Pakistan’s ideology towards India has always been that of hostility and hatred. As we have seen in the past years, there have been constant border infiltration by our neighbor. One can’t blame Pakistan directly, but it is a known fact that Pakistan sponsors the militant organizations like Hizbul Mujahideen. The result has been incidents like the Pathankot incident in January 2016 and now the recent ones in Uri. 18 of our soldiers lost their lives in Uri, 20 were injured. While India has avoided a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction and has taken to ‘diplomatic offensive’ by trying to internationally isolate Pakistan, the question remains whether taking such indirect measures and avoiding war is the right thing to do.
It is often believed that beating Pakistan out of Kashmir by force is the best response to Pakistan’s provocations. Just after the Uri attacks, the Military suggested surgical strikes on POK based militant bases and even army bases. Then there are some who say ‘enough is enough’ and want a full-fledged war. But we need to consider the implications of any such action.
There is almost an absolute certainty that any surgical strike on Pakistan is bound to convert into a war. We must not forget that although the militants that cross the border are state sponsored, Pakistan does not really accept this fact. Any surgical strike then means that we are firing the ‘first bullet’ which would be a blatant disregard of our foreign policy and would also mean sacrificing our global image as a ‘peace-loving’ nation.
One may ask why are we concerned about our ‘image’ when the lives of our soldiers and all the Kashmiris is at stake. It is a good argument, but then what is it that we seek to achieve from this war? Who can guarantee that we will win the war, on which side the giants like US, China and Russia will fall? Who are our real allies? But above all, what guarantees that peace will be restored in Kashmir, and Pakistan will stop pulling it’s decadent tactics? One must also not ignore the possibility that Pakistan might win, in which case India will lose Kashmir and it’s strategic borderline that protects it (the Himalayas). Maybe, Pakistan might start targeting areas further down or the Khalistan movement might also revive.
India is the fastest growing economy in the world, that’s a fact. But 20 crore people in a country of 121 crores sleep hungry, and that’s also a fact. War means a subtle blow to the country’s economy, something that India can’t afford.
Then there is Nawaz Sharif’s constant efforts to bring out Kashmir as an international issue. Pakistan keeps us provocating for a reply, and win back Kashmir amidst the political and religious tension in its wake. A war guarantees all this.
WHAT THEN IS THE CORRECT RESPONSE?
India’s current efforts have been in the direction of ‘diplomatic offensive’. It has tried to isolate Pakistan on world forums like UNGA and will continue to do so. The PM Narendra Modi might not attend the SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad. There have been talks of violating the Indus Water Treaty.
Pakistan has been the ‘most-favored nation’ for trade since a long time. In wake of these incidents we need to minimize these trades. We need to see trade with Pakistan maliciously and reduce it to the required minimum. India favours the separation of the strategically and politically important Baluchistan from Pakistan. It must continue to do so. While all this may gather us some brownie points for India in world forums and may even cause some inconvenience to Pakistan’s trade and economy, the ultimate result lies in whether Pakistan stops committing such war crimes.
It has to be accepted that, in the present scheme of things, New Delhi’s hands are tied. We cannot afford to go to war with a nuclear weapon armed nation, but emotions are at a high. People want a quick response. But in trying to preserve our nation’s dignity and sovereignty, we must not end up losing even more. We must act carefully against our rogue neighbor. And although personal opinions may vary, diplomatic offensive and attacks on Pakistan’s economic and political spheres seem the most befitting response.