Defence Minister's Stand

There is bound to be tionwide support for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s remarks about tough action against anti-Indian forces that came in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack on the first two days of 2016. Addressing an audience comprising top army brass, including its chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, at a semir organized by the Army in New Delhi, the Defence Minister said that any individual or organization that hurts the country should be given the same pain, but how, when and where should be India’s choice. He said that history tells us that until those will inflict damage on others experience the same pain, they don’t change. “I am of the opinion—it should not be taken as government thinking—I always believe that if anyone harms you, he understands the same language... How, when and the place should be of your choice, but if someone is harming the country, then that particular individual or organization (I purposely used the words individual and organization) should also receive the pain of such activities. When asked to elaborate, Parrikar said, “The basic principle is that until we give them pain, whoever they may be, until then, such incidents will not reduce.”

Considering the audience, there was possibly little need for elaborating what the Defence Minister wished to convey. In simple language, it was an appeal to the tion (especially to the chiefs of the armed forces) that any country, organization or individual that attempted to harm our country in any way ought to be paid back in the same coin. The need for such action has become imperative in the case of Pakistan considering that blowing hot and cold by turns in its dealings with India has become a sinister habit bordering on the ludicrous. Despite all the high-level bilateral talks and protestations of peace, Pakistan has consistently sought every possible opportunity of attacking the country either through a long proxy war in Jammu & Kashmir or through terrorist activities in several urban areas of India. There have been several serial blasts as well as unprovoked attacks on Indian security forces across the border. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that most Indians are beginning to see the total futility bilateral talks between the two countries. Pakistan’s unstated objective of not wanting peace with India has been clearly put across through its numerous cross-border attacks and the frequent export of terrorism to India. Having failed to achieve very much by way of development in nearly seven decades of its existence, Pakistan has decided to make enmity with India a major political issue for its people. Pakistan also making the most of its conviction that India will refrain from embarking on a nuclear war with that country because of the destructive consequences for both countries. Perhaps India, having invested much more on real development, understands much better that there are really no winners in wars. Even so, it has now become imperative to call a halt to the meaningless rituals of bilateral talks that lead nowhere and also to find ways of paying back Pakistan in its own coin without actually waging a war against that country. One of the ways in which this can be done is to undertake an operation that tells Pakistan in no uncertain terms that India can invade that country whenever it chooses but has refrained from doing so. Instead of indulging in the kind of sabre-rattling that Pakistan is accustomed to doing, India should find more subtle ways of demonstrating its power. One of them could be to mount an attack by a small group of commandos on Dawood Ibrahim wherever he is, capture him and bring him to India for trial. A military operation of this kind, backed by the Air Force if necessary, would be a far more to telling way of conveying to Pakistan India’s might without having to do any shouting about it. Most people are of the view that if India succeeds in such an operation, Pakistan would very likely give up any further misadventures of exporting terrorism to India.

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