Peace at what cost? I am a pacifist myself… but there is a limit to pacifism. Pacifism, if it leads to further bloodshed in the foreseeable future, is not recommended. Taken to the extreme, one has the WW2 situation, when pacifying Hitler lead to millions of casualties. I am not advocating war; just that successful peace negotiations also require the enemy to have a knowledge that behind the pacifist exterior is a will and strength of iron that can be used. Only then can a negotiation be fruitful. In my opinion, these signals emanating from India are positive; that the world had better take notice that our patience is limited and certainly not infinite! The knowledge of intent combined with the will to implement the intent can actually lead to enemies taking us less for granted! All in all, excellent posturing by the GOI!
It is a given that neither nation can afford a war – and I am not speaking in terms of economic cost, although that is part of the story. Unfortunately, that is precisely what is being utilized by Pakistan and its – aah – internal factor forces, shall we say – to keep up the pressure on India. Pakistan-based outfits are routinely terrorising India; Pakistan has also tried ill-conceived strategies like Kargil to attain its objectives. The result is that not only India, but Pakistan as well is bleeding. That Pakistan is bleeding is its internal problem; my concern is Indian blood. Despite innumerable peace initiatives, nothing has been achieved. That is reason enough for a re-calibration of our strategies vis-a-vis this problem. A slightly more aggressive approach – one that leaves no doubt that if pushed too far, India will not hold back – will give an added impetus to both our Western Neighbour as well as its Daddy USA to take urgent note of our creeping impatience. It will also serve to jettison our weak state image. The Kargil War comes to mind: wherein our controlled aggression won us accolades. That was the other end of the controlled aggression spectrum; what is also needed is controlled aggression that leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that India can only be pushed so far, and no more. The alternative is the status quo – where we are regularly taken for granted, and our strategic imperatives ignored. That has got to stop; and it will only stop when we make ourselves heard.