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And The Other Guy Blinked

Author: Mayuresh Didolkar
Publication: Swarajyamag.com
Date: February 28, 2019
URL:      https://swarajyamag.com/world/and-the-other-guy-blinked


- Pakistan has not changed. What has changed is the Indian doctrine which no longer rules out a disproportionate punitive action to its neighbour’s infractions.

During the height of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, America and Soviet Union brought the world closer to the nuclear war than perhaps any other time in the modern history. At one point of time, USA had effectively given an ultimatum to Soviet ships not to come within 500 miles of American ships blockading Cuban waters. On 24 October, President Kennedy and his circle of advisors expected the Soviet ships to cross the line, which in turn would have forced America to engage with them. But as the President was receiving his morning briefing, the then CIA director John McCone received a note with a message that the Soviet ships had stopped their advance. Unbeknownst to them, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had ordered the ships outside the quarantine line to turn around. Upon hearing this news, the American Secretary of State Dean Rusk whispered to NSA McGeorge Bundy “We were eyeball to eyeball and I think the other guy just blinked”.

The phrase went on to become synonymous with President Kennedy making an entire nation hold its collective nerve, forcing the other nation to de-escalate.

I was reminded of this when I saw the news about Pakistani PM Imran Khan announcing that the captured Indian pilot will be released. The bully nation, run by its mercenary army, is infamous for brazenly flaunting the Geneva Conventions and torturing and murdering prisoners of war like true barbarians. But Uri and Balakot has changed that, perhaps forever.

Pakistan has not changed, if anything, it is only more radicalised than before. What has changed is the Indian doctrine which no longer rules out a disproportionate punitive action to its rogue neighbour’s infractions. For all their outward bravado, Imran Khan and his army masters know that for this Indian government ‘taking out a jaw for losing an eye’ isn’t empty sloganeering. On the plus side, they are also aware that a large section of India’s left and ruling elites will not think twice before aligning shamelessly with a foreign power to settle an internal political agenda.

And therein lies the difference between USA in 1962 and India in 2019. American media of that time hailed President Kennedy for his exemplary handling of the situation, and so far as I know, none of them either called him and his followers war-mongers, or hailed Khrushchev as a peace-making statesman. Imran is truly fortunate that the nation that made him and his army masters de-escalate, also has mainstream media journalists who will spin his climb-down as magnanimity and mark it as his win in the perception column.

It requires strength of character and show of enormous political resolve to make a barbarian nation to follow international protocols, and that is why we, the ordinary Indians, must ignore the noise made by the mainstream media, and applaud an Indian government that made the Pakistan army and its puppet Prime Minister blink.

Jai Hind!

- The writer is a investment services professional and novelist. His latest novel The Dark Road was published by Juggernaut Publications.
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