Opinion » Lead

Updated: January 24, 2013 12:47 IST

Manmohan Singh’s abject surrender

A. G. Noorani
Comment (49)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

It was the hysterical campaign by the electronic media that led the Prime Minister to change course on the India-Pakistan dialogue after the LoC hostilities

“We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.” Macaulay’s words aptly describe the fits of chauvinism that seize Indians. But this time it has exacted a toll of consequence, the result of a pathetic surrender by a man of vision.

On January 6, a Pakistani soldier was killed and another critically injured, across the Line of Control in Kashmir. Two days later, two Indian soldiers were killed across the LoC; one was beheaded, the other’s body was mutilated. On January 9, “a senior intelligence official” told DNA, “we believe that this was a local action purely in retaliation of (sic) what the raid out troops carried out in the Uri Sector.” The next day came Praveen Swami’s revealing exposé in this paper, followed by disclosures of beheadings by Indian troops in the past.

The 12 days

By its very nature, that crime is a product of local rage. It should have been settled at the level of brigadiers. As Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said on January 16: “It’s something that is within the domain of the armed forces of both sides … If it is contained at their own level, then it doesn’t create a larger political issue at the higher level.” The Directors-General of Military Operations were not asked to contain the crisis when they met on January 9. Each said his piece. On January 18, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “We want [a] good relationship with Pakistan but not at the cost of our national honour and our national interest.”

Whatever happened during those 12 days to prompt this astounding assertion by a level-headed PM? On January 9, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar made a fair proposal. Both countries should investigate the incidents and assist each other, if necessary. This implied parity in sin and parity is anathema to us. Her suggestion of a probe by U.N. observers was a non-starter. But unilateral probes by each side, followed by a joint discussion, would have eased the tension. In Paris, as late as January 12, Salman Khurshid told The Hindu “We think this will pass.” But New Delhi had other ideas. The IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said the same day “we may have to look at some other options for compliance.” Two days later, Army Chief General Bikram Singh declared that India “reserves the right to retaliate at the time and place of its choice” and “I expect all my commanders to be aggressive and offensive to any situation” — bad advice in a tense situation. Such threats are proper only if the killing was deliberate and was ordered at a governmental level. This was the gloss India chose to put on a local incident to which both sides surely contributed.

The decision to up the ante was taken on January 14 at a hurriedly called meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. The BJP made the most of it. Sushma Swaraj asked for 10 heads against one. Yashwant Sinha said “you cannot have peace with Pakistan.”

The Prime Minister fell in line on January 15. “After this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual [with Pakistan].” The same day, the visa-on-arrival facility was put on hold and Pakistan’s hockey stars were sent home.

The BJP was not appeased. To Ms Swaraj, the PM’s remarks were an “echo of the tough measures we have demanded.” Arun Jaitley said on January 15: “The fact that it has taken so long for the PM to react makes me wonder if today’s reaction is out of conviction or out of compulsion. I hope this marks the burial of the Sharm-el-Shaikh line” — that the peace process should not be held hostage to the issue of terrorism.

Having drawn blood, the BJP will move for the final kill of the peace process. From 2004, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani kept attacking Dr. Singh for every conciliatory move while asking Pakistan privately not to settle with the UPA. The BJP had better offers. India now offered surrender terms: end the “brazen denial” and “bring the perpetrators to book.” This renders retreat very difficult, though its signs have appeared. The BJP will surely call it a surrender.

Ms Khar’s offer of talks, on January 16, would, as Mr. Khurshid had envisaged, raise the dialogue to the political level in view of the impasse in the DGMO talks — “discuss all concerns related to LoC with a view to reinforcing respect for the ceasefire.” The offer was not accepted.

It is sad that the Prime Minister should have allowed himself to be blown off course in these last few months. He had a noble vision. The four-point formula on Kashmir he had crafted with Pervez Musharraf satisfied the interests of all sides — no secession, no permanence to the LoC and self-rule to Kashmiris without any violation of territorial integrity. All this has been foiled; not least by his own hesitations and failure to talk to the people and explain his vision. He abandoned a course that might have brought peace to this sub-continent by a settlement of Kashmir. Now it is a tragic legacy of failure, caused wantonly by self-inflicted wounds that this man of vision will bequeath in 2014.

No leader should permit incidents to deflect him from his course. At 2.45 a.m. on October 12, 1984, a bomb went off which wrecked most of Brighton’s Grand Hotel where Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was staying for the Conservative Party Conference. Dozens, including a Minister, were injured. An MP and four others were killed. The IRA warned her, “Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once.” She did not stop the MI5 from continuing the talks with the IRA.

However, it was not to the BJP that the Prime Minister surrendered. He did so to the clamour whipped up by the electronic media. The BJP wrode piggy-back on that clamour. The resume of events from January 6 to 18 should be read in the light of the venom poured by television news anchors night after night. This raises in an acute form the issue of media influence on diplomacy. A former British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, noted: “Like it or not, television images are what force foreign policymakers to give one of the current 25 crises in the world greater priority.” William Pfaff, a thoughtful commentator, agrees: “Foreign policy now is made chiefly in terms of its reception by television and the press.” But “the only useful debates are those that start out with a clear agreement on what the argument is about” — the precise issues — “and in which the opponent’s arguments and persons are paid respect.” This is altogether absent in “the debates” on our channels.

Ignorant anchors

The anchors themselves enter the fray, ridicule those with whom they disagree, show deference to retirees from the IB, RAW and the army, and treat Pakistanis with scant courtesy. They themselves are none too competent. An anchor of a leading channel said in Ladakh, “behind me lies the McMahon Line.” Another goes to the university in Srinagar and polls students on camera. When almost all said they were for azadi, he replied: “That is a subjective view”. His ignorance of the feelings there exposed.

Eric Louw remarks in his book The Media and Political Press that “most journalists are ill-equipped to read foreign contexts and so can be easily led by both overseas spin-doctors and domestic foreign policy bureaucrats and experts” — and TRPs.

Public opinion can veto policy, fanned by TV it can ruin it. Lippmann remarked, mass opinion “has shown itself to be a dangerous master of decisions when the stakes are life and death.” He lamented that “the work of reporters has become confused with the work of preachers, revivalists, prophets and agitators … jingoism became a criterion for [the] presentation of news.” He touched the core of the problem when he wrote “in an exact sense the present crisis of western democracy is a crisis of journalism”.

The task of the leader is to educate people about the facts of political life. He cannot shirk his duty. Abba Eban struck a fair balance. “It is unrealistic to expect political leaders to ignore public opinion. But a statesman who keeps his ear permanently glued to the ground will have neither elegance of posture nor flexibility of moment.”

(A.G. Noorani is a lawyer, author and commentator. His latest book, Article 370: A Constitutional History of Jammu and Kashmir, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011.)


Army refuses to share details of mutilated soldiers at LoC May 26, 2013

India rejects Pak’s claim on beheading of troopsJanuary 31, 2013

Handling inflation UPA’s shortcoming: ManmohanJanuary 20, 2013

All quiet on LoC; Khurshid sees no need for talksJanuary 17, 2013

LoC firing: Defence Ministry ‘clarifies’, The Hindu respondsJanuary 11, 2013

India shoots down Pak talk of UN probeJanuary 10, 2013

Playing with fireJanuary 10, 2013

India-Pakistan dialogue must continue January 10, 2013

Hafiz Saeed was in PoK days before ambush, says ShindeJanuary 10, 2013

Pak troops cross LoC, kill two jawans in PoonchJanuary 8, 2013

Incursion happened in thick fog and mistJanuary 8, 2013

India summons Pakistani envoy, lodges strong protest against killing of soldiersJanuary 9, 2013

Act tough, Sushma tells governmentJanuary 10, 2013

U.N. urges India, Pakistan to de-escalate tensions through dialogueJanuary 10, 2013

Pakistan summons Indian envoyJanuary 11, 2013

India suggests flag meeting on LoC January 11, 2013

India-Pak flag meeting fails to break the ice January 14, 2013

Citing threats, 20 panchayat heads quit in J&KJanuary 13, 2013

Pakistan fires again at Indian positionsJanuary 13, 2013

Defence Ministry formally confirms beheading of soldierJanuary 12, 2013

Saeed denies visiting areas near LoC January 12, 2013

IAF chief says India may have to look at other options January 12, 2013

Runaway grandmother sparked savage skirmish on LoCJanuary 10, 2013

Vigilance, caution will be our watchwords with Pakistan, says ManmohanJanuary 20, 2013

More In: Lead | Opinion

AG Noorani is well known as a secessionist and sympathizer of pakistan
and of kashmiri separatists at the expense of Hindus and India.Need more
be said? What credibility does he have? Why are others like Dr Togadia
who hold opposite opinions denied opportunity in The Hindu?

from:  vijaygkg
Posted on: Jan 26, 2013 at 16:17 IST

Atlast some sane voice in indian media,the problem with india is that foreign policy and vote bank are joint together and media is playing very negative role inbetween, i was shocked to see the indian media responce in all of this drama, pakistan media played more mature role,,,,, may peace wins

from:  Reyan
Posted on: Jan 26, 2013 at 00:03 IST

I have been reading Mr. Noorani's articles in Frontline since last 10-12 years. I try to be neutral but it is really difficult. For him, it is always India which is at fault. He blames India for India-China war. For him, Jinna was no way responsible for division of India and he was super secular. He never talks about wars enforced on India by Pakistan and I am sure that he blames India for 1971 also. He does not support India's partnership with Israil irrespective of interest of country. One can easily make out from this article that he is for Indo-Pak peace and it does not matter if India has to pay any cost. Obvioulsly, life of an Indian soldier is not precious for him and it is a trivial matter which should be ignored in larger interest of so called peace process. He does not forget to point out that Kashmiri students don't want Kashmir to be part of India and without shred a doubt, Mr. Norrani subscribe to that view. So called intellectual...always anti-Indian!

from:  Astick Shukla
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 23:54 IST

Nice artice. But excuse me!!! public openion should be ignored by political leaders?? This is the most immature comment i have ever heared. Nation does not belong to you and me or to a leade3r. Nation is ours. We decide what is good for our nation and not one person. This is democracy.

from:  Atul
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 13:44 IST

I am happy that at least now the wonderful Govt. of India has come out of the Rip wan winkle mode and has commenced some correct line of thinking by calling a spade a spade. I would strongly suggest that The Hindu does not play the spoil sport by encouraging such articles by persons who think that they are super intelligent and the public opinion as articulated by the electronic media, is not in the national interest. With out this type of pressures brought out by the media, our Govt. is incapable of taking any worth while action,not only in respect of this issue but any other issue as well- as in the case of gang rape in the National Capital. Even the 2G scam or the coal gate scam would have not seen the light of the day, but for the hue and cry raised by the media in general and electronic media in particular. And regarding the complaint by the author that our media does not treat Pakistani personnel properly, my own impression had been to the contrary.

from:  nakkeeran r
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 12:27 IST

There is nothing wrong in expressing one's opinions. However, the truth of the matter is somewhere in middle & neither black nor white, as the opinion of the author & some of the commentators are.
It is agreed that the peace process SHOULD NOT be made hostage to any happening between India & Pak. But can anybody in the country, especially the ones having their kith & kin in the Armed Forces, even most of the ones not having anyone in armed forces, not get offended as a self respecting Indian (as against a jingoist one), by as such gruesome killings!!! Mr Manmohan Singh has, for one, gauged the anger of the general public correctly, & took correct steps as head of the govt. Mr Noorani's assertion of his "surrender" is completely unfair, & smacks of typical HOLY INTELLECTUALISM, as is common to many other gifted with good skills of writing & expression.

from:  Rakhi Udapure
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 10:02 IST

There was a quote I heard once, "Honour has killed a million people, it
hasn't saved even one". Are we so weak willed that we rise up in anger
at every single border incident instead of working towards a peaceful
existence with Pakistan? India's military and economy is far powerful
than Pakistan's so why do we need to indulge in sabre rattling? All
those baying for blood, please join the armed forces or the very least
donate Rs.1000 to a Sainik organisation.

from:  Rahul Garg
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 07:14 IST

This article makes us feel that our upper chamber is empty and that we
are the worst fools in the world! There are some writers in India who
have the bent of mind that Pakistanis are more intelligent and more
resourceful than us.

from:  T.Sathyamurthi
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 05:43 IST

Reading this I am reminded of an incident(not officially reported) Shastri was the PM and Pak army was taking unilateral action to cross international borders in all sectors sprodically in 1965 and the PM was in no mood to retaliate The the then Chief of Staff General Chowdry entered PM's room and he did not even smart salute but confronted with him two alternatives You declare war or I will cross the international border The PM was forced to do what he said

from:  ramu
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 05:09 IST

The article is apt, we should not act like Israel. Do we want peace or not, or just another 100 years of fighting and loss, until we just end up destroying each other. The true aspirations of the Kashmir people cannot be ignored, that has to be addressed at some time, to end the bad blood. Remember Pakistan also lost East Pakistan, so let us show some good sense, and end this madness.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 00:24 IST

Written by someone with serious feudal mindset and closeted feelings
for Pakistan..If you check the link mentioned in article, it says it
could not confirm beheadings done by India but that uncofirmed
allegation became the source of entire article...

Could have been written by Mr Shinde himself....Home minister of the
largest terrorist population in the world by his own admission of
Hindu Terror

from:  Sam
Posted on: Jan 25, 2013 at 00:03 IST

This is a good objective article. By over-reacting, we are just
allowing fun of ourselves. If we had dealt this LoC incident with some
serious thoughts and diplomacy, we would have an upper hand in this
matter. I still wonder, why PM didn't accept the joint investigation.
At least then we could dig out some kind of proof. Sadly, our
government is being advised by monkeys.

from:  Ana
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 23:59 IST

Not only reporters, but even the political leaders seem to be ignorent about the sensitivity of the issue and are giving absurd comments and speeches.

from:  Mudit
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 23:44 IST

A precise opinion as to how I feel. People beating drums of revenge
don't understand that we have given that country the worst case
scenario that a country could have in 1971. Yet, there's no peace.
Most of us Indians see Pakistan as a monolithic structure, one entire
country with one motive, "Destroy India". Fortunately that is not the
case, there are level headed people out there who admit that they were
wrong at times, and friendship with India is in their interest. There
are others, who can't stand friendship with India. They'll make every
move to scuttle steps of friendship, and most of the times we do fall
prey to them and at times do something stupid. Thus making the
friendship seekers look idiots. I'm not a fan of MK Gandhi, but I do
believe that an for an eye will make the whole world blind. Its time
we woke up and thought sensibly.

from:  AB
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 22:45 IST

Brilliant article...!!! Media should never be regulated to prevent it from presenting biased views and it is supposed to only act as a two way communication channel..but this is not happening and TRP races are causing media to unintentionally creating and articulating opinions of public by appealing to emotional side of people and not making them analyse rationally...fascism war born because of this reason only... Military men are not slaves of people they are body should except them to sacrifice their lives for the sake of whims or outwardly focused patriotism of people or leaders...

from:  Pratik
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 18:11 IST

This is utter nonsense. I do not understand why this nonsensical line of
thought is being encouraged by Hindu and publish this motivated article
to make Indians look like bunch of jokers and Pakistan has the last
laugh. It can attack us at will and we have our intellectual critics who
can term the PM's insipid reaction after shameless inaction as an abject
surrender. It is this mindset betrays our nation.

from:  Ramesh K
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 18:08 IST

To my dissapointment, the author only critisized everyone and did not provide any constructive suggestion about how he would have dealt with the crisis.
1. The comments made by the Indian Army Cheif and his officers at the press conference are decided after a detailed meeting at the HQ. They do not give opinions on the fly. Their responses are carefully debated and deliberated upon before disclosing to the media. Author [with no understanding to how things work] apparantly is ignorant of this fact.
2. The author also mentions Musharraf's 4 point formula. The author selectively ignores the fact that while Atalji was reciting poems on friendship, Musharraf was giving orders to attack Kargil.
3. The Author does not, apparantly, understand international laws and UN conventions. The horrendous act by Pak army was aptly denounced by the Indian PM. His reaction seemed to be well calculated.

from:  Rohit Sunil Jagtap
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 17:07 IST

Mr Noorani is right to castigate insufferably self righteous
television anchors and reporters who no longer believe they have to
give viewers a perspective, but believe instead that they have to
dictate what we must think. Its not just western democracy that is in
crisis because of the crisis in journalism but equally Indian
democracy. One hears the most appalling, uninformed, hysterical
outbursts even in news reporting, leave aside the so called panel
discussions and debates that go under all sorts of fancy titles. this
is a subversion of journalistic principles and ethics. The audience
must gain an understanding of the current issues of the day, not be
entertained by political opponents saying anything they like just to
score points.

from:  Sherna
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 16:58 IST

Editorial read as "Manmohan Singh’s abject surrender" should be "Tactics of handling Pressure" . Mr Noorani , though had rightly pointed out that the ease with which dialogue process, time and again had been interfered by such cross border firing, bomb attack and more recently with killing of India and Pakistani soldiers, but he had failed to take account of the pressure that was created by media and it's repercussion on India. Hard stand taken by PM,army chief and others should be considered as pressure relieving action and needed to boast the armed forces. It can be dangerous if we let armed forces alienate and let them alone foster the anger. When Pakistan interior minister was in India, the reference to Babri Masid demolition showed the keen interest shown by them in peace process. No doubt that Mr Noorani aptly pointed the negative role of media by forcing Government to trace back the dialogue process but failed to appreciate its role as safety valve.

from:  Pawan Ghildiyal
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 16:50 IST

The anchors themselves enter the fray, ridicule those with whom they disagree, show deference to retirees from the IB, RAW and the army, and "treat Pakistanis with scant courtesy." What does the author of the piece mean by scant courtesy? For the author's information, Pakistani dignitaries from Musharraf to its High Commissioner Salman Bashir have preached to us in India about the importance of the peace process and peace; they have virtually used every press meet for India-bashing. No Indian needs to be told much less by this author about extending courtesies to Pakistani guests who from the comfort of their lairs in Karachi and Lahore keep accusing India of wrongdoings.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 16:14 IST

This article is an insult to all right-thinking Indians who want a secure and safe country to live in. If you keep turning the other cheek, you'll be slapped again and again by the enemy and you'll be left bloodied.

from:  Vipul dave
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 15:02 IST

It is a well written article as the author after critically analysing
the situation aptly gave the title "Manmohan Singh's abject surrender".
PM's statement to cut business ties with Pakistan didn't come only
under political pressure. Here, media definitely influenced the PM to
take stern action against Pakistan. This shows that hoopla created by
the electronic media does affect decision making and policy making.

from:  Apra
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 14:57 IST

The basic point on which your article is based on the fact that "beheading of Indian soldiers was a local work".. And you didn't bother to explain what do you mean by this word "local work".
Only two possibilities are here, either it is done by local
militant or by Pakistani army's locally posted guards, For both of
these possibilities only Pakistan is responsible.. even if their
higher mgmt was unaware of this event..

from:  ambriesh
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 14:55 IST

I agree with Mr Noorani that incident was blown out of proportion but there was reason to do that. Decapitating and mutilating of soldier came at a time when father of Capt. Saurabh Kalia is still struggling to get justice while Interior Minister of Pakistan ridiculously blamed it on weather while our ministers were watching helplessly. This is nothing short of making fun of our emotions and demotivating armed forces. A strong message was due for long and the incident only proved to be a trigger point.

from:  Abhishek Garg
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 14:49 IST

Mr. Noorani is true to large extent. 1. When such incidents happened in the past Kandhahar hijack or the 26/11 the same ignorant anchors played a major role in destabilizing the action taken by the Indian Government.
2. Even in the case of some of the domestic policy and the political
movement the cards played by these Ignorant Anchors are frustrating and
derail the whole policy.

from:  Rajendran M
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 13:23 IST

Author has rightly pointed the role of current media in the national
security, foreign policy making. Person of MMS stature is believed to
hold his ground at times when his temperament is tested. Nevertheless,
public furor caused mostly because of the media iterative shows is
disturbing the policy lines laid out in good times. Actions have to
taken but not at the cost of goodwill. In most of the incidents that
happen in J&K are dragged to Delhi, which at times does't showcase the
true intent of relationships with the neighbors.

from:  Vinod Reddy
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 12:55 IST

some people cannot face truth.

for them, the mass populace is ignorant, stupid, and cannot be trusted to decide for themselves. their feelings are passable, ignorable.

from:  sanjay mehta
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 11:47 IST

Peace at what cost? I am a pacifist myself... but there is a limit to
pacifism. Pacifism, if it leads to further bloodshed in the
foreseeable future, is not recommended. Taken to the extreme, one has
the WW2 situation, when pacifying Hitler lead to millions of
casualties. I am not advocating war; just that successful peace
negotiations also require the enemy to have a knowledge that behind
the pacifist exterior is a will and strength of iron that can be used.
Only then can a negotiation be fruitful. In my opinion, these signals
emanating from India are positive; that the world had better take
notice that our patience is limited and certainly not infinite! All in
all, excellent posturing by the GOI!

from:  Vishal V Kale
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 11:15 IST

I see everyone talking about more THE HINDU rather then the article itself,means we still have some freedom left for ourselves so just blaming this guy for being optimistic is not going to help. Its the center who should think and talk properly and about the journalism it is really in a bad shape these days.

from:  Vikas
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 11:09 IST

Eyeing the coming general elections, everybody is playing to the gallery
instead of considering things with cool head and trying to defuse the
situation. I think the Pakistani argument for probe by UN Military
Observers Group into these incidents is more reasonable.

Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 10:44 IST

It is very timely for a Person of Highest Legal Standing came out
with some Points to Ponder on the Issue of the Brutalising incidents at the L.o.C.Would it be sensible and necessary to have an enquiry instituted IF the Indian side also were responsible for
mutilating dead bodies.

from:  Ajith Kumar
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 10:15 IST

The author seems to make out a case that it is just Dr.MMS who is interested in peace and the rest barring perhaps himself and the Opinion maker Team in THE HINDU, in India are war-mongers. What an absurd assessment and patently one-sided article , without any pretence of trying to understand what the vast majority of Indians feel on the gruesome mutilation of soldiers and more on the signature denial act by the Pakistani Establishment. THe emotions that showed up was not becoz of TV anchors but was a geniune one.
Not talking and securing our borders firmly is a valid option.

from:  K.S.Ranganathan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 10:08 IST

Yes, it is time, the media becomes more responsible, particularly on
sensitive issues like foreign policy. If we don't want the Kashmir issue
to be taken for international arbitration, it is better, we handle the
border issue a bit more carefully. A shrill and jingoistic media,
kicking up frenzy by the hour, can be a detriment to that objective.

from:  V R Krishnan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 09:47 IST

Noorani seems to bit inclined in favor of PM by blaming BJP,
and somewhere at end of the article he yanks PM’s leg by questioning
the integrity of PM-A Leader. As he mentioned “The task of the leader
is to educate people about the facts of political life” is not the
only one to do .Political domain must seek ways to understand voice of
people and to act upon is the primary responsibility of a true hero.
Leader must give assurance not only to self guard the life of lay man
but also its own people, such as military, bureaucrats and many more,
which mushroomed within its sphere.
The big question, which was confronted to everyone since long, is
when harmony between the two, actually one (got parted), states will
be established? This is required not to do trade but to safeguard”
precious life” of both countries hero’s, who lost their life because
of unhygienic political class.

from:  Prasannajeet Mohanty
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 09:25 IST

Mr. Noorani, ur idea of "peace at any cost" with Pakistan is revolting and ridiculous. This
cost india several thousand lives. Praveen swami's article is by no means an expose. A
bunch of hunches and conjectures cannot be taken as investigative journalism.
Maybe Pakistan may appeal to you for some ideological reasons. But the reality is that
there cannot be peace with a terrorist state. Better patrolling and a no nonsense approach
are the only things that will work. Tv anchors may not be perfect but today with all their
shortcomings , they best represent the sentiments of the nation.

from:  Swarna
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 09:06 IST

Being preacher, revivalist, ignorant and insensitive are the
attributes which keeps viewers glued to the screen and this is what
brings the money. That in turn satisfy investors and shareholders and
CXOs, in turn, receives 8 figure salary and stock options and society
praise them as visionary leaders. And that is what matters to
journalists and anchors and not the news and discussion.

Most of the media house are guided by the philosophy of "profit is
the religion of business". Make money by whichever way you can and
satisfy the never-satisfying greed of investors and shareholders.
They are, purely, not guided by a vision related to journalism,
impartiality and fairness.

On a different note, Hindu has become too much averse to BJP? Many a
times we see negative criticism of BJP, sometimes too scathing
interpretations of what BJP leaders say and not say.

from:  Ajay Mishra
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 08:51 IST

So , the author wants us (the Indians) to be a silent spectators of
humiliation done to Indian soldiers and to carry on with day to day
acitivities with Pak as if nothing has happened . History has revealed
the commitment of Pak leaders numerous times , it is our time to get
aggressive on our part otherwise we keep on losing our soldiers head.

from:  chaitanya
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 08:38 IST

I would like to comment purely on the operational issue of the incident of 8 January
being a retaliation of the incident of 6 January, as contended by the author, who
happens to be a well known lawyer. His assertion is obviously based on reports, at
times ill informed and from sources, which have little idea of the planning and
conduct of operations on the LoC. Having commanded a battalion there, I can vouch
that the operation was planned well before 6th, launched by elements of special
forces and well beyond the level of brigade commanders. Mr Noorani may like to
note that both incidents happened in different Pakistani divisions, which implies that
the orders for the strike came at the Corps level. The Corps in Pakistan have SSG
(special forces) battalions and are trained for such operations. No
battalion is capable of such operations in a short period. We seem to be fooling
ourselves by trivialising such incidents as local. Lets talk but be prepared for

from:  Colonel Vivek Chadha
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 08:24 IST

Cannot agree more. what a fantastic article Mr Noorani. Jingoism
indeed has become the idea behind news presentation. I have a simple
argument to support your case.. When two people are in disagreement it
is possible black and white areas are possible.. One can be completely
right and other could be totally wrong.. Unfortunately that is the way
our news presenters present every Indo-Pak issue. Pakistan is
presented as demon to us and thus a false public opinion is formed..
But this is not only media's fault sir. Politicians from both sides
are equal culprits as they over the last 60 years have fostered such
skewed views in order to generate a propaganda which teases general
masses with its emotional call...

from:  Arjun
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 08:06 IST

Instead of celebrating power positions say president or vice president
in Congress and BJP both must respond in time and come out of their
`comfortable caves` to external and internal attacks. Why does the
politicians give media a chance to build Public pressure and wake them
up ?

from:  Rakesh Manchanda
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 07:56 IST

While political mileage is the order of the day and none from either side is shy about
it, whether justified or not, it is the simple inaction from a Prime Minister
who does not tand up and say this is what he will do on any
occasion on any national policy matters. The anger of people is justified, especially
the very same Government has not been able to do anything after he Bombay blasts
and the Taj episodes. Why is this peace process so important? A Rogue nation has to
be given some stern warning by the true soldier. That's what our commander in chief
has done. Prime Minister was late in responding anyway. It is easy for a Mr Noorani,
or his likes, to sit up in his/their moral pedastal(sy), saying what he/they want to
preach! Unless India learns to show it is serious about its intentions of retaliating
befittingly, Pakistan will continue to wag its ugly tail.

from:  Ashok Subramaniam
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 07:47 IST

Dear Noorani,

At best we can say their were act of violence against Indian Soldier. We as citizen of India cannot let down our soldiers for the sake of fairness. Because you and me are sitting in our homes safely because of unfair agreement(asking them to keep their life at stake for citizens who seems more considerate for Pakistan then India) meted to them. Also please see the holistic picture in case Pakistani soldiers were killed by Indians against the code of war engagement. Pakistan should have called for probe at that point of time. You and I know all these probes rarely achieve their objective. The bottom line is They were INDIAN SOLDIERS who were killed and as a Indian Citizen it is my Duty to stand by them. We all are one family.

from:  Vishal
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 07:34 IST

The Pakistani soldier was not beheaded by Indian soldier and you very purposefully missed to mention the circumstances under which pakistani soldier was killed.

from:  varun
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 07:17 IST

Without venturing in to the contextual merits of many quotes, I certainly agree with Noorani regarding hysterical nature of the contemporary Indian visual media. Indian TV media by and large have failed in their obligation to present news story without screaming head splitting and nauseating opinions. Listeners have the capacity to draw inferences without being spoon fed by TV anchors of their opinion which are not necessarily the truth. It is a sickening experience to watch most of the channels with vertigo causing million repeats of the same visuals. The so called debates are slang match with the participants behave like uneducated urchin street brawl and anchors having little or no control. Having stopped watching TV for news I feel greatly tranquility and spared of evangelic zeal of “preachers, revivalists, prophets and agitators ….. of news.” I am sure many more people who matter have also given up taking visual media seriously and are no worse off! Tragically this fact has not yet been realized by the advertising sponsors!

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 07:07 IST

Why the electronic media only? Most of the mainline newspapers too joined this chorus. But then our Prime Minister’s reaction was more on account of the pressure from his ministerial colleagues and senior Congressmen.

from:  G.R. Varadarajan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 07:04 IST

While it is true the shrill voices of tv anchors may be setting the agenda for discourse
and decions,the responses are premised on the strengths of the responders.upa is
weak kneed and has gone about its efforts in fits and starts except while yielding to
coalition dharma,of mutual munificence.on this occasion,of course pakis had gone
too far and if business was usual despite establishment backing from paki side
we might as well ignore 26/11 also.but the tv anchors are being obliged by the few
daily resource perspns who love their own voices.

from:  n vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 06:37 IST

Mr Noorani read Sanjaya Baru's 'Decoding Manmohan Singh’s red lines' published today. According to Baru, Dr Singh does not succumb to pressure on Foreign Policy. You have a different take on that.
Hindu, either you are publishing articles without reading them or you are as confused as Dr Singh and his cabinet.

from:  Mani Sandilya
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 05:35 IST

Sir, as much as I agree with you about the eligibility and influence
of media personnel, I differ about the strategy to deal with Pakistan.
If a soldier's body is mutilated, the issue does not remain local
anymore. It is a clear-cut violation of the Geneva convention.
Pakistani soldiers committed a barbaric act and they should be
punished for that. It's also the failure of their higher command to
control the rage of soldiers, hence all the soldiers' peers should be
held accountable. This is not the first time Pakistani army has
mutilated our soldiers. Speaking of rage, I would like note that riots
occur because of rage, not gunfights between the standing armies of
two countries. Perhaps Indian media went too far about these killings,
perhaps too much politics is being played on our soldiers' dead
bodies. However, I think it is absolutely appropriate that Pakistan
army high command and politicians being held accountable for their
soldiers' actions.

from:  Ninad
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 05:24 IST

Noorani is trying to compare this situation with IRA's bombing in 1984.
The peace process by Margaret Thatcher did continue after the incident,
but let us not forget who had the whip while the talks were happening.
IRA was considered a terrorist organization. Here the situation is the
fight between two armies in a sector along a highly militarized zone in
the world. These two incidents are no way to be compared. Manmohan
Singh might be an intellect. But as a Prime Minister his Words and
Actions is a affirmation to the people whom he is bound to serve and
It is very convenient to bash the Media for all the fault. But such
actions are necessary to bring attention.

from:  Guru
Posted on: Jan 24, 2013 at 03:19 IST
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