The Pulwama incident brought the two South Asian nuclear armed neighbors to the
brink of war that could have transcended to nuclear holocaust. Alarming as it
was, global powers jumped into the fray for de-escalation.
India has a history of perpetual belligerence; it has imposed wars, started
numerous skirmishes and instigated several escalations during the last 71 years.
The dispute over Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and water issues keeps the two
giants in the whirlwind of bellicosity. It is time that the world at large and
both countries in particular glean few lessons from the recent standoff, which
is yet not over, to avoid future specter of nuclear holocaust, resulting from a
potential Pakistan-India war. The irritants between these two countries need to
be identified and addressed through statesmanship by both countries’ leadership.
Post-Pulwama: Prime Minsiter Imran Khan offered India to discuss terrorism,
asserting that Pakistan itself is the victim of this scourge and it is
continuing its fight against the menace including the crackdown on the banned
organizations. He considers that such non state actors can retard the positive
trajectory, which Pakistan has embarked upon; besides, such elements cast
shadows on otherwise commendable progress that its security forces have made
against Pakistan specific terrorist outfits. India on its part needs to stop
atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris, which is increasingly resulting in
disillusionment among the Kashmiri people – an obvious outcome of Indian
repression. The international community has to realize the gravity of the
situation and must not ignore this simmering dispute.
Another international concern should be the instant pace with which a terrorist
incident in India can spiral into a threat of war, and its likely fallout on the
region and beyond. Fanning it out of proportions, so as to bring two countries
to the precipice of war, is irresponsible on part of Indian media and its
political leadership. As Premier Imran alluded that India was contemplating a
missile attack on night February 27, the upper notches of escalation ladder may
precede the lower ones in hostilities. Such are the perils of conflict between
these two nations, which can only be precluded through a sense of restraint and
willingness to engage for solution of the bilateral grievances. Ironically, the
leadership of India became victim of its own bravados, such as “ghus kay marain
gay” (we will intrude and hit).
Indian refusal to engage in any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan has only added
to the complexities between the two countries. Even the regional forum of SAARC
could not be tapped to engage due to the attempts of sabotaging the conduit made
by India on different pretexts. Considering that continued tensions between the
two countries have ominous security implications for the region and the world,
global powers should encourage a rapprochement between them, addressing each
other’s concerns and resuming severed dialogue regime.
Indian political leadership’s public pronouncements to isolate Pakistan
diplomatically, are a farfetched dream. Recent regional developments bring out
that Pakistan retains its regional relevance, due to its geostrategic location,
significant role in wooing Taliban to negotiate with the US for bringing an end
to Afghan war, leaning of China vis-à-vis CPEC and Pakistan’s courtship with
Gulf countries. Such objectives set by India for itself, will only serve to
further vitiate already tense Pakistan-India relations.
War is a dangerous business; it is far more dangerous when countries have
nuclear weapons. Indian public and its media need to realize this fact; the
world also needs to embrace this stark reality. Any situation of such an extreme
can only be averted if India comes to the terms of removing the bilateral
irritants. Easier said than done, it will take a high degree of statesmanship as
well as shared will to enter an era of progress and prosperity.