Kashmir: War is not an option

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Views from Srinagar

Sheikh Shabir

AFTER the killing of eight Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men at Pampore, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) alliance partner, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded that India should attack Pakistan Administered Kashmir. Though Jammu Kashmir assembly has no role in going for or stopping the war, BJP did call for war obviously to please its electorate.
Truth is that war is not a solution to any bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Kashmir issue is central in the relation of India and Pakistan. Its solution is a key for peace for both the two neighboring countries and for the entire south Asian region.
There is no denying to the fact that both the neighbors have tried several formulae to settle the issue. But no formula has clenched the issue. Even dialogue has failed to do so.
However, dialogue still remains the best option to settle the long pending issues between the two countries. Though India and Pakistan have many a time created conducive climate for talks between themselves, something or the other upset their applecart and strained the relation between them.
The incidents like the Parliament attack (in India), the Mumbai attack and the tension on the LoC always give a severe beating to the dialogue option between the two neighbors.
With the election of Nawaz Sharif in 2013, expectations raised that the dialogue between the two would be prioritized to build trust and resolve the thorny issues with India. And when Narendra Modi invited him to India for the swearing in ceremony in May 2014, Sharif took a realistic path by participating in the ceremony.
This step by the two premiers was touted as a confidence building measure. But then things worsened. And distances increased between the two countries.
Some people opine that India should use military might to teach Islamabad a lesson. But a question rises can India afford to use military might against Pakistan?
The answer is simple no. India cannot go for war given its limited options. In this respect, a major part of the government’s policy towards Pakistan is above correction. To be on the safe side, India can well exercise the options of diplomatic pressures, watchfulness, militarily and counterinsurgency tactics.
Meanwhile, India needs to press for talks with Pakistan. The global community can play a useful hand by offering its good offices to help the two neighbors resolve the festering Kashmir issue.
The offer of good offices from UN general secretary Ban Ki Moon should be taken advantage of. If India chooses the option of using its military might to teach Pakistan a lesson, a full-scale war between the two countries, cannot be ruled out. Both the neighbors could end up in displaying their nuclear power.
Its immediate casualties will be the poor masses on both sides. The respective economies will become bankrupt. Foreign debt will swell and the prices of basic essentials will mount.
Pakistan has about five lakh troops armed, a strong air force, powerful missiles and possibly more nuclear warheads. Hence, India cannot have a cake walk exercise to force submission on the part of Pakistan.
On the contrary, Pakistan can muster courage from its capacity of retaliation in view of its past behavior. That will lead New Delhi into a tight corner and it could find itself left with no other option but to step up the conflict.
Therefore, India should not go for the war. It has plenty of other options to use and get rich dividends. No rash step can be taken to fan the flames.
The chorus for no talks with Pakistan should be steered clearly of. To have talks is the best option to manage the crisis and solve all bilateral issues.
Swaraj has rightly said that ‘war is not an option with Pak’. “No dialogue option” may not live up to the expectations. Then it is only the military action which will have to be used only to witness widespread destruction on both sides.

—Courtesy: RK
[Author can be mailed at sheikhshabir518@gmail.com]

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