By Raja G Mujtaba
For the past several months, I have never seen an occasion where the Indian panelists on the talks have behaved with responsibility, reasoning or shown any maturity in handling the issues. I have always found them hawkish and war mongrels. At times it appears that they are spilling out the intentions of the Indian establishment to prepare grounds for going to war with Pakistan.
On 24th, once again I was called by a leading Indian news channel, News X on the issue of trade movement across the Line Of Control (LOC). A couple of days back, some trucks carrying goods went to Indian Occupied Kashmir in a trade exchange program. In one of the trucks, the Indians allege to have discovered 10 KG of cocaine therefore the Indians have detained the driver. Pakistan has retaliated and blocked over 20 Indian trucks on the Pakistani side of LOC.
The issue is being discussed live on the electronic media with lot of fervor and fireworks. Most of the times, the Indian panelists are senior retired army officers; today there were General Munishwar Nath Bakshi, Lt General Prem Narth Hoon and Brigadier Malingham.
Of the lot, Brig Malingham is always very aggressive but far from facts. What General Bakshi was saying was all based on assumptions, that Pakistan is willfully smuggling these narcotics into India to spoil the Indian youth and also allow an opportunity for the insurgents operating within India to find funds for themselves with the objective that Pakistan wants to destabilize India by fanning insurgency in Kashmir, Punjab and other places. Gen Hoon also had similar views again all based on assumptions.
Brig Malingham was very hawkish as usual and always talks of teaching Pakistan a lesson by bringing the entire country on its knees within 24 hours. Brig Malingham said that while the TTP through its terrorist attacks has virtually paralyzed entire Pakistan thus it’s a good opportunity for India to attack and breakup Pakistan.
What Brig Malingham says, maybe it’s to play to the gallery or it’s perhaps a reflection of the Indian policymakers. This is not the first time that he has uttered such words but in several previous talks where I also happen to be present on the panel.
It should not. At the same time, we should play our cards in such a way that Pakistan does not become desperate enough to use a tactical nuclear weapon. In any war, it is important to leave the enemy with some room for manoeuvre. Of course, we should send a clear signal to Pakistan that we can punish them with our second strike just in case it dares to use the nuclear option. Also, how would the Pakistanis ensure that their own troops and areas are not affected by the same tactical nuclear strike, given the proximity of the areas and the people?
India must know that it’s Afghanistan that’s a narcotics producing country and not Pakistan. It may have been in the past but since 9/11 the FATA area is a war zone hence there are no possibility of any drugs being produced there but in Afghanistan, it has the US backing and India is also part of that cartel.
Also drug smugglers are an international mafia; they operate quite independent of any government agency or support having the capacity and the capability to use any channels for the transportation of drugs.
Repeated actions of similar nature has become it’s psyche to bully the smaller neighbours. During the talk, Gen Bakshi was trying to malign Bangladesh along with Pakistan for fanning insurgencies in India. I was surprised how he spared Sri Lanka and Nepal.
All the hawks in the Indian thinkers and opinion makers must note that both India and Pakistan are nuclear countries, any misadventure by India can bring destruction not only to the entire region but it could go well beyond. Ultimately nothing would be left of both the countries, can both countries afford this? Is a question that must be answered thousand times before embarking on the road to war.
Pakistan will have to play more careful that India may repeat 1971 style drama when it had an Indian Airlines Fokker, Ganga high jacked to Lahore to be blown off there and creating an excuse to block all over flights of Pakistan to East Pakistan.
To have peace in the region, India will have to play its role with more maturity and sincerity. Just crying peace serves no purpose. On one hand they talk of peace and on the other, they build the war hysteria through all available means. Without settling the core issues like Kashmir, Siachen, and stop its covert operations that it has embarked upon from Afghanistan in Balochistan and FATA areas in particular.
Just holding the talks will not suffice, it should be a meaningful dialogue to negotiate and settle the issues. If there is no negotiation, there would be no settlement of any issue what to talk of Kashmir dispute.
Pakistan must be watchful of all such political parties and individuals who have covert links with India and sideline them from the main body politics. Against whom authentic proofs are available must be apprehended and confronted to be tried under the law and punished.
Hope better sense prevails.