And it was perfectly captured in a statement of Ravi Shankar Prasad, senior minister in the Narendra Modi government who said that after the Uri attack, relation with Pakistan would never be like it was – that the India-Pakistan ties would never be same again.
In spite of all the rhetoric and jingoism about going to war with Pakistan, nothing of that sort is going to happen. It reflected in the statement delivered this evening by Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operation (DGMO), Indian Army, when he said, “We reserve the right to respond at the time and place of our choosing. We have desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us.”
Yes, war is not a solution or logical option. India is militarily and economically far ahead than Pakistan. In fact, there is no comparison. But then we cannot forget the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. And when a poor and backward nation like North Korea can act with audacity based on its newly acquired nuclear deterrent, why would not Pakistan do so? And there has been a precedent. Even on the slightest pretext, Pakistan’s politicians go full throttle on nuclear war mongering against India.
So, the best way forward is to clip Pakistan’s wings indirectly – something like Indira Gandhi had done before the war that liberated Bangladesh in 1971.
Neither war. Nor peace!
Before the 1971 war, Indira Gandhi had gone on and sent her colleagues and bureaucrats on a global diplomatic offensive. It was a three pronged strategy. On one hand, the Indian Army was preparing for a war offensive to infiltrate and take over Bangladesh, while at the same time, she was busy promoting India’s stand as a peace loving country that wanted to avoid war with Pakistan.
The outcome of this diplomatic offensive, the most important element of her strategy, was the culmination of global support for India, when after a first desperate strike by Pakistan, India rushed its forces to the erstwhile East Pakistan that soon resulted in birth of a new nation – Bangladesh. So efficiently was Indira Gandhi’s handling then that even after the vehement US resistance, India was able to do what Indira had wanted it to do. The external threat and resistance that could have come from countries like US or China was effectively mitigated by winning confidence of the larger world including Russia.
India needs a global diplomatic offensive like that. But can Narendra Modi and his government do that?
Yes, there is intent, like Ravi Shankar Prasad summed up, that it can never again be the same walk with Pakistan. The hostilities have gone on a new high and the overall ties are a historic low.
But can they walk the talk?
United Nations General Assembly is in session and its principal event, the Annual General Debate, is beginning tomorrow. Pakistan has shouted over the top in telling the world community that it would draw the global attention from the UN platforms towards so called Indian atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir.