  D Raja
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 03:29 IST

Let saner counsel prevail, war mongering will not help, especially not
with an unpredictable, nuclear-armed neighbour with multiple
unaccountable power centres. Looks like Nawaz Sharif, who was the last
PM to take significant steps towards peace, seems to be more sane and
more determined. The fact is, whenever India and Pakistan have taken
any significant steps towards peace, these kind of incidents are
engineered to thwart the movement towards peace. This can only be the
workings of the war-mongering military machinery in Pakistan, whose
very survival depends on maintaining its hostility with India. We
Indians should be smart enough to see through this, rather than fall
for this trap. The only way forward is to strengthen the constituency
of peace, as simple as that. Of course, our politicians are smart
enough to know this too, but they want to make maximum political
capital out of it by appealing to the aggressive instincts of voters.
People beware!

from:  Ramesh H
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 02:11 IST

Apart from deriding those who call for a robust policy that will deter Paksitan from getting away with repeated attacks against India for decades, Mr. Khare has nothing concrete to offer. It is not India that is at fault. Just because Pakistan has nuclear weapons does not mean that India's response to repeated attacks from that country should be hand wringing. Why not just disband the military if it is not to be used for protecting the nation.? Finally, I would like to remind Mr. Khare that the soldiers who died were ambushed and killed in a planned attack on Indian territory. Similar is the case of the soldier who was beheaded earlier this year.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 01:40 IST
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