OPINION

How Should India Respond to the Attack on Pakistan?

March 05, 2009
Sandeep Bansal

Everyone – politicians, the media, or even common people on both sides of the border – revel in the pain of others. For the last two decades, Pakistan and its citizens have ridiculed India's claim that Pakistan was the epicenter of regional terrorism. Several Pakistani newspapers and websites have often ridiculed India's ambition of becoming a superpower. Surprisingly, very few of them have actually criticized their own Govt. and its achievements of the last 60 years. Even now, if you visit the homepage of Dawn, it has a link to an article titled India - not Shining, which ridicules the achievements of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars. Surely, even one of the most respected newspapers of the country feels it necessary to hit out at India rather than talk about the turmoil of their own country.

The Economist rightly puts it,

"IF PAKISTAN’S leaders had ever united against Islamist militancy as they have against India over the past three weeks, their country would not be the violent mess that it is. They are united against India because fulminating against India is more fun"

In such a scenario of extreme hatred and mistrust, it wasn't surprising at all when some sections in Pakistan blamed Indian agency RAW for these attacks. A minister in the Pakistani Govt. claimed that this was India's response for the Mumbai Attacks. Some Pakistani channels played Sonia Gandhi's recent election speech where she said that "Hum muhtodd jawaab denge"(We will give them an appropriate response). But how should India respond to these attacks in Pakistan. Do we also celebrate in the same manner as our neighbor has been doing for the last two decades or do we behave differently?

If 26/11 was termed as an attack on the very idea of India by P. Chidambaram, the latest attack on the Sri Lankan Cricketers is surely an attack on the whole of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country which has faced an identity crisis right from the very beginning. Pakistan neither has any history or any distinct culture of its own that unites its citizens as a nation. There are only two things that unite its people together - religion and cricket. Imran Khan once famously said that terrorists would never dare to target Cricketers. But even he has unfortunately been proved wrong.

Pakistan may provide ideal fodder for our politicians’ election speeches,but ideally, they should resist such temptations. The history of Pakistan suggests it is hatred for India that unites Pakistan. The only entity that has benefited from the 26/11 attacks is the Pakistani military. Now they could become even stronger and perhaps the stage is set for another coup. At such a time when the civilian government is struggling to manage the economy, containing extremists in Swat, and also facing the ire of lawyers and opposition, India just cannot allow democracy to fail in Pakistan.

It’s not just Pakistan that is the problem. India's other neighbors such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also facing internal troubles and Nepal although stable for the moment is undergoing radical change. With trouble spots in our neighborhood, we cannot turn a blind eye towards them. Islamic Fundamentalism is on the rise even in India, particularly in certain districts of UP like Azamgarh. Though it is still restricted to small pockets, incidents like Babri Mosque and Godhra riots don't help the Indian democracy.

In hindsight, the UPA government’s. decision to resist war mongering and using coercive diplomacy to great effect is commendable. Going forward, India should strongly dismiss all suggestions that point to a foreign hand in the Lahore attacks. At the same time it should not make matters worse for the weak civilian govt. If possible, confidence should be built along the border so that Pakistan's armed forces can be deployed in larger number in the troubled areas of SWAT and NWFP and Pakistan cannot blame tensions with India for not deploying enough troops.

India should not forget that the latest attacks are not just going to affect cricket in Pakistan, but the entire sub-continent. Jacob Orab has already expressed his reservations on the IPL. The Asian Block is known to have been united for a long time now. It should be recalled that in 1996, when several teams refused to visit Sri Lanka due to security concerns, a joint Indo-Pak cricket team led by Azhar played a match with the Sri Lankans. Therefore it is in our own interests that the Asian block pushes for the return of cricket to Pakistan as soon as conditions return back to normal.

Perhaps the IPL would have to bear the immediate impact of these attacks. It will be nearly impossible to provide continuous security to eight teams each of almost 25 members plus the coaching and supports staff and umpires over a period of one month, at a time when the General Elections will be taking place. The Indian Government won't be willing to take any chances during the elections. Any attack on IPL would be raised by the opposition as a failure of the Govt. This is particularly the case after the Mumbai attacks and was visible when the Indian tour to Pakistan was canceled. The problem is that postponing IPL is not an option because then the IPL might interfere with the Future Tours Program and the foreign players might not be available.

India is going to host the Commonwealth Games next year. The security of the Games village and the visiting athletes and officials will be crucial. This will be an important milestone for India as the success of the Games might give India a future opportunity to host Olympics. The Games are also important because they offer India a great opportunity to showcase itself as a tourist destination with its heritage and culture. But without adequate security, this will not materialize.

Without ensuring regional stability, we cannot hope to remain as an attractive destination for FDI as India would continue to be labeled along with the rest of the troubled South Asia. It is therefore in India's own interest to take the lead and ensure stability in the region.

A management student .... interested in exploring views of fellow netizens through blogs. I read more than 30 blogs on diverse topics regularly. My personal blog is at http://sandywriter.blogspot.com/.
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#1
Shreyasi
URL
March 5, 2009
03:50 PM

Sandeep,

It is interesting to read your opinion. I completely agree with you in your view of our dependence on the security of our neighbouring states. India is in trouble and it cannot exist in isolation. Should India take a more aggressive stance to protect its people and territory or is it good with its 'liberal' world view?

#2
Citizen
March 5, 2009
08:15 PM

[EDITED]

#3
Citizen
March 5, 2009
11:05 PM

All:

NAZI indian hindians and their NAZI counter parts, sri lankan, pakis, chinese, russions, israelis and iranians, japanese are involved in GENOCIDE of INNOCENT TAMILS in sri lanka and getting ready for the 21st CENTURY HISTORY.....

All these NATIONS are known for their attrocities and waiting to be judged by the WORLD.

NAZI INDIAN GOVERNMENT is the CULPRIT for these killing for the pastdacade after rajiv ganthi families cunning tactics after robbing indians in BOFORS ARMS deal. In order to hide their deals hindian nazis sent the indian people killing force to TAMIL HOMELAND and KILLED thousands of TAMILS before chased off by TAMILS.

Love,

Citizen.

#4
Citizen
March 5, 2009
11:15 PM

All,

indian government and its intelligence agents known as RAW are said to be behind the attacks on the cricket team as they do the proxy war in the GENOCIDE of TAMILS in sri lanka.

Also, TERRORIST activities are being carried out by indian, japanese, chinese, israelis, pakis, and iranians in indian neiboring countries.

These countries must be controlled immeadiatley by WORLD POWERS otherwise human sufferings can not be controlled in ASIA.

india is becoming a NAZI nation and it proved itself and its image can not be erased from our minds....it's history!!!!!

World leaders....super powers!!! please act to box these NAZIS and sentence them to DEATH PENALTY so peace loving citizens can live and share the EARTH peacefully.

Love,

Citizen.

#5
kaffir
March 5, 2009
11:51 PM

Dear Citizen,

Next time you eat extra-hot, spicy food, please remember to eat a bowl of plain curd. It helps temper the heat of the food and prevents it from going to one's head.

You're welcome.

best,
kaffir

#6
kerty
March 6, 2009
12:18 AM

The positions you have articulated seems to be UPA talking points. Did they fax the talking points to you?

#7
Sandeep Bansal
URL
March 6, 2009
11:12 AM

@kerty
What do u mean by the statement of urs?
If u have any counterpoints then put them forward.

#8
kerty
March 6, 2009
03:42 PM

(1) "if you visit the homepage of Dawn, it has a link to an article titled India - not Shining, which ridicules the achievements of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars. Surely, even one of the most respected newspapers of the country feels it necessary to hit out at India rather than talk about the turmoil of their own country."

That article is from Arundhati Roy. She is Indian. She hits out at UPA for taking credit for Oscars and using Slumdogs as some kind of achievement of UPA. So your take amounts to indirectly slamming all the critics of UPA and equating them with Paksitan

(2) "A minister in the Pakistani Govt. claimed that this was India's response for the Mumbai Attacks. Some Pakistani channels played Sonia Gandhi's recent election speech where she said that "Hum muhtodd jawaab denge"(We will give them an appropriate response)."

This is sly way of giving credit to Sonia for imaginary tit-for-tat response from UPA while evading the blame that goes with it. Where has been this muhtod Jawab' from UPA ever? It has been sleeping with Pakistan, Terroism and Jehadism. But now come elections, we have a muhtod Sonia teaching tit-for-tat lessons to Pakistan, and now confirmed by Pakistani sources. We can see the make over of Sonia and UPA for elections.

(3) "Pakistan neither has any history or any distinct culture of its own that unites its citizens as a nation. There are only two things that unite its people together - religion and cricket."

These are typical Congress party lines. It holds, in spite of reality of bloody Partition and terrorist Pakistan string at India's face, that Moslems do not have separate history, culture or unity in Jehadi religion, because history and culture of India are none other than those of Moghuls, and therefore it is all composite and indistinguishable.

Congress believes in cricket diplomacy and we can see it is almost a religion for congress. You can see its pain and anguish not at terrorism but loss for cricket.

(4)"Pakistan may provide ideal fodder for our politicians' election speeches,but ideally, they should resist such temptations.

Why? Because UPA has a dismal record on terrorism and would rather not face the electorate on this issue? In fact, UPA has been dubious champion and apologists of Jehadis and terrorists for the sake of votebanks. If not during election, when should such key issues be raised in a democracy?

(5) The history of Pakistan suggests it is hatred for India that unites Pakistan. The only entity that has benefited from the 26/11 attacks is the Pakistani military.

So do nothing, isn't that the official UPA line? Let the jehadis have their way, do not make them angry, for it will unite them, and the blame rests not on jehadis who those who demand actions against Jehadis. UPA frames the issue as head-I-win, tail-you-lose in favor of jehdis.

(6)"At such a time when the civilian government is struggling to manage the economy, containing extremists in Swat, and also facing the ire of lawyers and opposition, India just cannot allow democracy to fail in Pakistan."

This is on the same line as (5). Don't do anything or else terrorists will unite. Don't do anything or else democratic government(read Islamic state) will fail. Pour unaccountable billions in aids to prevent people from joining terrorism or is it so that Islamic state and its military can get stronger? Bottom line is that UPA can not let jehadism fail in Pakistan, because UPA survives on the same ideology in India.

(7) "the UPA government's. decision to resist war mongering and using coercive diplomacy to great effect is commendable."

Tell us what diplomacy has achieved? Both sides are going thru do-nothing mock exercises to fool the people and we are supposed to gloat over it?

(8) "If possible, confidence should be built along the border so that Pakistan's armed forces can be deployed in larger number in the troubled areas of SWAT and NWFP and Pakistan cannot blame tensions with India for not deploying enough troops."

Go ahead. Bend over backward to implement Pakistan's blackmail. We expect UPA to crawl when action is needed, and come up with Pakistan's own strategies as rationale.

(9) "Islamic Fundamentalism is on the rise even in India, particularly in certain districts of UP like Azamgarh. Though it is still restricted to small pockets, incidents like Babri Mosque and Godhra riots don't help the Indian democracy."

Go ahead. Blame it on Babri and Gujarat Riots. Create alibi for Islamic fundamentalism. Both Babri and Gujarat riots were reaction to Islamic fundamentalism and Congress's policy of appeasement. As if Islamic fudamentalism and appeasement do not harm Indian democracy but reaction against them does. That is a typical UPA party line.

(10) "it is in our own interests that the Asian block pushes for the return of cricket to Pakistan"

We can see the hearts bleeding for Pakistan. Many countries do not play cricket. Nepal and China does not. That has not hurt India's interests. Cricket is much bigger than Pakistan. So please, do not write its obituary yet just because some country can not play it. But it does expose the UPA mindset.

(11) "It will be nearly impossible to provide continuous security to eight teams each of almost 25 members plus the coaching and supports staff and umpires over a period of one month, at a time when the General Elections will be taking place. The Indian Government won't be willing to take any chances during the elections."

Why can't Indian government provide security? Is India as bad as Pakistan. Wouldn't it be a true test of UPA's ability to secure India against threat of Terrorism? And what better time to show it than when politicians are asking for votes on their performance? I can understand why UPA would not like to expose its vulnerabilities on this issue.

(12)"Any attack on IPL would be raised by the opposition as a failure of the Govt. This is particularly the case after the Mumbai attacks and was visible"

So you are more worried about opposition making a legitimate issue out of gross negligence of national security under UPA. Why should UPA be worried if it has fulfilled its mandate to provide security to the nation? If government has failed in its policies, isn't it the duty of political process to bring it out during elections rather than shove it under the rug?

(13)"This will be an important milestone for India as the success of the Games might give India a future opportunity to host Olympics. The Games are also important because they offer India a great opportunity to showcase itself as a tourist destination with its heritage and culture. But without adequate security, this will not materialize. Without ensuring regional stability, we cannot hope to remain as an attractive destination for FDI as India would continue to be labeled along with the rest of the troubled South Asia.....It is therefore in India's own interest to take the lead and ensure stability in the region."

So Olympics and FDI are other carrots for choosing stability over war on terrorism. Stability means India should not upset the apple cart in Pakistan, not make Jehadis mad by taking actions against them, strengthen Jehadi state in the name of democracy, just play cricket, and elect UPA and be happy. This article is nothing but UPA's talking points. So there you have it.

#9
kaffir
March 6, 2009
04:33 PM

"Without ensuring regional stability, we cannot hope to remain as an attractive destination for FDI as India would continue to be labeled along with the rest of the troubled South Asia.."


Maybe it's because of the "South Asian" groups and forums that proliferate in the US, with their membership consisting of 99.9% Indians and some token non-Indian South Asians?

If those groups had forged an Indian identity instead and distanced themselves from the politics of Pakistan, possibly India wouldn't be lumped with other failed/failing states. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

#10
Kerty
March 6, 2009
05:06 PM

Kaffir

The S. Asian identity allows these Indians to wear duel caps - Indian and Asian. Those caps come in handy:

- they can champion anti-India positions and act as if they are not Indians but some global, Asian citizens. So they are not obligated to look from Indian point of view or India's concerns.

- they can pose as if they are neutral and not Indians, thus exempted from national concerns or patriotic sentiments of india.

- they can pose as Indians and take strong polarizing positions against Indians, especially Hindus.

#11
Shotgun Murugan
March 6, 2009
06:14 PM

Pakistan is governed by a non populist government. Musharaf had an iron hand and it appeared as if things were fine. However the present situation is different. On one hand you see Americans dropping bombs inside Pakistan territory and on the other hand you have insurgents who are on a killing spree to discredit the government. The government has remained a mute spectator on both the issues. This will not end untill people are geared towards development and the populist sentiments are recognized in an acceptable way.

India is not any better. I can speak for Tamil Nadu state - where protests since October last year has gone without any meaningful response from the Delhi government. Four people have committed self-immolation, lawyers and students are on an idefenite strike. Some opinionated media folks are on a character assasination campaign to discredit the lawyers protest. I do consider that the uprising is parallel to the civil disobedience movement of the British era. Basically Delhi has neglected the aspirations of the people of this state.

Sri Lanka - Nothing needs to be told, i guess. The world is realizing the scheme of the Sri Lankan government and their genocidal tactics. We are going to see in the coming days, lot more turmoil in the country, with more and more revelations of human rights violations. My Indian brothers who are refusing to comment on this issue will see in the days to come that the issue has created a permenant devide in the minds of the their brothers. The Sri Lanka crisis is a shame on humanity - Period.

When the populist opinions are ignored it will result in instability of the entire region. Unless the aspirations of the people (all sections of the people) are respected, Chaos will RULE!.

Its too bad that the cricket games had to be cancelled, just because bombs (& bullets from governments and terrorists) are falling on the houses of people who dont watch any cricket. Let us adice the people with the most powerful weapons to kill all the beggars so that the streets can be clean.

#12
Citizen
March 6, 2009
10:48 PM

[BLATHERING]

#13
Whosane?
March 7, 2009
10:06 AM

Few months back one liberal desicritic was arguing about holding a dialogue with the likes of Nawaz Sahrif and Imran Khan on the mumbai terror attacks.Here is how these people think like:

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/imran-khans-excuse-foreign-hand-in-lahore-attack/87087-2.html

#14
kerty
March 7, 2009
11:16 AM

Whosane

-9/11 was a zionist plot. Wait. They have a proof that CIA did it.

-The Godhra train incidence was an accident. Wait. They have a proof that it was a Modi's Plot. Wait. They have a proof that Hindus in the train did it themselves.

-The Mumbai attack, killing of Hemant Karkare, all the random bomb blasts across India were Hindutva plots.

The world is living in denial, and trying to defame peace-loving Islam, and deny cricket to Pakistan. Pakistan will give Muhtod Jawaab to this - that means, lets wait for more of the same.

#15
kaffir
March 7, 2009
12:49 PM

kerty,

I did come across 'South Asian' groups but their philosophy just didn't stand up to closer scrutiny, and neither was the membership always representative of their name.

#16
kerty
March 7, 2009
05:22 PM

Here is commentary on Congress politics behind IPL

Before battle, the phoney war
Swapan Dasgupta

"With its rich experience of turning national calamities to partisan advantage, the Congress, it is whispered, decided to utilise the T-20 fever to sell its youthful credentials and its youth icon. Its treasury unaffected by the economic downturn, its strategists reportedly drew up a Rs 100-crore plan to overwhelm cricket with the din of its copyrighted Jai Ho."

"Unfortunately for the Congress, the real killjoys were the cricket administrators. In a bid to ensure that the focused attention on T-20 wasn't derailed by political sideshows, the IPL bosses decided that it would be prudent to bar any political advertising on the grounds and in the approved telecasts. In short, the organizers of the T-20 tournament will be spared all potential charges of favoring one political party over another."

"The Congress, it has been said, recoiled in horror to the IPL's ban on political advertising. There are suggestions that the first knee-jerk reaction of an arrogant party was to press for the cancellation or postponement of the IPL matches on "security" considerations."

http://www.dailypioneer.com/161331/Before-battle-the-phoney-war.html

#17
Sandeep Bansal
URL
March 8, 2009
02:06 PM

@kerty
First of all, whether I am speaking for the UPA or not, I don't need to seek any permission from anybody. Secondly, u hardly seem to have any understanding on the gravity of situation and issues involved(something that is quite evident from ur reply). Lastly, just by reading one article commenting whether one is a UPA supporter is ridiculous. u r welcome to visit my personal blog and decide for urself. But in any case, i find it useless arguing against an idiot like u who does not have any regard or respect for others and does not even knows how to participate in forums.

Here is a point by point reply to the issues u raised:

(1) Very cleverly u seem have ignored the sentences that were either before or after this. I had raised a general point that Pakistani newspapers have always ridiculed India's progress, whether it is India's superpower status, permanent seat in security council or for that matter success at Oscars. But u chose to focus only this and failed to see the larger picture.

(2) Once again, this was a statement that was flashed across by the Pakistani media. Neither did I praise or criticize Sonia Gandhi. It is quite evident that hers was an election speech which was cleverly used by Pak media to suggest that there cud b an Indian hand.

(3) I don't know where u got this that this is a classic Congress line. Infact the place where I read this from Arun Shourie's website and articles - a BJP man. As for the cricket diplomacy, didn't the BJP sent our cricket team jus before the elections.

(4) Once again, it shows ur complete lack of understanding of the issue. Pakistan, which is a nuclear state,is on the verge of collapse. The events after the Mumbai Attacks have actually strengthened the army once again. Making matter worse may not b in our best of the interests.

(5), (6), (7) - Completely Ridiculous arguments from u. It is idiotic for u to even ask what has coersive diplomacy done. It has made Pakistan acknowledge for the first time that the attacks were planned in Pakistan. It has isolated Pakistan completely on the international arena - even more than it was at the time of Kargil.

(8) I beg to repeat what I have earlier said. u seem to have no idea to dangers that the Taliban pose to India. What if they get hold of Pakistan's nuclear bomb. These are fidayeens. They won't think even once before using it against us. It is in our own interest that Pakistan army fights Taliban.

(9) Classic BJP line from urs. Are u their man. Muslims constitute 13-14% of our population. India has to satisfy their aspirations as well.

(10) Exposes that u r a complete idiot. India is surely not Terrorism-proof. In the past teams have boycotted Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Already many big names are threatening to miss IPL. Its therefore important that cricket does not dies in the sub-continent becoz whether we like it or not, we wud continue to be labelled along side our neighbours.

(11) One line answer - Terrorists need to succeed only once while Indian Security agencies need to suceed every time. It is therefore a risky proposition for the incumbent govt. becoz any lapse during the election wud work against them in the elections.

(12) Terrorist activites have happened irrespective of the Govt. at the center. Didn't attack on Parliament or the hijacking of IC-814 happened during the NDA regime.

(13) You are talking about actions. Didn't the NDA govt. launch Operation Parakram. Crores and crores of Rupees were spent. Please tell what was the result and achievements. Jehadis cannot be stopped without directly destroying their infrastructure, which is what the both the US and the Indian Govt. are saying.

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