Although situation seems to be bettering now as contacts and desires for peace have begun to be visible, the fact remains that Indians had to eat a humble pie. To say that they ate back their words, tall claims and boasting, would be unwise and discourteous at this time, but Narender Modi and company are now the target of their follies within India.
That is a bitter fact. Starting from a surprise announcement of “surgical strikes” against Pakistani side of the ceasefire or line of control, and even the working boundary, from the Indian side to Pakistani areas, all have backfired.
Whether that should put the Indian leadership of Bharatiya Janata Party to shame, is left for the time to decide, but reports from across the border, are getting from bad to worse for the Modi government. The Indian media, used to building hype even on flimsy matters against all cannons of journalistic ethics, is now trying to retrace its steps, and also rehabilitate its credibility, which has been badly tarnished before the bar of the world opinion.
Pakistan army from the word go, demonstrated restraint and responsibility, which was in sharp contrast to the drum-beating style of Indian politicians and media houses. They jump to conclusions so soon, which is a fundamental mistake. Journalism demands very high quality of professionalism, where every single fact, big or small is checked and doubly verified, before being put into print or put on air. That unfortunately is not the case with the media across the border. They begin to whip up hysteria, forgetting that they may have to retreat and when that happens, their credibility naturally gets seriously damaged. That golden principle has continued to be sadly and conveniently ignored till date. No lessons learnt from their past mistakes.
Coming back to the Indian army’s announcement about surgical strikes against Pakistan in the wee hours of Friday morning of September 30. The DG Inter-services public relations, the publicity wing of the armed forces, being an experienced man, waited for the proof, consulted his chief, and other senior officers, and also those on the spot of facing the bullets. After being confident, he came out strongly in his denial of the Indian claim for “surgical strikes” into the Pakistani side. There was none, he kept insisting for two days.
Essential ingredients like the use of airpower, helicopters particularly, landing of para troopers behind enemy lines, and returning back under a well calculated strategy with minimum of collateral damage, all were missing. How could a simple violation of ceasefire line be called a “surgical strike? Then, off course it becomes a blatant lie which got exposed sooner than anticipate.
The same Indian General which boasted about surgical strikes, admitted that no airpower, helicopter etc were used. He even went to admit that it was cease fire violation. What else does the world want?
Not only that. Realising his mistake, the same Indian commander tweeted within two days that against “surgical strike” the word pre-emptive strike must be read. Yet another proof of Indian lie was available when when Brigadier Suma, commanding the Indian side on the Indian occupies Kashmir territory, was removed from the post. An enquiry was ordered against him. Obviously it was a massive embarrassment for Indian premier Modi, whose defence minister and security advisers, to satisfy their ego, has misguided him on a highly sensitive matter. That he was furious as the Indian media reports suggested later, would merely be stressing the obvious.
In his anger, Modi launched himself on a hunt-Pakistan spree, setting aside in a series of measures, all that he had done from his swearing in to private visit to Lahore’s Raiwind residence of Pakistani counterpart. He was almost berserk, threatening to do away with the56-year old Indus Basin Treaty, and withdrawing the most favoured nations treatment to Pakistan.
Scrutinised dispassionately, MFN status for bilateral trade with Pakistan was in any way not working—barely 2.5 billion US dollars in regular trade, and double that amount of 5 billion US dollars through third country illegal trade via Dubai. MFN status had remained elusive from the start. Withdrawing it would mean nothing therefore.
As for Indus Basin Treaty, signed by late Ayub Khan and Jawahar Lal Nehru in September 1960 under which Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs and power houses were built in the hope that it would help maintain permanent peace between the two countries over water managemenet. But Indian government forgot that it is under moral and legal commitment to abide by international laws. World Bank, surely is not the guardian or custodian or the treaty, but it has onerous responsibility as world organization of tremendous repute to ensure that the agreement, signed under its aegis, remains unhurt.
The Pakistan attorney general Ashtar Ausaf led a delegation to World Bank in Washington to put them in picture, and the latter’s response was very positive. The World Bank which supervised this Treaty owes tremendous responsibility to guard against violation of international commitment.
But more than barely two days after adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz announced in parliament, that if India stops our water, China, which controls the river from mountains, can do the same to India. Very soon there was announcement from Beijing that China wanted to build Dam on Yarlung Zanago river which will affect water supply of the river to India. The latter’s chivalry to coerce Pakistan into submission, was shattered before it could even be visualized. India naturally must have been rocked and shocked. It does not know where to look to now.
Within India, New Delhi chief minister Kajeerwal, Bollywood actor Om Puri picked up cudgels with Modi and against extremists trying to hound out Pakistan actors, musicians and artistes out of India, to remind them India was home to 220 million Muslims. Would the BJP and its fanatic allies arouse a rebellion from Muslims of India. Are they in their senses? They wanted to know. Kajeerwal has asked Modi to prove that there had been a surgical strike against Pakistan.
Pakistan army chief, and DG ISPR kept saying that nothing of the sort has happened. A media team taken to the spot, negated the Indian version. In fact CNN reporter Soofia said from there that there was no sign of surgical strike. Trees and plants wore no mark of military attack, schools were open and life went on normally. She showed documentaries in support of her argument. BBC said same thing, and Indian media has now woken up to demand the truth from their government.
The entire propaganda has backfired. India and its government has fallen flat on the face. Pakistan has won accolades from the world for being on the right side and speaking just the truth. The United Nations secretary genera, NATO, Americ, Britain, and even UN observers on the ceasefireline have denied any surgical strike. What face would the Indians show to the world now. World’s largest democracy stands disgraced.