What a coincidence? The day India is remembering its Kargil brave-hearts on Vijay Diwas, Pakistan is bracing up to have Imran Khan, a moderate turned radical and known as ISI stooge, as the next Prime Minister. And, well before taking over the so-called reins of the rogue terror country, where it is actually the army that calls shots, Imran Khan preferred to start his innings with Kashmir rant. The message is clear. It is going to be the Pakistan army to dictate terms to elected political representatives. That is precisely what happened when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had gone to Lahore in peace bus to meet his Pakistan counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, the army chief of that time General Parvez Musharraf was engineering Kargil incursion.
Imran Khan said, “Kashmir is the biggest contention between India and Pakistan. There have been human rights violations for over 30 years, and the people of Kashmir have suffered massively”. This is a brazen pot-shot on the Indian Army that has been showing highest degree of restrain any army in the world can afford.
How long shall India live with a neighbour, which refuses to budge despite suffering three humiliating defeats in wars. In a fit of desperation, however, the failed nation ultimately resorted to less expensive but much venomous proxy war and low key skirmishes like the one in Kargil that have troubled India more than the regular wars. While Indian army suffered minimum causalities in 1947, about 6,500 soldiers were killed in subsequent two wars-3000 in 1965 and 3,500 in 1971. According to conservative estimates, the proxy war and low key skirmishes have caused more fatalities than the wars. These have not ended. These continue to bleed India.
On the contrary, Indian response has been somewhat shamefully mute, notwithstanding the muscle power and fists shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his fierce 2014 election campaign. Considered as the toughest and strongest Prime Minister India ever had, Narendra Modi’s response during the past four and half years has, however, proved otherwise. He has, however, disappointed the nation by not repeating, least to speak of surprassing, what Lal Bahadur Shastri did in 1965 or Indira Gandhi in 1971.
With Imran Khan taking off his stint on Kashmir plank as Pakistan’s main agenda, Indian leadership-both political and military-will have to think what has gone wrong since seventies that a tiny and weak neighbour is ferociously calling shots and bullying India? It is the same nation that found itself in shell shock with her 90,000 soldiers taken as prisoners of war on 16th December 1971 by Lt. General J. S Arora. Pakistan got the humiliation which its generation would never have forgotten, had India continued with the strategy adopted by Shastri and Indira. They had a vision; they possessed will and they epitomised national pride. They would agree to disagree but at the same time stick to their points on reason and merit.
Remember the public pressure over Indira Gandhi when Pakistan army resorted to mass killings and excesses over Bengalis in, what is now called Bangladesh, to intervene and liberate the oppressed land for ensuring return of lakhs of refugees in West Bengal peripheries. Such was the intensity of the pressure that even some retired generals and several cabinet ministers also joined in the cry for immediate liberation. Indira Gandhi is on record having summoned the Army Chief General Manekshah and insisted for intervention and action.
What has been the response of successive Prime Ministers during the past three decades of terrorism in Kashmir? An entire lot of miniscule minority has been hounded out of the Valley, Jihadis have been ruling the roost in Kashmir, secessionists are getting boost to continue with anti-India tirade, trampling Indian Tricolour and symbols has become a norm, political blackmail has crossed all limits, soldiers are hooted and kicked out on Kashmir streets and no occasion is spared to belittle India.
This has happened when terrorists sneaked into Kashmir valley and surprised the Indian leadership about the Jihad that had set in. This happened when Atal Behari Vajpayee took a bus to Lahore and the nation got a shock of backstab in Kargil. This has been happening and India has been tolerating in true spirit of Ahimsa Parmodharma. Has ever any Indian general confronted the political executives, as Sam Manekshaw did?
The weak and timid Indian response seems to be stemming out of the so-called international pressure. India is obliged to obey and in the process take salvos from a criminal like Hafiz Saeed to its stride. Now Imran Khan too is talking the same language. He has started crusade against Indian army by crying hoarse over human rights violations in the Valley.
Indian leaders better have some introspection. They must not behave like ostrich. They should come out of cocoon shells and show guts. They must emulate Israel so that puppets like Imran Khan think twice before hurting India and Indian psyche. Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel”.
Imran Khan has started moving around with a ringing bell around his neck. Indian leaders, generals and bureaucrats better ponder and then demonstrate some sort of national pride.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper