Usually in peacetime India talks peace, swallows insults, absorbs terror attacks and tries not to aggravate the situation letting Pakistan rant, rave and bully as much as it wants. During war it goes all out as it did splitting Pakistan into two and creating Bangladesh.
But again, in 1971 as soon as peace was declared, India went meek and Pakistan started hurling abuses at us. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto heaped such venom on India that it was totally unprecedented even by Indo-Pak standards.
Things haven’t changed much today as this disgusting Tweet by Zulfikar’s grandson shows…
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and could become Prime Minister/President one day. You know what to expect if and when that happens.
That is why Pakistan has been needling India non-stop without going for all-out war. They know they will be thrashed during a war but they will thrive during any type of conflict during peace thanks to India’s extreme tolerance.
Even in 1999, Pakistan waged a limited war and Prime Minister AB Vajpayee took the bait meekly refusing to cross the LoC. He was unwilling to use the Indian Air Force too, much like Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1962 war, and the IAF pushed a brilliant plan that involved them not getting into LoC airspace.
Pakistan grandly unveiled a policy of a “thousand cuts” that involved us keeping quiet after every small cut and we meekly became part of our enemy’s plans.
Nehru’s China Panchsheel policy involved: 1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. 2. Mutual non-aggression. 3. Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. 4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit. 5. Peaceful co-existence.
This was a joke because China broke each and every one of them one by one while we quietly watched. There is a famous cartoon of Nehru surrounded by five doves and the Chinese surrounded by five hawks to represent the real Panchsheel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks tough and he has finally walked the talk. You could say that he has unveiled a Pakistan Panchsheel of his own which probably is India’s greatest peace offensive yet.
Here’s explaining it…
1. If you can cross the LoC, so can we.
After the post-Independence Kashmir War a Line of Actual Control (LAC) was formed which became the LoC after the 1971 war. We have always respected the LAC/LoC and treated it as a virtual international border.
The absolute pits was the 1999 Kargil War when forget terrorists, even Pakistani soldiers crossed the LoC with impunity but the Indian Army was told not to do the same and the IAF was told not to enter LoC airspace.
Well Modi has asked the simple question: If your men can cross the LoC, why can’t ours? If you don’t respect the LoC, why should we? He has already given the answer. If under Vajpayee the army couldn’t cross the LoC during war, under Modi the army can cross the LoC during peace.
It is amazing that for decades it was a cakewalk for terrorists. Their bases were located just outside the LoC and they could just walk in under Pakistani fire at will. Now after the latest #SurgicalStrike, they will have to rework their entire strategy.
In fact reports are already coming that Pakistan is pushing back some camps to provided areas and that’s already a big loss for them for they are putting the plans of terrorists above the safety of their own citizens.
While it is possible that there may have been stray incidents of soldiers crossing the LoC during encounters, this is the first time that 200 soldiers crossed 2-3 kms into PoK to wage battle against hundreds of terrorists and soldiers after probably 1971.
If a gang of thieves are camped outside your house and they keep coming and creating nuisance, then you have every right to go to their camp and take them head on, especially if that land too happens to be yours in the first place and they are illegally occupying it.
2. If you can raise J&K and Khalistan, we can raise PoK and Balochistan.
Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan in 1948. There were many Independence movements in the twentieth century but the one after 2004 is the strongest. Pakistan waged genocide against Pakistani Hindus and Pakistani Bengali Muslims.
They also went after the Christians, Ahmadiyyas and Shias. There are anti-Pakistan movements in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. There is a civil war raging in North Waziristan. There was even an independence rally in Sindh.
Guess what? They take the moral high ground and raise Kashmiri human rights, tried to foment trouble in Punjab and even the Northeast. Their human rights record is ten times worse than ours and we are supposed to listen to their moral lectures?
Modi has just raised the Balochistan issue and it has already been internationalized. Groups all over the world are raising it and just a few days back Baloch rebels attacked the Dudher project site and killed two Chinese engineers to target the Pakistan-China nexus in Balochistan. This is going to become a huge movement.
India is considering giving Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti asylum. Meanwhile this government has already started calling PoK Indian territory and even gave a spin to the #SurgicalStrike saying Indian soldiers had merely entered their own territory!
3. Don’t take the Indus treaty for granted, we can wage water wars.
First Nehru gave a very magnanimous Indus Water Treaty to Pakistan and every Prime Minister after him steered clear of that no matter what war, conflict or terror attack. The Indus is a powerful instrument where we can wage water wars (inducing drought or flood).
Modi has already suspended Indus commission talks declaring “blood and water cannot flow together”. He has called for speeding up the construction of three dams: Pakul Dul Dam, Sawalkot Dam and Bursar Dam. He has also indicated that we will exploit the maximum capacity of these dams.
India may also revive the Tulbul navigation project, suspended since 1987. Pakistan is already been squirming.
4. We won’t always be defensive, but we can get offensive against your players in J&K.
India has always been reactive to Pakistan. Even as Pakistani terrorists were sent into J&K, India would wait for them to strike. The 1990s and 2000s saw the heaviest death toll in J&K. In the 2010s the death toll has drastically come down mainly because of terror groups steadily turning against the government as a result of 9/11.
But the Modi government instead of being satisfied at the lower death toll has decided to finish the issue once and for all. The Indian Army’s seeking, hunting and eliminating Burhan Wani is a huge achievement and that’s why the separatists are alarmed even more.
If we destroy camps across the LoC and get aggressive within J&K, then this aggressive two-pronged strategy may well end terrorism. While most leaders talk of “living with terrorism”, Modi is still trying to fully eliminate it.
5. We can wage a full diplomatic war and keep at it.
During 26/11, Pakistani terrorists came to the Indian mainland, laid siege to the Taj in Mumbai and the final death toll was 166 with 600 being injured. Compare that diplomatic response to the current one after the #UriAttack where 19 were killed.
India has launched a diplomatic blitzkrieg in the United Nations and SAARC. When you take a tough stand, people will rally around you.
US lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress to declare Pakistan a terror state. The “Declare Pakistan a terror state” petition has got more than a lakh signatures thanks to which President Barack Obama will directly have to respond.
Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) has supported this. When India pulled out of the SAARC summit to be held in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka followed suit. The summit had to be cancelled, a bug win for us and huge embarrassment for our arch enemy.
In fact the tables have turned. After every terror attack, the world would ask India for restraint. After the #SurgicalStrike, Pakistan is being asked by other countries to be restrained! This diplomatic offensive is good but when taken in conjunction with the above four points is absolutely brilliant.
Modi began well in 2014 increasing electronic surveillance along the border, giving the troops at the border a free hand in firing back against Pakistani troops and pushing for initiatives like getting desert scooters for the BSF along the Rajasthan-Pakistan border.
In 2015 he gave peace a chance and subsequently got royally snubbed.
In 2016 he has escalated brilliantly as the above shows.
If he keeps at it like this till 2019, then we may finally solve the Kashmir dispute once and for all!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here