See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Opinion

Opinion: War rhetoric & reality

A war between India and Pakistan will have devastating consequences for all In the aftermath of the Pulwama incident, shrill lobbies on both sides of the border have started beating the drums of war.


Written by

Updated: February 27, 2019

A war between India and Pakistan will have devastating consequences for all

In the aftermath of the Pulwama incident, shrill lobbies on both sides of the border have started beating the drums of war. Particularly jarring are the armchair warriors of the media — especially on the Indian side — baying for the blood of the ‘other’.

There has also been a reprehensible effort to exploit the attack and work up anti-Kashmiri and anti-Muslim sentiments in India, predominantly by the storm troopers of Hindutva. But perhaps what is most worrisome is that ministers and members of the establishment on both sides are talking casually about war.

As saner minds in India and Pakistan have pointed out, “war is no picnic”, and a conflict will have devastating consequences for the entire subcontinent. Moreover, the Pulwama incident — gory as it was — was not a Mumbai-like militant attack targeting civilians. It was an indigenous reaction to India’s brutish tactics in held Kashmir, so laying the blame at Pakistan’s door will not make the core issue go away.

However, amidst the din of war, there are some sensible statements coming from the top leadership in Islamabad and Delhi. Over the weekend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned an earlier conversation with Imran Khan in which he had made an offer to his counterpart to fight illiteracy and poverty together. Mr Khan replied favourably on Sunday, once again asking the Indian side to provide “actionable intelligence”, if it had any, of Pakistani involvement in the Pulwama episode.

In such a tense atmosphere, India should take up Pakistan’s offer to “give peace a chance” as the alternatives to constructive dialogue are confrontation and yet more hostility.

While the respective leaders have done the right thing by toning down rhetoric, it is time this had a trickle-down effect on ministers and senior government functionaries indulging in war talk.

As three former foreign secretaries of Pakistan have written in this paper, war in the nuclear age is a catastrophic proposition.

Previous Pakistan-India wars were different affairs; this time both belligerents have powerful nuclear arsenals, which should be enough of a deterrent to convince both security establishments and their political counterparts to prefer negotiations to the battlefield.

The fact is that both states need to introspect and consider what steps can be taken internally to promote peace in the subcontinent.

In India’s case, Hindutva ideologues have infiltrated all levels of the state machinery; this has resulted in an increasingly rigid attitude towards Pakistan. Moreover, the Indian military’s brutal tactics in occupied Kashmir have fired up Kashmiri resistance, with the region’s disillusioned youth convinced that only armed struggle against India will help them secure their rights. But it is also true that Pakistan can take steps to send positive signals across the border. Among these can be speeding up the legal process to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Opinion

Can Pakistan play a role in Iran-US tensions

An editorial in Dawn newspaper looks at the role that Pakistan might play in the ongoing tensions. Tensions between the US and Iran, particularly in the Gulf, are rising and the situation has sent alarm bells ringing throughout the region. It is in this context that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that Pakistan was “closely following the situation” and would take a stand “that best served the national interest”. Pakistan is, of course, in a sensitive position as it has decades-old, deep relations with the US, while it shares a long border with Iran. Moreover, this country’s ties with the Gulf Arabs — particularly the Saudis — who are firmly in the American camp, are also cordial and have a strategic and defence dimension. In case of any hostilities


By Dawn
May 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

China vows action as US moves to blacklist Huawei

Hopes of a trade deal recede as experts fear American companies could face a backlash. China has slammed the United States for putting technology giant Huawei on an export blacklist and said it will take “all necessary measures” to protect the legal rights of Chinese firms. The latest twist in the face-off between the US and China not only suggests that hopes of a trade deal are fast evaporating, but it could also delay the roll-out of 5G networks worldwide. US technology firms could also face a backlash, experts said. China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that it resolutely opposed any coun


By The Straits Times
May 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Beijing stresses equality in trade talks with Washington

World market confidence dampened by escalation, Chinese state media says. Consultations between China and the United States are not a one-way street, and should be conducted amid a spirit of equality, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday in Russia. Wang said that it is pointless for one side to blame the other, or even to absolve themselves from responsibility. Wang stressed if one side is trying to place extreme pressure on the other, it will cause a legitimate counterattack. “The measures from us are not only to safeguard China’s own rights, but to protect the basic rules of the current multilateral trading mechanism,” Wang said. Wang made the remark in a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during his visit to the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi. Experts warned that the rising US tariffs on Ch


By China Daily
May 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Beijing vows retaliation on US trade

Ministry expresses ‘deep regrets’ in wake of added tariffs on Chinese goods. The Ministry of Commerce expressed “deep regrets” on Friday at the United States’ move to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports and vowed to take necessary countermeasures. The comments came shortly after the US increased the rate of additional duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, a move that economists said amounts to “typical trade bullying” that will backfire to hurt its own interests. The commerce ministry said in a statement that the 11th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations are underway, and China hopes the two sides can work together to resolve existing issues cooperatively. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing that a healthy and stable Sino-US relationship serves the


By China Daily
May 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

India’s political parties and their foreign policy platform

Where do India’s major political parties stand on foreign policy issues in Elections 2019. Foreign policy debates have historically been foreign to Indian election campaigns. But photo-ops with international leaders are always welcome because they help burnish the credentials of politicians with the domestic audience. Images of India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru rubbing shoulders with Presidents Sukarno and Nasser of Indonesia and Egypt, respectively, at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference in 1955 certainly did his image as a world statesman no harm. The television broadcast of his daughter, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, being enveloped in a surprise bear hug by ‘elder brother’ Fidel Castro at the 1983 Non-Aligned Movement Conference in New Delhi, was widely thought to have humanised the otherwise aloof Mrs G for millions in India. In more recent times, Rajiv Gandhi’s


By Ishan Joshi
May 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

North Korea launches two projectiles, assumed to be short-range missiles

The tests comes amid increased tensions with the United States. North Korea fired two projectiles that appeared to be short-range missiles on Thursday, less than a week after it conducted what it claimed was a “regular military drill.” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said launches of what appeared to be short-range missiles took place at 4:29 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. in Kusong, North Pyongan Province. It had initially said they were launched at Sino-ri, some 40 kilometers below Kusong in the same province. Both of the projectiles traveled east at the altitude of 50 kilometers and landed in the East Sea. They flew 420 kilometers and 270 kilometers re


By The Korea Herald
May 10, 2019