Out of my mind: Let sense prevail

India has asserted its right to cross the LoC to eliminate the terrorist camps. But the official Pakistani army is yet to engage.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Updated: October 2, 2016 12:14 pm
india pakistan, narendra modi, modi, pathankot, pathankot attack, uri, uri attack, uri terror attack, india terrorism, pakistan terrorism, surgical strikes, saarc, saarc pakistan, saarc islamabad, saarc india In his first speech after being chosen to lead the BJP’s parliamentary campaign, he spoke about extending our arms to Pakistan to fight poverty together. He did not have to say it. But he meant it.

When we visited Pakistan last year, the puzzle in everyone’s mind was about Narendra Modi. They had expected a hardline anti-Pakistan leader who would initiate aggressive action. But they found him to be peace-loving and friendly. Modi confused his detractors and his fans in India and round the world. The bogeyman created by the Congress was nowhere to be found. Modi went out of his way to be conciliatory. He invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony. He dropped in on him informally to join a family celebration. Indeed, the Opposition began to criticise him for being too soft.

Modi genuinely meant peace. In his first speech after being chosen to lead the BJP’s parliamentary campaign, he spoke about extending our arms to Pakistan to fight poverty together. He did not have to say it. But he meant it.

He got kicked, not once but twice — at Pathankot and Uri. Now, for the first time since 1965, India has retaliated directly to a Pakistani attack. It has also launched a multi-pronged diplomatic attack by examining the Indus Treaty and refusing to attend SAARC meeting. What now?

The attack and counterattack will continue for a while. India has asserted its right to cross the LoC to eliminate the terrorist camps. But the official Pakistani army is yet to engage. There is the issue of Nawaz versus Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif, and the next implosion may be in Islamabad. This war may not be total but it could be very long.

The first effect could be on SAARC. It has to be declared dead. India should set up an alternative association excluding Pakistan. Just look at ASEAN and we can see the potential gain that a group of trading nations could achieve from an arrangement which concentrated on economics.

But if the war goes on, there will be international concern. After all, India and Pakistan have nuclear capabilities. Nuclear weapons don’t just make a bigger bang but their after-effects could hurt both countries, regardless of who uses the weapon first. The entire territory from Peshawar to Lucknow would be subject to radiation if a bomb was exploded anywhere around the border. The danger is that the international system is no longer as powerful as it used to be to persuade the warring sides to stop short of total war. Obama is on his way out and whoever is the new president of the US will take time to intervene. Europe is no better prepared. France has a presidential election in Spring 2017. The UK’s prime minister, Theresa May, is preoccupied with Brexit. China favours Pakistan. Except for Vladimir Putin, there is no powerful leader who could be even-handed.

Thus, a prolonged war between India and Pakistan has to stop short of the nuclear stage, and only a nuclear power can prevent that. Of course, both sides could exercise restraint. But this is new territory for both. The 45 years of Cold War passed without either side using nuclear weapons because both understood the consequences. Even during the Cuban missile crisis, there was restraint.

Can we hope that despite the anger, sense will prevail? Self-destruction is not desirable.

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  1. A
    Oct 2, 2016 at 11:54 am
    Surgical strike yes Indian s carry out surgical strike daily in morning on railway tracks and open fields lol. Built toilets first
    1. A
      Oct 2, 2016 at 4:10 am
      Don't worry about the nuclear bombs as nuclear radiation from it will also spread to stan through water and air. Also western countries will neutralize stan before it as they are worried that it falling in jihadi forces. The best way to neutralize them is to isolated stan completely so it starts failing economically completely. Then western countries will negotiate loans in place of nuclear bombs. Russia and Israel might provide India with Irom Dome and anti missle systems to destroy over stan.
      1. A
        Ajay G
        Oct 2, 2016 at 10:44 am
        It is not likely that escalation will be upto exchanging nukes. Pal army will prefer to avoid confrontation as much as possible. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; They are compelled to keep the tempo up with Talibans. Mullas will build up pressure on Pak Army if it directly takes on India. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; India stands a bright chance of another successful surgical strike, deeper inside this time.
        1. H
          Hard Talk
          Oct 2, 2016 at 1:26 pm
          In larger picture, Jihad started by Maulana Modudi continues. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; Islamic Atomic Bomb is bound to go into hands of Jihadis. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; Modi's close friend Nawaz was looking for a successor to Rahil Sharif due to retire in November. Now, Nawaz will make way for Rahil Sharif to take over as President. We can hear it at any moment. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; Modi will get to talk to his real counterpart in stan. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; India's Army need to achieve the target before that. Choices will be limited after Civilian govt in stan makes way for Army. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; Madam Tavleen in her over zealousness to praise Modi has ignored many possibilities. Of course she is just a columnist not supposed to look into aspects that can go contrary to get views.
          1. I
            Ingeborg Malik
            Oct 2, 2016 at 3:36 am
            Our Military Commanders are very Professional and they have the wherewithall to Neutralise the Command Structure of stan as a Preemptive measure even before an all out War breaks out.Thus in order to launch any such Missiles one must have Command Structure and I am quite sure that has been taken care off by our Strategic Military Commanders,so we should remain Calm and confident and not scurry around whelping like whipped Poodle.
            1. B
              Oct 2, 2016 at 7:17 am
              I agree- both China and stan are landgrabbing countries that use history to validate their actions. If history is to be taken into account then the boundary of China should end at the great wall and stan existence is questionable. They try to cover up their greed and try to justify their exploitation of the wealth and resources of others in the name of history. China in South China sea, Africa, Latin America and so on and stan in their immediate neighbourhood. They like dragons will ultimately disappear from the face of the earth and be history.
              1. S
                S. Kumar
                Oct 2, 2016 at 4:50 am
                India must engage with Israel to seek her expertise in containing stani nuclear threats. I think Modi understands that and covert cooperation is there. Israel was keen to ist India since the very beginning to neutralise stani nuclear operations but Indira spurned them. Only Narasimha Rao had the courage to start open relations with Israel followed by Vajpayee. Others were worried about their vote banks.
                1. M
                  Oct 2, 2016 at 2:29 am
                  Nuclear War is threatened by stan, not India. Even in this paper's blog section, you will find stanis using that threat. So, what can India do, except RETALIATE. We have to FACE THE CONSEQUENCES. Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered immensely but they are thriving cities now. stan is the smaller country and most of it will be gone in a nuclear war. India is bigger. Up to Lucknow, the author thinks there will be damage. There is a lot of India after Lucknow.
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