ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Diplomacy Is the Way Forward

Robust diplomatic moves are needed to break the logjam in India–Pakistan relations.


Indian fighter jets crossed the Rubicon on Monday night to launch pre-emptive bombing raids against terrorist camps run by Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. The successful precision attacks by the Indian Air Force (IAF) acted as a balm for the Indian psyche, badly wounded by the terrorist attack in Pulwama a fortnight ago that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans. Almost the entire nation hailed the decisive action by the political leadership as a harbinger of a bold Indian strategy to deal with nuclear Pakistan. Indian strategic thinkers were quick to conclude that air strikes are an “effective tool of deterrence in sub-conventional warfare” and the fear of a nuclear war could not continue to provide immunity to Pakistan. It was assumed that an internationally isolated and debt-ridden Pakistan would refrain from taking action against the infringement of its airspace and avoid the risk of climbing the escalatory ladder. But, the triumphant mood in the country quickly turned sombre as videos of a bleeding Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in Pakistani army custody began appearing on social media on Wednesday morning. At the time of going to press it has been reported that the Wing Commander will be released on 1 March at the Wagah border and received by IAF officials. Both countries must now increase their diplomatic efforts to restore normalcy.

The diplomatic process in India and Pakistan would offer both the countries an opportunity to attend to their respective internal questions and adopt self-reflective attitudes to answer those questions. For example, the Indian government should realise that the claim to solve the question of terrorism through demonetisation has not and will not help. This has been evident in the continuity in terror activities at the border. Again, the Indian government should self-reflectively acknowledge that it has failed to address the more fundamental questions of the Indian economy, social harmony, and national integrity. The voices of reason questioning the incompetence of intelligence units in piecing together signals about the Pulwama attack and the presence of a large quantity of RDX in a high-security zone of Kashmir were drowned in jingoism over the attack. The militaristic language that is bound to escalate the feeling of war is likely to deflect public attention from these fundamental issues.

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Updated On : 5th Mar, 2019
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