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Eighth Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

December 02'

I N S I D E


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Sunita Vakil

 

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India must move beyond P-word

Sunita Vakil


IT is high time Indian leadership instead of indulging in the same old rhetoric, gets its act together and strikes at the root of terrorism. The million dollar question that everybody seems to be asking is whether the endless sabre rattling and issuing the usual demarche by the Centre after every unfortunate incident is going to put an end to cross-frontier terrorism and stop the frenzy of violence being unleashed by Pakistan?

 

The approach of the BJP Government appeared to be ludicrous. After every humiliating attack in our country, the realisation suddenly downs on our cerebrally superior politicians as they declare in all seriousness that the dastardly act was the handiwork of Pakistan choreographed to destablise India. The Government can not escape responsibility by simply blaming Pakistan for all ills and relating every terrorist act to the development in Pakistan. It is as if BJP is waiting for something to happen to start the blame game and voice invectives like "Pakistan is responsible" and "It is part of a diabolical design by Pakistan to divide J & K on religious lines".

 

Simply blaming Pakistan is going a bit too far and unrealistic. People have become immune to such statements and parroting the chants is not going to change things. The harsh fact remains that the Govt. at the Centre is suffering from a paralysis syndrome and is undecided about the future course of action. In absence of a holistic policy, the Govt. remains indecisive what with the burden of a failed coercive diplomacy which has not proved lucrative at all. Mr. Vajpayee is resting content with presenting himself as the lone crusader of peace and "unlimited restraint".

 

Probably, he wants to go down in History as the ultimate pacifier who believes that poetry has the power of substituting guns with roses. Instead of settling things right in their backyard, our politicians are sniffing for every trace of opportunity to slander each other and serve their own careers better than caring very little for the nation. Rallying cries of Pakistan's capacity is not going to resolve vexing problem and can be taken at best as face saving device. The manner in which India is tackling the war of terrorism leaves much to be desired.

 

Surely, People do not expect the Govt. to be a mute spectator and allow the butchering of innocents to go on endlessly. The problem with the India Government is that when it should give a hard hitting body blow to terrorism to put a full-stop to the outrageous acts, it simply 'asks' Pakistan to stop the activities of terrorist outfits- the root question is, why in the world would the latter do so? Since Pakistan sponsors and funds terrorists to wage a proxy war in Kashmir in order to wrest it from India - it would be the last country to fall in line with India's dictates. What is stopping India from acting on its own and giving a fitting response to the continuing acts of carnage which simply refuse to stop? Admitted that Pakistan is responsible for waging a bloody war in India but who is going to be responsible for protecting its citizens? Surely, we are not going to place the onus of that responsibility at someone's door also?

 

We have been at the receiving end for the last fifteen years. Kashmir continues to burn, Indians continue to die at the altar of terrorism, while our Government seems to be incapable of defending its citizens and protecting their lives. After every heinous attack, we do little else but beat our chests while our power-packed politicians huddle together to endless all-party emergency meetings, next they send emissaries to all countries to garner their support and make Pakistan see "reason". Of course, we ourselves refrain from taking any action since only verbal reaction has been our forte.

 

The fact that we are superior militarily, economically and in other fields also goes sailing out of the window, the fact that our military power is among the best in the world is of no consequence. The fact that we have defence machinery of every kind at our disposal to meet any unforeseen challenge does not matter. And the fact that we can easily absorb the impact of a first nuclear strike without any considerable damage also does not goad our scared leaders to display some action on the ground.

 

What our 'secular' PM is unfortunately unmasking is a banal lack of maturity. It is not clear what he was trying to achieve when he declared the unilateral cessation of ceasefire? One is awe- struck by the callousness and pathological Panglossian attitude of our peace loving Prime Minister. Who gave him the right to mess around the nation when its solidarity and integrity is at stake? While we are at it, it would be worthwhile to remind Mr. Vajpayee of his promise made after December 13 attack on the Parliament that the issue of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan would be settled "Aar-Ya-Paar".

 

Countless entreaties from India that its patience had reached a no return point could not stop Pakistani terrorist agenda in its tracks. Definitely, there is something in Indian blood that deters us from using hard options. After spewing oodles of Venom and declaring that the fight against terror has reached a decisive stage our ruling elite cringes from taking any pragmatic decision. There is a dire need to get side of the moral posturing which has bogged down India for many decades. We have been overly concerned with the world opinion for too long. We proudly claim to have the knowledge that terrorists are trained in camps inside PoK, we knew the exact locations of these camps, we even have substantial proof of Pakistan's hand in subversive activities but we lack the determination and political resolve to crush the menace of terrorism exported by our neighbour.

 

Of course ,we have done our duty by sharing the information with Americans and washed our hands off the whole issue - it is another matter whether they acknowledge the better truth since they do not feel any compulsion to offend their ally in their own war on terrorism. Undeniably, soft policies are no match defeating terrorism. The proxy war launched by Pakistan can not be won by issuing "empty threats". When diplomatic option comes a cropper, other strident measures need to be considered.

 

Adopting an ostrich like mindset is not going to help. Mere castigations of terrorist outrages have proved to be just what they are-hollow vows of a fight to finish. Hence, there are more attacks, more killings, more violence and more bloodshed. Our flip-flop approach and soggy state of preparedness encourages Pakistan to launch attacks in quick succession against India. There have attacks on vital targets like our Parliament, the J&K Assembly, Srinagar Airport, Srinagar Army Headquarters, BSF Headquarters, South & North Block, Red Fort and many other installations. After every attack, the Government whips up a war hysteria to cover its cowardice and inaction. Then everything is forgotten till the next attack. By definition and necessity, the ruling BJP has adopted the policy of wait and watch. Other than occasional outbursts of anger following assertion for the umpteenth time that India's patience at its tetter, there is a serious lack of concrete action.

 

On top of that, the wooly headed so-called nationalists and intellectuals loose no time in enumerating the long-term consequences and negative fall-out of any retaliatory policy every time India makes a few hollow noises of striking back the enemy. With no politician willing to take any chances, India has been sincerely following the policy of "maximum restraint". The Government had seat on its two hands and let providence follow its own course than respond to the situation with urgency and firmness. BJP has been dubbed the government of "inaction". The need of the hour is that India should move beyond the rhetoric and face the challenge of terrorism with determination and purpose.

 

There has been no let-up in violence so far and thousands of innocents have been killed. India has unchallenged proof that subversive activities are being masterminded by Pakistan. Also there is no indication that the terrorist attack will halt in the near future. Hence, it is time for a proactive strategy on Kashmir otherwise political procrastinations may be detrimental to the nation. Mr. Vajpayee will have to stop hallucination and appreciate the fact that poetic imaginings are not going to resolve long-standing problems. It is time for the nation to seriously introspect the issue in its right perspective and meet the challenge of terrorism with courage and fortitude. We are committed to protect our nation and its citizens at all costs. So far the soft measures adopted by the Government have been deciphered as weakness and cowardice.

 

Whether India can rise up to challenge is still a mute point. It has to come out of cocoon of dewy-eyed illusion and face stark realities otherwise it will prove to be a Cul-de-sac for the nation.

  • Author is special correspondent for Weekly Kashur Gazette, New Delhi 

  • By an exclusive arrangement with Weekly Kashur Gazette, New Delhi 

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