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Kashmir: beyond ceasefire

India Must Behave Like Indians Do

Author: Wg. Cdr. Sunil Sawant (Retd.)
Publication: News India Times
URL: http://www.newsindia-times.com/guest01.htm

In our private lives, we Indians understand justice, friendship and enmity very well. Our religious texts like Mahabharat tell stories of wars fought within a family to secure justice. The Hindu gods and goddesses carry and use weapons to fight evil.

The Arthashastra, Panchatantra and other parts of our cultural heritage give commonsense advice about how to deal with conflicts and provocateurs. Most of the Bollywood movies show struggle between good and evil, with closure coming from the destruction or repentance of evil. In our daily lives we don't tolerate insults or attacks against our families or ourselves. Many even go to the extreme of continuing feuds for decades. In short, we don't make friends with those who are not friendly towards us. Indians show tremendous self-respect in their personal lives. But how do we behave as a nation?

It is a fact that Pakistan has been killing our soldiers and civilians through its terrorists. It tries to flood India with fake Indian currency. It causes killings and bombings in various parts of India.

Through its continuing acts and pronouncements, Pakistan has declared its intention of literally breaking India apart. Pakistan behaves like, and is, an enemy of India.

The point to note is that India is not doing anything bad to Pakistan. Not even Pakistan claims that India is doing anything to hurt it. But India does - correctly - claim regularly that Pakistan is causing terrorism and destruction in India. Thus Pakistan is the aggressor; we are merely defenders. Truth, justice and righteousness are squarely on our side. Since this enmity is actively perpetuated by Pakistan, logic dictates that it will end when Pakistan stops - or is forced to stop - hurting India. Being on the defensive side, India has no positive incentives to offer Pakistan to change its enmity. All our hopes, pleadings and appeals for peace are not strong enough to stop Pakistan from its terrorism. Yes, peace is a highly desirable outcome. But one side merely hoping for peace while the aggressor continues its terrorism does not result in peace - it results in the demise of the defender.

Yet our leaders display unbelievable naiveté when dealing with Pakistan. They not only let Pakistan attack us again and again, they also hand Pakistan propaganda victories. Why did the government of India accept earthquake aid from Pakistan? Did a few blankets and tents make our leaders forget how many of our people have died because of Pakistan? Did Pakistan repent before the government of India agreed to take its aid?

Even the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba offered to send its "earthquake specialists" to help the victims. This is the same group that is responsible for the deaths of Major P. Purushottam and countless other soldiers. The enemy misses no chance to mock us, knowing that our history of responding weakly ensures his safety. A few blankets and tents - aided by India's welcoming stance - practically exonerate the enemy from the murders he has caused. The world forgets the thousands of dead Indians. All it talks about is the offer of helping hand from Pakistan. The victim himself has helped to raise the status of the mugger to his equal. India's acceptance of the enemy aid converts the killer hand into the helping hand in the eyes of everybody!

Accepting Pakistan's aid brightens its image in the world. Pakistan scores points with the international community that this government so cravenly worships. Just as declaring cease-fire from a defensive position indicates that you are not sure about your moral righteousness and have doubts about your ownership of Kashmir, accepting aid from an unvanquished enemy tells the world that we ourselves may not strongly believe in our claims against Pakistan. And if India itself shows that it has doubts about its claims against Pakistan, why will anybody else believe and support India?

Pakistanis will cleverly make a big deal out of their show of support to earthquake victims. They will fully exploit this to their benefit, and we will pay for our mistake. "Pakistan is helping us and that is a matter of happiness. Today, possibly I will speak to General Musharraf on the phone. Maybe this will open up a way, in pain and sorrow a way. Maybe again some exchanges, something may come out of it," Prime Minister Vajpayee said at a book launch in New Delhi on Feb. 2. How wishful, desperate and impractical can a national leader get?

What makes him think that Pakistan will drop its enmity towards us just because of the earthquake incident? We are ever willing to give the benefit of doubt to our mortal enemy. We repeatedly fail to recognize that the enemy wants our total destruction. The first step in winning is to identify the enemy. Unless we recognize the enemy for what he is, how will we fight and defeat him? India never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Instead of silencing the enemy with words and deeds, our meek acceptance of the situation conveys an image of a decaying nation. We repeatedly help the enemy to weaken our case. We are ever ready to ignore the reality, always blindly optimistic without objectively appraising the situation.

Haven't we learnt anything from the Lahore episode? Is it that we just don't learn from our mistakes, or is it that we don't want to learn from our mistakes? It is high time that we re-learnt our ancient wisdom, and started applying the same practical attitude of our private lives to our national life.

In Kashmir and elsewhere, India simply wants to maintain peace and retain the status quo. Pakistan on the other hand seeks to forcibly change the status quo to its benefit. In general, changing the status quo is much more difficult than retaining it. But through Pakistan's determination and perseverance, and through our impractical and unreal approach, the impossible is happening right in front of our eyes.

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