Recent skirmishes between the armies of India and Pakistan across the Line of Control have evoked a lot of emotional responses. Some have called for extreme measures such as recalling the envoy, severing the ties with Pakistan and even steps just short of war. While it is true that the mutilation of our soldiers’ bodies is barbaric and totally unacceptable, restraint is the need of the hour. Any full-fledged confrontation will cause incalculable damage to the fragile economies of both countries. The Centre should be allowed to explore all possible options. While it may not be inappropriate for military chiefs to reassure the public that they are in a state of readiness, they should observe restraint in their statements.
At a time when the threat of a war between India and Pakistan looks real, New Delhi has displayed maturity by suggesting a flag meeting on the LoC. A confrontation will cost both the neighbours heavily and bring immense pressure on the countries already struggling with insurgency and adverse economic growth.
M. Arun Narayanan,
This refers to Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne’s comment that in view of the ceasefire violations, India may have to look at some other options (Jan. 13). Some other option may indeed be viable in the prevailing situation. But such a step would have to cross a major hurdle in the form of the political will to execute it, especially when the general election is barely two years away.
A permanent solution to the Kashmir problem could have been found had we abided by the U.N. resolution for a referendum. The liberation of East Pakistan and exchange of Prisoners of War was one more opportunity to retrieve PoK. Unutilised opportunities are aberrations in India’s foreign policy. Nuclear race, arm acquisitions and unending border conflicts would have been things of the past. Investments need not have been diverted to unproductive defence. Aversion to U.N. arbitration and multilateralism is meaningless in changed circumstances.
It is almost a week since Pakistani soldiers crossed the LoC, killed and mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers near Jammu. Besides, they have been indulging in unprovoked firing at the Indian posts in clear violation of the ceasefire agreement. The government of India is still wondering how to respond to the naked aggression. Surprisingly, it is the same government which, with a massive show of strength, quelled the peaceful demonstration of citizens in Delhi when they rose against its apathy towards women’s safety. It is the same government which set the police on those protesting against corruption. What is surprising is many describe this morbid inaction against the enemy as a mature reaction.