A hawkish position
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar came out with a hawkish reaction that has a potential not only to derail the efforts to normalise bilateral relation between the two South Asian neighbours , but even harm the interests of India.
Even as Narendra Modi government is cautiously responding to the situation in the subcontinent thrown up by the Pathankot terror attacks, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar came out with a hawkish reaction that has a potential not only to derail the efforts to normalise bilateral relation between the two South Asian neighbours , but even harm the interests of India.
While making a grave comment, he still claims that this is not the stand of Narendra Modi government in which he holds a key portfolio. This is not just hypocrisy but preposterous. He said, “Pain must be inflicted on those who hurt India.”
This caters to the emotions of millions of Indians disgusted by the Pakistani policy of exporting terrorism. But, the fundamental point is that Pathankot is neither the first and unfortunately would not be the last such incident.
Despite a history of heinous crimes perpetrated on Indian soil by the elements with active support of Pakistani agencies, broken promises by Islamabad, why did Modi choose to visit that country and share such fraternal bonds with his Pak counterpart? At least, there should be some continuity in diplomacy and foreign policy.
What did the Defence Minister really mean by this statement? Is he pointing out at the Indian policy of promoting terrorism on Pakistani soil treading the dangerous path pursued by the failed and flawed State across the sensitive border?
In an absurd bid to absolve its responsibility, Pakistan is already making baseless allegations of Indian involvement in terrorist crimes inside Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan is the victim of its own sinister deeds and wants to blame India for this.
The Defence Minister’s hawkish statements give credence to Pak allegations, and are detrimental to the strategic interests of India. A militarised State like Pakistan can afford to clandestinely foment cross border terrorism.
But, a democratic India with free press, independent judiciary and multi-party political system cannot imitate Pakistan and aid or abet terror activities in the neighbouring country. Even if it does so, it would have catastrophic consequences for India's security and integrity.
Arguing that the Defence Minister is hinting at hot pursuit, such policy recourse was often demanded by BJP leaders while in opposition, but in government they realise the complex intricacies in embarking upon such a strategy.
Hot pursuit refers to India crossing the Pakistan border to bomb the terrorist infrastructure. United States could do so as Pakistani military establishment is under its lock and key. India does not enjoy such a pleasure or privilege. Parrikar’s pronouncements are oblivious of geopolitical realities.
Any such misadventure by India would escalate tensions in the neighbourhood to a dangerous nuclear flashpoint. The world will not be a passive spectator. At a time when Pakistan is increasingly isolated and exposed of its involvement in such acts of terror, any such hot pursuit would only illegitimise Indian claims and actions in the eyes of international community.
Complex questions like terrorism do not have quick fix solutions. The nation’s security cannot be held hostage to such emotional outbursts or political brinkmanship aimed at rousing passions to serve political advantage. Nation's interests should prevail over petty partisan interests.