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February - March 2009


Editorial

War may be the only option unless...

by Krishan Ralleigh


British foreign secretary David Miliband’s visit to the sub-continent has exposed his ignorance and inadequacy for the job given to him by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His visit to India has proved a complete disaster for him and for Indo-British relations.

India’s external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and even the mild-mannered Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India were hectored about the causes and consequences of the 26/11 Mumbai massacre as if they were the perpetrators of this heinous international crime and not the victims. Poor Pranab Mukherjee, like any Bengali gentleman (bhadralok) timidly tried to pacify the ‘arrogant’ minister of Her Majesty’s government by citing ‘strings of evidence’ as he had already done umpteen times before the world. It would have been better for India’s prestige if he had taken a leaf from Mr. , the Russian foreign minister, who ‘effed’ (according to Daily Mail of London, twice) the ‘young pretender’ of long-lost British Empire, when he tried to talk arrogantly about the Russian intervention in Georgia.

The Mumbai massacre of 26/11 was an international crime committed by citizens of Pakistan with the active support of Pakistan’s army and its secret agency, ISI. They did that earlier in Kabul, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Mumbai.

The UPA Government of India shouted about these crimes against Indian citizens but did nothing. The timid response of India made the enemy bolder and bolder. Hence, the recent Mumbai massacre. Again the Government of India is confused about the steps it would take or it should have taken in early December. United States and Britain praised India’s patience (I would call cowardice). These very countries could not and did not stop Israel’s surgical onslaught on Hamas in Gaza.

India’s Prime Minister, external Affairs minister and defence minister have all spoken about strict measures; even some time hinting at ‘all options open, including military options’. Even the Army Chief has butt in saying the army is prepared for military action, if needed.

Confusion, contradiction and a sense of helplessness is prominently visible in the Congress Party. A new Home Minister has been trying to stitch a new National Intelligence Agency. A new law against terrorism has been passed by the Indian Parliament. All these measures should have been taken long ago. Even the measures taken by the NDA government need not have been scrapped if national interest was the primary aim of the UPA government.

Unfortunately, the UPA government has miserably failed in upholding National Interest in various areas inluding infrastructure, removal of poverty and defence of its people.

Prestige of the country was the least important consideration when Rahul Gandhi invited British foreign secretary to one of the villages in his constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Villagers of India are simple, hospitable and poor. But they take pride in their simplicity and values. They are not animals in a zoo or museum pieces to be shown to a foreign dignitary. Ignominy to India by this absurd act of Rahul Gandhi is almost indescribable. Some day an innovative Indian journalist may write a collection of “Rahul Gandhi’s Follies”. It will be a best seller; and may even get a Booker Prize.

The visit to the village must have boosted further the arrogance and high voltage ego of David Miliband without giving him any understanding of India and its people.

It is worth considering the new twist given by the Foreign Secretray to the British policy about war on terror, without any discussion with the Cabinet, I am sure. His soft approach to terrorism, he presumes, will win the heart of terrorists.

‘Islamic Jihadi Terrorism’ is the outcome of an ideology, a doctrine as poisonous as communism or fascism if not more. The present day Pakistan (dominated by army) and Saudi Arabia (dominated by a family) are the fertile soil for this ideology. Both owe their existence to this very ideology. Both are supported militarily by USA and Britain.

It is also a fact that Pakistan was created out of India by the British Government in accordance with the Act of British Parliament in Ju1y 1947. The Act also gave power to the erstwhile States of India to join either India or Pakistan. The Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947 in the presence of Lord Mountbatten and Jawahar Lal Nehru.

By this time, the hordes of Pakistani tribals, with the help of Pakistani army, had entered the State of Jammu & Kashmir. This was the first terrorist attack on Kashmir. The Indian Army and Air Force rose to the occasion. The Pakistani tribals in cohort with Pakistani army were defeated; and could have been sent back to the international borders; but for Jawahar Lal Nehru’s appeal to the UN Security Council on Lord Mountbatten’s advice.

This act of Nehru has since made Kashmir an international dispute with consequences both tragic and humiliating for people of India as well as Pakistan.

Two more wars followed in 1965 and 1971. The Pakistani army was defeated in both. The 1971 war brought freedom to Bangladesh; and a democratic government in Pakistan under Zulfikar Bhutto, the father of Benazir Bhutto. However, the Pakistani army, with the help of the United States, again became powerful under military rulers Zi-ul-Haq and Parvez Musharraf. Democratic governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif became their victims.

These historical facts are meant for the present British foreign secretary and the bureaucrats at the foreign office in London who seem to be giving wrong advice about the role of Islamic terrorism on the sub-continent and the world at large.

Pakistan army at this juncture is seeking to achieve political power by military coercion and the support of terrorist organisations. India, on the other hand, desires to live in peace and friendship with the people of Pakistan, especially those who desire a democratic system and the rule of law.

It is in the interest of India that present democratic government in Pakistan is stabilised and strengthened. For that to happen India may have to go to war in order to weaken the hold of terrorist organisations and Pakistani army. India can do this with or without the help of the United States or the UK.

Self-preservaton is the ultimate end of any independent State. India has to prove again and again that it has both the power and the will strong enough to preserve its sovereignty and protect the lives of its people. Any economic growth is a mirage if the security of people is fragile. Indian armed forces have to remain in continuous preparedness for war; and not hesitate to take action because of ill construed advice from Britain and the United States who have their own agenda about their place in the world. If they can strike at will in Falkland, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq for whatever reasons, India has far stronger right to do so under the law of self-preservation and national sovereignty.

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