Pakistan killed two of our soldiers and beheaded one of them. Expectedly, our zealous patriots immediately began to criticise the government for allowing Pakistanis to play hockey with us, allowing their artists to perform in India and for letting their writers speak in our literary fests. So our government sent all of them back. Then again, expectedly, the patriot lobby began to criticise the government – this time for ‘only’ sending their artists and players back while our soldiers were killed. They called it a betrayal to the nation that our government ‘talked’ with Pakistan while they killed our soldiers. So our government had to suspend the new visa regime and even the PM had to come out and say ‘no more talks. There can’t be business as usual.’ Expectedly again the brave patriots were not satisfied. They again criticised our government, only this time taking your favorite and much in-fashion path of politician bashing. So now while our brave soldiers died on the borders, our weak politicians merely ‘stopped talking’ to Pakistan. Evidently our patriots want nothing short of a war with Pakistan (though some of them even urged our brave soldiers not to march in front of the weak politicians on the Republic Day and thus effectively called for an Army rule in India.)
While I would not dwell into all the patriotic calls of insanity here, one genuine thing which perturbed my tranquil thoughts was that how to ultimately solve the problem of Pakistan? And my conclusion is a war is out of question. No not because I am swayed here by considerations of humanity at large but because a war, in itself, without any consideration for its outcome, would be a huge huge loss for India and a severe blow to her national interests. Simply put, India can never win a war against Pakistan – no sir – not at least in the forseeable future. A war in itself would mean the biggest defeat India has ever suffered so far.
And the reason? Not that I doubt for one moment the conventional and strategic superiority of our armed forces, no. Without adding any complications arising out of the playgrounds of international politics and assuming the nuclear weapons on both sides remain silent, I am convinced that should a war happen to be, Indian forces will steam roll through much of Pakistan. But at the end of that war, will the real problems start. What will we do wih a Pakistan just won? Ruling it directly would perhaps be the worst option, for in the modern age of nationalism, no foreign rule can succeed. So we will have to restore the Pakistani establishment. But any government which has lost a war to India would be immediately discredited – perhaps faster than i can spell ‘discredited’. In the good old days of 71 war, Pakistani army took over the reigns. But not now. For there is another more potent force on the horizons and that is of the Islamic extremism. The war would only fuel their cause and enhance their credibility and in all likelihood they would overthrow the government there. Pakistan would officially become a state ruled by terrorists!
And this is assuming that Indian forces quickly win. But in all likelihood such a quick victory will not be decisive for the battlegrounds will then shift from Pakistan into the Afghanistan. Any Afghan government there would be overthrown and the entire Af-Pak region will become a hotbed of religious extremism and fanatic terrorists (some say it is currently like that but trust me its nothing compared to what it would be should a war break out). Les remember, Britain could not win in Afghanistan in the 19th century, Soviet Union couldn’t win there in the 20th century and US couldn’t win there in the 21st… Not even when they were the super powers of their times… Can we really imagine India would be able to win there?
Clearly not. And the tsunami of hate and terror would sweep India and the costs would be exceedingly prohibitive. All our development, all our prowess would come to a still. Plus fresh dangers will arise inside the country as this tide of religious hatred polarises our own society. Thus clearly, a war, irrespective of its outcome, shall be a grave blow to India’s national interest. And the irony is, every rhetoric of these so called patriots in India, only takes us closer to the war, thus playing in the hands of the religious fanatics across the border.
So then, what should we do? Should we take the Pakistani misadventures lying down? Should we continue to play cricket with them while they kill our soldiers? At least breaking these relations is better than doing nothing, isn’t it? And here I see the second irony.
For a moment imagine, I, who have never met you, never even seen you, hereby swear never to do any business with you. So… Whats the big deal? Why should you care? You are not dependent upon me in any way so why should you care if I threaten to break all my relations with you? And now imagine you are my good for nothing, spoilt son or daughter and I am your rich dad. Now if I threaten to throw you out of my house without giving a penny… Won’t you be alarmed? Won’t you be willing to strike a compromise with me and stop doing things which irritate me?
Well its the same thing with Pakistan… We need to cultivate an India dependent lobby there. And this we can do only by promoting trade and investments with Pakistan… By letting them feed on our growth. India has the potential to be a significant factor in Pakistan’s economics. Right now nobody cares there if we threaten to break our ties with them. But once we have a significant lobby there who depend on us for their profits, they would serve to counter balance the jihadi elements there. Afterall the most loved color in the world is green – and green is not the color of Islam but the color of dollars. But here is the irony. By breaking ties again and again, we just don’t let this India dependent lobby grow. We kill it in the foetus itself. And this is precisely what jihadists want! Again the pressure from our ‘patriots’ makes us unwittingly fall into the trap of the terrorists… Say goodbye to any lasting peace. Say goodbye to national interests. Onward we march towards our doom.
Perhaps that is why international diplomacy should only be played by cool heads relentlessly pursuing national interests and national interests alone. Insanity and emotions have no place there. Never ever let the mistress (or lover for the sake of making it gender neutral) dictate your business affairs…
P.S.: I see an increasing culture of insanity and intolerance in our youth. Be it the Anna movement (gallows to corrupt politicians), the delhi rape case (mutilate the rapists’ bodies, kill them like they kill in Saudi Arabia) or this soldier beheading incident, it seems that all sanity is driving away from our heads and being replaced by impulsive insane rhetoric. How can we call ourselves civilised or any different from Taliban if we also don’t respect human rights and dissent? I hope at least some of my readers will see my point although I expect a lot of gaalis after this article :-)