Opinion: Can we let the military and diplomats do their jobs instead of warmongering?

Armed forces will protect us and may win us a war but our biggest threat is from the jingoism and hatred being spread on the silver screen by the corrupted media which divides people and is creating war hysteria.

Image Courtesy: AFP
As the reports of Indian Air Force’s pre-emptive strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps inside Pakistan territory came, there was a sense of gratitude among ordinary Indians who felt that the terror camps must be destroyed at all costs. But the media and those who want to use these bombings to take advantage of the political climate are using all their energy in chest thumping as if it was they who did it.
Political reactions were mature and in line with their policies. All complimented our forces for their bravery but the prime minister and BJP leaders claimed it as their victory. It is the same people who, during the Uttarakhand tragedy or attack on Taj, did not give credit to the government but made every effort to suggest that the government was different than the army and forces.
Today, all the political parties across the spectrum have supported the strike which is a good sign and BJP and its leaders must desist from taking credit for these claims. Secondly, these issues are of utmost importance and therefore it is important to leave the army and the Indian diplomacy to deal with the issue and not convert it into another hate propaganda back home. India must face this together and in unison, as many attempts to divide us will be created.
The biggest casualty during the ‘wartime’ is the truth, particularly when media become part of the propaganda machinery of the governing. India and Pakistan media are competing with each other when it comes to who can stoop to the lowest level of ridiculousness. We are not even allowing the army and the requisite Ministry to handle it.
After Pulwama, we felt proud of the way CRPF officers sent their categorical message to the country that their Jawans did not die to create religious polarisation and hatred in the country. I can say that the Ministry of External Affairs Press briefing was also mature and balanced. Of course, the claims and figures mentioned are only as per the ‘information’ received. The best part was when the Foreign Secretary Mr Vijay Gokhale spoke in a fairly measured way about ‘India’s ‘non-military pre-emptive strike’ which clearly mean that for India it was not a war against Pakistan but the specific target of ‘eliminating’ the terrorists’ camps and outfits.
Now, it is another matter whether those camps, terrorists, hatemongers or Jihadis have been killed and whether the threat to common Indians from these terror outfits is now finished. Frankly, it was not a press-conference but a statement of India’s position after crossing the LoC or International Border.
Now the ‘entertainment’ channels are reporting from ‘sources’ that over 300 terrorists were killed including Yousuf Azhar, brother in law of Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad. The point is how do our news reporters come to the conclusion about the deaths and the individual when the entire operation was carried out in the night and just confined to the bombing of a particular target without any ground operations? Why can’t the media keep quiet when the military establishment has not spoken about these things.
The problem is that war or military can be used for short term process to control situations to a certain degree but ultimately, we all have to resort to using the political process. India and Pakistan cannot absolve themselves from the political process as there is no other option. There are however, people on both the sides who think of eliminating or deleting communities and countries from the world map. Added with idiotic fulmination and hateful jingoism being played by the corporate sponsored TV channels who celebrate these stories of war when people want peace.
During a war, the level of rhetoric grows and all this is highly patriarchal, talking of machoism and creating a false narrative of your ‘strength’. An example of this is Pakistan and what it is facing today because of fanatic Islamic groups who are extra-state actors and think they are the law unto themselves, with the army actively backing them. It is these fanatics whose shout is more audible than the common person in the street who wants friendly relations with India.
The danger of extra-state actors destroying democratic and constitutional values in India is equally powerful. We should be more worried because whatever form of democracy was here, it is better than any military or dictatorial regime. We all know who are the forces taking law in their hand and abusing people at their will. Democracy there was always fragile and under control of the military but we can’t have the same in India. Our forces have shown an extremely professional approach on the issue of being non-political but for the last few years, we are witnessing the political leadership trying to reap the political benefit of a military action. The soldiers die for the country and the politicians want to benefit politically.
Geopolitical war games are difficult to understand. It is surprising that India did not speak anything about the suicide attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guards in which 27 of these guards were killed and the Iranian Defence Minister blamed Pakistan based militant groups.
Why was India silent about this and did not attempt to find a common thread of Pakistani support for these extra state actors. It is also strange that we were more than eager to blame the Saudis who did not even bother to condemn the Pulwama killing through an official statement. Was India’s decision of ignoring Iran because of the fear of Americans who want to isolate Iran? Where is the independent foreign policy? Even Afghanistan has blamed Pakistan based Jehadi groups trying to destabilise their government but it is surprising we do not have any common strategy with these countries.
President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un are meeting in Vietnam, which gives a new hope to the world that ultimately the nations will have to speak to each other and take a clear stand against forces that have state patronage to destabilise their neighbours. Each country today has problem points and they need to resolve them by creating better circumstances and building confidence among people.
India has said that it carried out the ‘non-military pre-emptive strike’ on Pakistan because there were specific intelligence inputs that Jaish had planned to carry out more suicide attacks in India. Should we think that now, we will not have any further escalation? Will Pakistan keep quiet or respond? Will they act against the terror groups? Saying that it does not exist, when they raise open threats, is basically a blatant lie and will justify Indian action given the situation world over when nation states have to take care of their people and protect them. The only thing is whether the threat to people at large will be reduced or end.
It is time for all of us to stop with this jingoism and let the forces and the diplomats handle the issue. We are not afraid of the government taking a decision to protect people but our problem is the fanatics back home trying to wage a war against our own people simply because we may not follow their political ideologies. Armed forces will protect us and may win us a war but our biggest threat is from the jingoism and hatred being spread on the silver screen by the corrupted media which divides people and is creating war hysteria.
We have trust in the maturity of our forces but zero trust on these loudspeakers who have no sense of accountability and responsibility towards the people. We hope good sense will prevail and diplomatic efforts will isolate the terror outfits and hatemongers not only nationally, but also internationally, so that we can wage a decisive war against poverty, superstition, discrimination and illiteracy as defeating them will make us a great nation and a big power.

The views expressed here are the author’s personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sabrangindia.



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