26/11 was the last straw. Pathankot was the last straw. Uri was the last straw. India is the only country which has umpteen last straws after the last straw. After a long time people are getting tired with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches and words and are asking for tough action instead.
The time indeed has come for India to totally change its strategy and try to go in for a final solution and finish the Pakistan problem once and for all.
Some of the things it could try out…
1. Suspend the Indus Water Treaty immediately: While we should honour all international treaties, things have reached a critical point in Indo-Pak ties that call for the suspending of this water treaty that is far too generous to Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of Indians have died in Pakistan wars, conflicts and terror attacks. First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made dozens of blunders and this was one of them. Attacking India, Pakistan is on the verge of disintegration and still refuses to back off.
The 2004 film Main Hoo Na villain, disgraced Indian Army Major Raghavan Dutta (performed really well by Suniel Shetty) declared grandly that India and Pakistan have been at a state of war since Independence to the present day.
That is a grim reality. After the Indus treaty in 1960, we had the Rann of Kutch conflict, the 1965 Kashmir war, the 1971 Bangladesh war, the 1984 Siachen conflict and the 1999 Kargil War. Over and above there have been hundreds of terror attacks.
Which other country would tolerate such colossal belligerence? But it is heartening that at least the nation has begun to debate whether or not this treaty should be done away with.
2. Make LoC permanently on high alert: Whenever we let our guard down, Pakistan infiltrates in higher numbers. The best example is Kargil in 1999. Prime Minister AB Vajpayee let his guard down and we were hit really hard.
The Lahore Declaration was signed in February and we were at war in May! That way Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a good start. Troops have been told to return fire without mercy at the border and surveillance has been increased manifold. But it should be made permanent.
3. Covertly okay hot pursuit: If you accept that Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of India then what is the problem in entering it? Terrorists are regularly stationed just outside the LoC and Pakistani troops give them cover fire.
It is time that we did covert operations and neutralized terror camps near the LoC in PoK and adopted a policy of hot pursuit should the terrorists escape into PoK. There were reports that India indeed did carry out such an operation.
The government denied it, but it would if it was covert. There’s no way of knowing whether it was a true or false story. But such covert action will definitely reap dividends in the long run.
4. Make Balochistan the cornerstone of our Pakistan policy: One declaration by Modi and Balochistan has already become a burning global issue. Banners are being raised all over the world and there’s talk of Baloch leaders applying for asylum in India. We should definitely welcome Brahumdagh Bugti.
There’s no need to even get militarily involved (for the moment at least) and give full diplomatic and moral support to the Baloch freedom fighters. That will put Pakistan on the back foot. Pakistan supports Kashmir independence and supported Khalistan in the past and even tried to look to foment trouble in the Northeast. Pakistan butchers all its minorities and we are merely highlighting this aspect.
5. Break complete ties with Pakistan: We are an economic powerhouse and Pakistan will suffer more on the trade front if we snap ties with them. If we break diplomatic ties, then Pakistan will have to answer more questions to its allies and partners. There would be much more pressure on Pakistan both domestically and internationally while it wouldn’t make any difference to India. Sure the pseudo-intellectual pseudo-secular pseudo liberal communist lobby would cry hoarse, but the common Indian citizen couldn’t care less.
6. Heighten trade ties with all of Pakistan’s neighbours to isolate it: Modi is also attempting this. We are heightening our trade ties with Afghanistan, Iran and China and this will pay rich dividends in the long run. In fact the India-Iran-Afghanistan nexus is already setting alarm bells ringing in Pakistan. For China also trade is a huge component of their rise and India should play the economic game.
7. Flood the world with proof: Everyone knows that Pakistan is a terror state but keeps quiet for various reasons. But that doesn’t mean we should do too. Pakistan has been training and sending terrorists into India for more than 25 years now.
We have tonnes of proof. We should launch a blitzkrieg at the United Nations, Commonwealth, SAARC, NAM and keep bringing it up at international meets and forums. We could even approach the International Court of Justice and file dozens of cases against Pakistan.
The 1947-48 Kashmir War claimed 1,500 lives. The 1965 Kashmir War death toll was 3,000. The 1971 Bangladesh War saw us lose 3,500. The Siachen conflict has claimed 800 since 1984. Since 1989, Kashmir terrorism has claimed 5,000. The 1999 Kargil War had a death toll of 500.
Then there are hundreds of Indians who keep dying at the hands of terror plots that have originated in Pakistan. Then what of the injured, displaced and the grieving families? Then the number goes into lakhs.
Till how long should we continue losing lives like this?
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here