Pakistan continues to stab in our back and we, as a nation, continue to bleed for trusting a hostile neighbour. Following the brutal killing of two of our brave soldiers - Lance Naik Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh- on January 8, the time has come for India to reassess its policy towards Pakistan.
The brutality with which our soldiers were killed has filled the entire nation with rage, kicking off a debate about whether or not India should cut all ties with Pakistan.
After three bitter wars with Pakistan, there has always been an element of hostility between the two sides despite concerted efforts by the political leadership to improve bilateral ties. The seeds of mistrust have also been sown by a bunch of militant outfits operating from Pakistan’s soil, which continue to pursue their anti-India agenda.
The bitter propaganda war and the blame-game has added to this hostility, creating a perception in the psyche of the ordinary citizens, both in India and Pakistan, that a lasting solution can’t be achieved and peace can’t be established.
With Kashmir at the centre of its policies, Pakistan’s powerful military and its equally notorious spy agency (ISI) have always attempted to thwart all peace initiatives aimed at rebuilding ties. A
nd they are at work this time also.
Though Pakistan continues to deny any role in the January 8 incident, there is enough evidence to prove the involvement of Pakistan’s powerful military and the ISI, which covertly supports anti-India activities.
Pakistan’s attack on our border posts is also reminiscent of a similar attempt by its forces in 1999 during which the LeT militants slipped into the Indian side and the whole sequence of events led to the Kargil war.
The gruesome killing of our soldiers and the disfigurement of their dead bodies speaks volumes about the Talibani mindset of the Pakistan Army, which continues to ignore the international conventions and the 2003 ceasefire agreement signed between the two countries.
The repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) have proven once again that our hostile nuclear-powered neighbor can’t be trusted. The attack is also a ‘warning’ to India, a warning that in dealing with Pakistan, the government needs to clearly define the red lines. The incident also raises questions over the need for engaging Pakistan in the dialogue process, and calls for an Israel-like treatment to it.
Ignoring popular sentiments, the Centre recently resumed cricketing ties with Pakistan and took several confidence building measures (CBMs) to prepare the ground for peace talks. However, the soldiers’ killing and blatant ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army have cast a shadow on the ‘environment of trust’ built by New Delhi and could derail the peace process. The apprehension that New Delhi will gain nothing by engaging Islamabad in talks has been proved right and the situation now warrants a tough response from the government to Pakistan.
Ironically, the Centre’s response to the brutal killing of our soldiers has been slow and inadequate, prompting General Bikram Singh to announce that the Indian Army reserves the ‘right to retaliate’- apparently to keep the morale of our soldiers high.
Though the UPA regime has warned Islamabad of a ‘befitting response’, it must do more to corner Pakistan than mere verbal condemnation. We must keep in mind that Pakistan’s poorly trained and cash-starved security forces have the tendency to strike back and repeat such barbaric acts, owing to a poor response from Delhi in the past.
We should not forget that the attack on Army’s border posts was intended to push through some infiltrators into J&K taking advantage of the harsh weather conditions to unleash terror in India. The situation also calls for a paradigm shift in the attitude of our leaders and diplomats, who are hell-bent on pursuing the peace-at-any-cost policy with Pakistan.
I am not a war monger but the time warrants a tit-for-tat response from the Indian side on extreme provocations from the other side of the border. Pakistan is currently facing a political whirlwind and the gradual weakening of civic government there will only encourage the blood-thirsty Pakistan military to reaffirm its supremacy and rekindle tension in India.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)