People pay the price

Sir, - You have rightly termed the course of action currently pursued by India vis-a-vis Pakistan as the ``diplomacy of confrontation'' in your Editorial `Pull back from the brink' (Dec. 29). You have drawn attention to the fact that one immediate casualty of this `diplomacy' is ``the people-to-people contacts'' which, at the best of times, has only been ``fragile''. The sudden disruption of all modes of travel between the countries will also cause misery in the lives of the hapless people who have relatives living across the border.

The people living in the border villages have also to be added to the casualty list. According to reports, nearly 20,000 of them have been asked to move out at short notice to `safer' places. By this action alone India has created yet another class of `refugees' within its own borders. It is unclear how they are being rehabilitated even if for a short period.

The Army's morale is sustained largely by the measure of support it enjoys from the civilian population. Our armed forces by tradition are quite conscious of this factor. Let us hope that the sufferings of all these people will be reduced to the barest minimum by the conscious efforts of all concerned in the administration.

Kangayam R. Rangaswamy,

Durham, U.S.

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