Tit for tat between India and Pakistan must end

203

editors noteIn the aftermath of demonetisation, the killing of three Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops including recovery of the mutilated and beheaded body of one of the soldiers has gone almost unnoticed. It failed to elicit condemnation that the repulsive act deserved. The Pakistani soldiers had crossed the Line of Control that divides Kashmir to launch the sneak attack. On 23 November, a day after the recent incident, the country was told of a big mortar assault by the Indian Army that had been given a free hand to settle scores with Pakistan. On 29 November, seven soldiers, including two Majors, were killed when militants dressed as policemen stormed a military camp in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sadly this tit for tat and ‘an eye for an eye’ policy has been going on in body count ever since 19 Indian Army soldiers were killed in Uri in September month leading to retaliatory surgical strikes. Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours had been strained ever since. There have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border fire.

We can’t dispute that the mutilation of bodies of soldiers is no bravery but an act of desecration. However, as events have shown, there has been no end to the cross-border firing and post-surgical strikes, 28 Indian soldiers and several civilians have laid down their lives.

Even though the Army on 23 November undertook the biggest fire assault since 2003, there is a question mark if it will achieve the desired result of fostering peace. It is high time that India not be seen as a country trapped in this cycle of blood feud. We need to come out with a clear cut road map to restore and ensure ceasefire on the LoC.

Like TS Eliot’s The Waste Land that presented the post-war sense of desolation, disillusionment of a generation, futility and a thirst for life-giving water, the formal ceasefire in November 2003 had come
as a big boost to peace, leading to return of thousands of farmers and their families to border villages on both sides.

The present times, provide a yet another opportunity of that kind to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has emerged a global leader enjoying unchallenged hold over political power. It is only expected of him and the government to initiate steps to restore the ceasefire that worked well all these years barring recent hostilities between the neighbours that have so much in common. Indeed, peace is a pre-requisite for the NDA government’s promise to common people of a corruption-free society, responsive governance and resultant “Achhe din”.

[email protected]