After Uri, Indian politicians must recognise that restraint is not weakness

7 hours ago
Updated 6 hours ago

Ipsita Chakravarty

After Uri
Early on Sunday morning, militants attacked the Indian army camp at
Uri, on the Line of Control, killing 17 soldiers. It is a moment of
grief. It is also a moment for careful recalibration in Indian
security and diplomacy – the army has said that the attackers were
foreign militants belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed, which operates
primarily out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. It is not, however, a
moment for the sabre-rattling favoured by politicians and security
officials who seem to mistake restraint for weakness.

Hours after the attack, Ram Madhav, national general secretary of the
Bharatiya Janata Party, said that "restraint in the face of terror
betrays inefficiency and incompetence". "For one tooth, the whole
jaw," he wrote in an angry Facebook post, while a minister in the
prime minister's office said no response would be "cowardice".
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, chairing a meeting of
army and intelligence officials, is believed to have said that India
would "avenge the death" of its soldiers at a time of its choosing.
Indeed, some observers feel that the recent show of aggression, both
against Pakistan and protesters in Kashmir, flows directly from the
"Doval doctrine", a martial nationalist agenda which sees virtue in
the use of force.

But at this critical juncture, India must resist the temptation of a
knee-jerk military response. Certainly, after the fog of bellicose
jingoism clears, it must ask some tough questions of Pakistan. It must
ask, for instance, why the heads of terror outfits – Lashkar-e-Taiba's
Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed's Masood Azhar – are given free rein
in Pakistan. And why the Lashkar's Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi weaves in and
out of jail, in spite of compelling evidence that he was the chief
architect of the attack on Mumbai in November 2008.

But India must also bear in mind that the Pakistani establishment is
fractured and pulled in different directions by its civilian and
military leaderships. It is the civilian leadership that India must
keep addressing, though Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's
provocative statements on the Kashmir unrest have not been heartening.
The dialogue between the two political leaderships has always seemed
driven by the big photo-op moments and emotional gestures – the
bonhomie at Ufa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday surprise for
Sharif – that are usually followed by violent upsets. India needs to
invest in deeper dialogue, strengthen the currents of engagement that
exist outside the glare of the cameras.

While India secures its borders and barricades itself against
infiltration, it must separate the Kashmir protests from the violence
at the frontier. As thousands of army troops are pumped into South
Kashmir, it would appear that the Centre plans to stick to its policy
of putting down the protests with force. The fear now is that the
brunt of Uri will be borne by unarmed protesters across the Valley.
Yet, if it wants to win back legitimacy in Kashmir, the Centre needs
to listen to the discontent in the heart of the Valley. It needs to
ask why a wide section of the youth felt so cornered that they were
driven to stone-pelting, why taking up arms against the Indian state
seems like an increasingly attractive option. Restraint in Kashmir is
not weakness. It is the sign of a mature democracy, which is willing
to listen to those it calls its own citizens.


If Modi becomes PM, Pak intruders won’t dare to cross border: Amit Shah

Amit Shah said not only the soldiers, but the country's borders are
also not safe under the present regime.

By: Press Trust of India | Mirzapur | Published:April 23, 2014 5:49 pm

The Commission had censured Shah and Khan for making controversial
remarks during the poll campaigning.

Claiming that the country’s borders are not safe under the present
regime, BJP leader Amit Shah on Wednesday said once Narendra Modi
becomes the Prime Minister, Pakistani intruders “will not dare to
enter” into Indian territory.

“Once Modiji becomes PM, leave incidents of beheading of Indian
soldiers, the Pakistani intruders will not even dare to enter into
Indian side,” Shah said at an election rally here in support of Apna
Dal leader and NDA nominee Anupriya Patel.

Attacking the Congress-led UPA government, Shah, a confidant of Modi
and in-charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, said not only the
soldiers, but the country’s borders are also not safe under the
present regime.

“Whenever the Chinese soldiers want, they come and have picnic inside
our territory and our government could do nothing,” Shah said.
Earlier, Shah, replying to a question, said that Modi was contesting
the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi not to win elections but to win
hearts of the people of the state.

“Modiji is contesting polls not for winning at the hustings, but for
winning hearts of the people,” he said. Asked about the economic
policy to be adopted if BJP voted to power, Shah said that the policy
would be formulated keeping in mind the poor people.

Peace Is Doable

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