Public solidarity against terror is unprecedented this time – firm and furious that we have never seen before: people are angry at the leaders for all the wrong policies that they have put in place against Pakistan; they are angry for their VIP security status while innocent people being blown to pieces; and they are angry at them for not doing anything except expressionless condolences for support, fiery speeches to create divide, and political announcements to garner votes.
This is not 1962 when India was busy shaping its destiny. It is 2008 when India is a big global player. And that difference must be viewed globally: in say as well as in act. A befitting response to the 50-plus hours Mumbai mayhem is what India wants. Our prestige, our global image and our economic stride have got a sudden and shocking halt. Who will pay for this and how? Like a mindless bull or a patient warrior? That we have to decide.
Should we bomb Pakistan and turn it back to the Stone Age? Or just follow the old, tried tricks that we have been tasted many a times before with no concrete results? Or go for something new, hard and pragmatic? We have options: change of policy towards Pakistan, including full military war, if diplomatic efforts fail to yield desired results.
But then there is the nuclear fall out. Are we ready for it? Should we care for all eventualities that could befall? Never mind and let it happen, one may say. We need to respond with vengeance come what may. Or well guided strikes at the terror camps? But this will lead to full scale war. Well, time is ripe for aggressive pursuit, if not war. Should we ask the US for a joint Indo-US operation within Pakistan? Let the US too prove its stand? Let the US too feel now what it did feel after 9/11.
This time action against Pakistan is more than urgent. We cannot let it go scot free. Whether Pakistan acts effectively against the LeT and its terrorist infrastructure, whether it fulfills or rejects India’s demand for extradition of 20 wanted men, whether it accepts its involvement or not, India must prepare for a long strategy to deal with Pakistan –strongly and decisively.
Indian people, like those anywhere in the world, love to like quick but just response. Let the Pakistan government know that our patience is running out. Let our leaders not sit in rest over the terror debris and talk politics. Let them not stand to give speeches but act. No sympathy, no condolences, no compensation can match the gigantic loss that India has undergone.
For now, there are two best diplomatic weapons for India: one, create global coalition to isolate Pakistan so that the world calls it ‘terror-breeding country’ that is unsafe for world peace and security; second, get rid of nuclear weapons that Pakistan incidentally possesses, and which makes it bold enough to dictate terror. If the US is hurling missiles into Pak territory, it has evidence. If India calls Pakistan as terror-breeding country, it has evidence. Convince China that this Pakistani LeT can penetrate Xinjiang, which is far more dangerous than India’s approach to solving Sino-India problems. Tell the world, India has never been a threat to its neighbours. Pakistan is, and will remain till terror groups thrive under the watchful eye of ISI.
Severe all relations: no more cricket, no music, no academic exchange, no trade, no civil society engagements, no Samjhauta Express, and no more peace process. Along with Pakistan, the world and the US must understand this: India will not tolerate terror from across the border anymore unless Pakistan acts firmly, and to India’s satisfaction. India’s tough stand will continue till the world put pressure on Pakistan to take meaningful steps.
Like the study in the US, for example, CRS Report for Congress: Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons – Proliferation and Security (14 January 2008) that have voiced concern over Pakistan nukes going into the hands of terrorists, India could go all out with a focused plan to convince the world leaders to press for a UN resolution on it or a joint global operation to get rid of Pakistani nukes. A wide, genuine publicity of A Q Khan nuclear proliferation network can work well at this time. N-hijack would be a point of no return, if Pakistan does not root out terror groups.
South Asian security is at stake. Tell this to every regional grouping – UN, EU, SAARC, ASEAN, etc. Reach out to Saudi Arabia with a different set of diplomatic package. Use human resources – diplomats, experts and organisations – and exploits individual talents, especially Muslims to convince the world how India is bleeding under the curse of terror from Pakistan.
And lastly, set our own system right – intelligence updation, police reform, comprehensive anti-terror plan, disaster management mechanism, suitable laws, political will, and above all, coordination among various agencies and organisations.
Let us vow: we will not lessen our resolve this time.
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