Herald View: War is not the way of humanity
The sane way can’t be the way of the war. It will only kill our young men and innocent civilians. That can’t be the way of humanity
The Indian Air Force’s action against a Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terror camp in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan led to the Pakistan Air Force violating Indian airspace. Dogfights between the two forces broke out in which the two air forces lost one aircraft each and an Indian pilot was captured by the Pakistan Army. The entire country is worried if the nuclear neighbours are again headed towards war.
That concern seems to have been a bit deflected by New Delhi issuing a demarche to the Pakistani High Commissioner to India, handing over a terror dossier on the JeM and asking for the safe return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to India. It seems for the time being that good sense is prevailing over jingoistic war hysteria. But things can turn any way at the slightest of provocations when passions on both side of the border are running high.
Wars do not solve a problem, that too one like Kashmir that has been a bone of contention between New Delhi and Islamabad ever since the two countries became independent. It rather exacerbates it. The two South Asian powers have fought two wars directly about Kashmir, in 1947 and 1965. Kargil was more of a limited conflict than a full-blown war and the 1971 War was not about Kashmir. None of these conflicts have brought any solution to the problem. Realising that a military victory over India is impossible, Pakistan has resorted to its technique of asymmetrical warfare by spawning, training, arming and sustaining terror groups to wreak havoc in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India. The Pulwama attack, the Uri attack, the Pathankot Air Force Base attack are the most recent ones that come to mind.
India must also come out of its 20th century strategic posturing. In the 21st century, no matter how powerful you are, it is impossible to subdue a country of almost 200 million militarily. The American experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, both much smaller countries, should be enough pointers. In this light, India should bring to use its considerable international goodwill and clout to pressure Islamabad into acting against the terror groups nurtured by Pakistan’s Intelligence and armed forces. To achieve that, Pakistan’s political and military leadership also need to rethink their India policy.
The economic benefit, resulting in peace and prosperity among the Pakistani people, that it would get from a stable and peaceful relationship with India should be enough of an incentive for Pakistan to change its devious ways. India must also assuage Pakistan’s perception of an existential threat from India so that talks can reach their logical conclusion. The sane way can’t be the way of the war. It will only kill our young men and innocent civilians. That can’t be the way of humanity.
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