TIME TO ACT

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Feb 2018 12:46:06

T HE latest terror strike on a Srinagar camp of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), though foiled by the security forces, is one more alarm for India to wake up in time to stall the near-continuous attacks on Indian positions either by Pakistan ‘s regular Army or by its proxy soldiers in the form of terrorists. One Indian braveheart lost his life foiling the attack, much to everybody’s grief. That he was martyred while protecting the honour of India, is certainly a matter of pride for every Indian. Yet the very fact that Pakistan has continued its overtures almost on a regular basis, is a matter of serious national concern for India. It is during such extended periods of deliberate trouble by the enemy that the country’s real character is tested.

There is no doubt that India has been retaliating every time the terrorists or Pakistani Armed forces strike. Yet, in the past, the frequency of attacks has increased, with no effect whatsoever of Indian retaliation on Pakistan. When such a condition prevails, it is obvious that the enemy is trying to provoke India to get engaged in a near-war-like condition. It is at such times that the Government’s real character is tested. It feels like hitting back, but also is worried not to trigger a full-scale war.

That is the reason wise men who know statecraft well suggest a fine combination of restraint and aggression when the enemy tries to push the other country into a war or near-war. Every time such strikes have taken place in recent times, the Indian Armed forces have hit back with verve and vigour, in the hope of teaching the Pakistanis some lesson. That purpose does not seem to have succeeded at least until now. Much to the contrary, the Pakistanis seem to be getting certain kick whenever India has tried to retaliate. The Pakistanis seem to enjoy India’s discomfiture. They know that India would never want to be called an aggressor. And that is the reason they -- the Pakistanis -- are trying to needle India.

No doubt, this situation poses a very special challenge before Indian leadership, political or military. Now that the Pakistanis are trying to push India into some kind of aggression, it is the fundamental responsibility of the Indian leadership to think calmly and then decide how to tackle this increasing trouble from across the border. What is most needed in such a condition is a fine combination of restraint and aggression so that the enemy learns the right lesson. It is, of course, foolhardy to expect Pakistan to learn some quick lessons post Indian retaliation. The Pakistanis have become bolder and more repeated when it comes to hitting at India. The nearly unbroken stream of attacks on Indian positions by the regular Pakistani Army or terrorists is certainly something that must stop immediately.

The best way to achieve this target is to become aggressive and return the favour with single-minded dedication to restore national pride that gets hurt every time a strike takes place on Indian positions. The world has realised how Pakistan is making things difficult for its neighbours. The world has realised that India is living in a difficult neighbourhood in which two countries -- Pakistan and China -- are engaged in dubious politics aimed at disturbing regional harmony. It is such times when India’s character is tested. How can India tide over the crisis being imposed by Pakistan on India? The Indian leadership has to remember fully in a nononsense manner that any over-reaction could trigger a terrible backlash. India is not afraid of any backlash, all right. Yet, it is its fundamental responsibility to ensure that it keeps hitting back harder whenever strike takes place. Yet, all this hitting back has to be combined well with a sense of restraint.