December 5, 2008

Debate will always be the stronger weapon

There has been a lot of crazy-talk recently about a possible "military intervention" by India.


Sure we need to do something extra-ordinary- Yes, we have earned international license for it.
And this time we won't be bound my the usual 'calls for restraint' by the International-community.
But seriously?

Military Intervention??.....known to some as "War"??

Just like the Mumbai-attacks have unified India to some extent, Pakistan would be gifted with a reason to unify behind a common cause against India, if we gave them a reason to do so. Already, in Pakistan, in the matter of the US-bombings of their border areas, there is equal outrage amongst the Mainstream as well as the Radicals.

Today's wars are fought equally on the economic-warfield, and through covert means - and India has the means to do it. The overt use of the Military nowadays is only as a deterrent - and here India although it has the means, lacks the Political or Financial clout (recessions affect war too!) that the P-5 superpowers do.

And exactly who's means are we furthering when people say "jaake maar do" or "sabak sikhao"... Not ours, not the Pakistani mainstream's - it would be playing into the hands of the anti-India lot - The radicals and their sympathizers. I cannot imagine that the average-Joe in Pakistan (average-Javed?) would like to hop across the border to kill Indians, nor have his country torn apart through military force or disintegrate into anarchy at the hands of extremists.

And the Indian voice we hear now - baying for blood - That's a gut-reaction, and it should be recognized as one. India, mind you- not just J&K, would doom itself to Jihad for the next 100years, for the sake of acting on a public gut reaction.

While action is necessary, Peace is the ultimate goal....If you had asked me a month back if i expected Indo-Pak peace within my lifetime- my answer was 'Perhaps'. But if we ever make the mistake of putting such a rash step forward, we'd be likely to slip 10 steps back in our own arc of progress.

We need to normalize things in the public sphere. Amp things up in the diplomatic sphere. And lay groundwork now for a political consensus that lasts beyond successive governments- sufficiently long enough to make our foreign-policy credible and to see results with our neighbors.
Seriously- anything military should not be an option.
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1 comment:

Rajiv said...

I must congratulate you on this rather excellent series of blogs on the issue of terror, Dinesh, and i quite agree with most of your opinions. You've analyzed the issue well.

Even this particular post, you're right that war ought not to be the first thing we jump into, as a knee-jerk reaction acting on the back of a blood-thirsty public (or section of public). And i'm with you that the economic war is really the one to be fought and won; after all, that's the reason, the US is able to at least make Pakistan pretend like it's doing something to clean up its backyard.

However, i think the problem is now so big that even the official Pakistan government can't really do anything substantial about the problem of terror (assuming, of course, that it wants to). I think it's about time carefully targeted military strikes are used to destroy the training camps for these terror outfits. By all means strangle the financial, logistical and ideological support bases, but first the bunker. After all, the other softer means of trying to solve the problem hasn't worked for the last 30 years, has it. I almost hate myself saying this, but the fact remains that had Bush not attacked Iraq and Afghanistan, Saddam Hussain and the Taliban would have still been in charge of those territories. I must hasten to add that things should have been done in a thousand different ways after they'd stormed the streets of the capitals, but sometimes it's like this, and i think you'll appreciate the analogy as a doctor: when the infection gets too bad, when the cancer turns malignant, you have no option but to pick up the scalpel - the time for pills is a bit later.

What do you think?

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