The Nation already knows

Any resolution for the most crucial India and Pakistan problems

India and Pakistan conflicts
India and Pakistan conflicts

Handling India and Pakistan relationship

One caveat before I commence this article: Obviously, I don’t represent the views of the Government, nor of BJP (-I’m part of neither).

One of the issues on which the Modi Government has been criticized the most since it came to power three years back is its handling of Indo-Pakistan relationship and conflicts in J&K. Not all critics are from the opposition parties; some are honest differences of views.

If an approach with broad consensus can be presented, I’m sure that not only will the Government be willing to adopt it, but also honour the proponent of such an approach with a Bharat Ratna after solving the Pakistan problem.

This article is not about the specific actions/ inactions of the Government in response to Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism in India, especially in J&K and our borders. Pakistan has indirect support from China and indifference from the rest of world powers. These problems and their possible specific solutions (if any) are separate topics in themselves.

This article is only centered around the broad strategy of our Government in dealing with Pakistan and the J&K conflicts.

There are broadly three schools of thought:

First, that India should keep talking with Pakistan, and listen to every shade of opinion in J&K (including the views of the separatists) regardless of what happens along the LOC, or on the streets of Kashmir. This line is supported mostly by ultra-liberals.

The fact of the matter is, at different stages in the 70 years post-Independence, India has tried all the three approaches with Pakistan and none has worked. Nor are any of these likely to work in future.


Second, that India should sever all kinds of relationships with Pakistan and talk to them only after they hand over terrorists likes Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed to India, apart from punishing Pakistan so severely that Pakistan loses much more than India in its every attempt at damaging India, and in the case of J&K, talk only to nationalists. This line is supported mostly by ultra-conservatives.

Third, that India should not take any of these extreme positions, but play it by the ear; be tough with it when it misbehaves, and respond positively when Pakistan behaves itself (also keeping in my mind the fact that whenever there is some movement forward, Pakistani military and ISI would scuttle it with some nasty provocations). For want of a better word, let’s call this the flexible approach. Surely, a million shades of flexibility are possible.

This line (flexible approach) is supported mostly by the general public since the common man is neither a hardliner nor is totally forgiving. In a manner of speaking, even many of the non-hardliners among liberals and conservatives subscribe to this approach, though their tolerance level towards Pakistan may vary.


Yet, opposition politicians in this very category attack their BJP counterparts in the same category for exactly following this broad approach; this is nothing but politics and should be ignored. When UPA was in power, BJP did the same too.

UPA Government was seen by many as liberal and the others as flexible. The NDA is seen by many as flexible, but by ultra-liberals as conservative.

The fact of the matter is, at different stages in the 70 years post-Independence, India has tried all the three approaches with Pakistan and none has worked. Nor are any of these likely to work in future.

If we push liberalism to the extreme, the risks are that Pakistan may take us for granted and keep inflicting 1000s of cuts again and again with impunity.

If we push conservatism to the extreme, we may escalate the Indo-Pak conflicts to a point of no return, and there’s a chance that it could degenerate into a full-blown war or even a nuclear war (however slim the chances may be), with disastrous consequences all around. One can never know how a set of mad ISI and Pak military generals will act, when pushed to a corner, with a weak Pak Government looking on mutely.


If we follow the third (flexible) approach, not only will Pakistan continue with its misadventures, but also the Government will be accused of doing flip-flops, as it is happening now.

So, with Pakistan, no matter what we do, we’re most unlikely to succeed, and we’ll be faulted by at least one vocal section of the intelligentsia. So, we should stop wasting our energies discussing this subject, let the Government handle it, and focus on our other national priorities.

The best way for our Government to handle Pakistan may be to be tough, yet not escalate the situation, and minimize the damages, and wait (eternally, if need be) for the opportune time for a solution. If some olive branches should be offered to Pakistan occasionally to explore possibilities, the Government may do so. The Government may make tactical moves, and we should not question every move of the Government, weakening its position in the eyes of Pakistan and the world. Pakistan doesn’t gain anything by bothering us all the time, anyway; in fact, it’s just wasting its time and energies.

Strategic issues like this with huge ramifications can’t be discussed and solved in TV studios, with many people pulling in different directions; we’re not decision-makers, anyway. It’s not a T-20 match. We can’t try to do backseat driving of the Government. Especially when the public mood is in favour of the Government, the intelligentsia will only lose their credibility if they keep criticizing every move of the Government.


Let those who disagree present a clear and unambiguous road map on how exactly they believe India should deal with Pakistan, and convince most of the rest of us that their approach will solve the Pakistan and J&K problems, answering the counters by the others, not just pick holes here and there. Because others could pick holes in their ideas also.

If an approach with broad consensus can be presented, I’m sure that not only will the Government be willing to adopt it, but also honour the proponent of such an approach with a Bharat Ratna after solving the Pakistan problem. Until then, let’s desist from criticizing the Government because no one really has any meaningful solutions yet.

The nation already knows the situation broadly, even if not the nuances. So, let’s not speak for the nation.


Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Ganesan Subramanian

An Engineer-entrepreneur and Africa Business Consultant, Ganesan has many suggestions for the Government and sees the need for the Govt to tap the ideas of its people to perform to its potential.

Latest posts by Ganesan Subramanian (see all)

16 COMMENTS

  1. This is exactly the view pandit Ji prescribed. Non alignment is the visionary thought of first prime of India. Happy to note that modi is following the same footsteps. This aryovjt is timeless and even after 100 years, it will still be hold good.

  2. While civility is a matter of personal choice ,I shall leave it at that .
    But for some of the commentators on this post who are seething in anger , I suggest that they read an article on this subject at rightlog.in dated 6.5.17 by one Mr.Animesh Pandey .
    It may be added that in Mr.Modi , our PM and in Mr.Doval our NSA ,we have a lethal combination ,who are highly motivated , competent and risk takers .
    And please remember , failure is not an option with them.
    We should also realize that Pakistan is a failed state and already on a self-destructive coarse.They have no plans / goals for the future of their masses .There motto has become ,hum tau doobeynge sanam ,tumko bhi le doobeynge. ( We will sink, but shall take you( India ) along with us, too ! )
    On the other hand Mr.Modi , being a shrewd Gujarati mind , will prefer India to grow economically and become prosperous without compromising on national security of course .
    A war can derail our country’s economy and set us back by years.
    This is exactly what Pakistan wants .We simply can not play into the hands of Pakistan.
    So brothers , no need to get too excited or despondent.
    Every thing necessary in the interest of our country is already being done , a free hand has already been given to our Armed Forces. They will strike at the time and place of their choosing.
    Let us trust them !
    God bless India .

  3. Mr.Ganesan’s this article is a correct analysis of intractable Kashmir situation.However I hold the view that removal of article 370 which is long overdue can be part of the solution.Then helping break Pakistan into parts will settle the issue for good . This is not hypothetical .Circumstances will so conspire that this will happen sooner or later. Pakistan will invite its own nemesis through the law of karma.
    Lastly ,whoever this gentleman Shiv is , he should learn to respect our Prime Minister.Calling him
    56″ every time , ridiculing him and Mr.Jatley is uncivilized and in poor taste .

    • They are public figures who asked to be there. They ridicule others too all the time. 56″ is what Modi himself spoke about while referring to himslef- example 1 URL- http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/who-can-boast-about-a-56-inch-chest-114013101063_1.html
      Respect is earned ; not taken for granted. And blind respect is a sure recipe for disaster.
      Shiv in my opinion is entitled to what he says, so long as profanity is not used. Which all parties including the BJP adopt in Parliament unfortunately.

    • Well,Indrajeet,, we are living in different worlds,,giving too much respect out of servitude is not my style ..I didn’t coin 56″..it was selectively leaked to” Build Up ” image.One lives by the image one creates , don’t blame me for it.Plenty of people have mocked him for this.Do a google search.As for K issue, our current approach 56″ or not is exactly what ganesan described in this article.If status quo is what you want, accept the deaths and the stone throwing.Nothing much will change apart from you sniggering at my posts.

      • All of us have presented our viewpoints and emphasised them. We’ve all agreed to disagree. We can leave it at that.

  4. Don’t we have our former RAW spy of Pakistan fame and present NSA Ajit Doval !!!!! .
    The man who has ( or should have ) answers to all your Pakistan questions.
    Perhaps he will be Modi’s saviour or his doom.

  5. Honest admission of what is going on in kashmir issue ..In other words, there is a farce and the writer thinks not only 56″, the people also are merrily going along because the alternate is a costly bloody war with our neighbor.A bully knows cowards avoid sight of blood,so bully keeps taunting raising the game turn by turn.Cowards keep backing off till their backs hit the wall.Then they will have no more space to back off.We are heading in this direction of back peddling.Writer Ganesan thinks we can ward off this nuisance taking small causalities from time to time.But the world is not a static place.It is also good that Ganesan admitted that he has no solutions to offer.It is time he shuts off writing about it and start listening to those who think they have a solution.pGurus must start focusing on people who think they have a solution to kashmir imbroglio.No more space for ganesan in this matter as he has given up.

    • Shiv,

      I didn’t say this Government will do nothing; it was this Government that did the surgical strike. I only said this Government is adopting neither a meek nor a foolhardy approach. It moderates between the two.

      By the way, you haven’t offered any road map either, answering possible reasonable criticisms. Can you please spelll out clearly?

      If you say “To hell with criticisms, go ahead and hit them hard”, then this Govt will also be justified in ignoring criticisms like yours, because foolhardiness sometimes comes cloaked as bravery. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

      • Ganesan,
        One gets a wrong idea about your knowledge as you mention Africa Business consultant in your resume. Suggest you remove the Africa part of it to gain more acceptance for your articles and views

      • Ganesan,,don’t take criticisms personally.I don’t need to say this but this is in the nature of the job you are doing.You come out with opinions and that gets commented.In this issue of K,I have been saying that our govts. have messed up time and again and there is now no easy solution.I don’t have a solution but then according you, I should desist from commenting on govt. line.This line of argument is pure idiocy.Govt. has resources in people,in materials, in access,in knowledge.People like me know that they are just bungling along.India is a nation where we cannot build decent roads,we cannot provide low cost housing, we cannot provide water to all.We are a nation of bunglers not because we are not -knowledgeable or capable but because we are highly crooked and skilled in short cuts.Narasimha Rao as PM showed what logical composed and smart thinking can do .He sorted out for us the mess the crooked congis gandu clan created in Punjab.I went in 1994 to Punjab when the state was “cleaned” out by our forces and heard even “supposedly” first hand accounts of “how the clean up” was done.I saw frightening levels of security forces running around but then the state was peaceful.My friends were surprised I made the trip at all.Till this date,there is not a murmur from our political parties or even the courts.All the human rights idiots were silenced.That is statesmanship.PVN is a genuine 100% Bharath Rathna.K needs statesmanship ,needs brains of higher order not idiots and wheeler dealer lutyen lawyer advicing 56″.I have ideas but then I have no knowledge of the people or the state,so I am least qualified to let it out.But then we are a nation of >1 billion.Do you seriously think that we do not have people to find a solution to this issue?We are one of the brainiest knowledgeable people in the world but our governance and the people manning our administration are in the hands of the most cunning and crooked.Once this equation changes, many positive changes will happen.I strongly subscribe to DrSwamy’s line that corrupt/corruption needs to be taken head on without which we cannot make any meaning full progress in any issue.All this 56″ headlines are just fakes, will make no lasting changes in this country.

        • Shiv,

          I have not taken anything personally, despite personal attacks which were unwarranted. Even when people make provocative comments, if you read my responses, I never pay them back. I only reply on the basis of the comments, not the person commenting.

          Since no concrete suggestion was made in the responses, I had to point it out. And I had to say that if moderate response can be called ‘cowardice’, then bravado can be called be faulted similarly as well. We need to understand that running a Govt is not like playing a T-20 match. Every action/ inaction has a consequence. And because of this fear, it’s not as if the Govt is paralysed; just that it is making every move carefully. At a time of its choice.

          I had made it clear in my article that I was not getting into the specifics of issues as this is another subject for another day, but was just discussing the broad strategic options. With a neighbour like Pakistan, the options, if any, are limited. The Government doesn’t lack the will to retort, but it has to weigh the pros and cons before taking precipitate actions.

          It has, for example, given a free hand to the security agencies on the ground, done surgical strike, tried to mobilise world opinion as never before, indirectly threatened about a possible water war, not yielded to separatists’ ploys, not promised SC unilaterally that it won’t ever use pellet guns in Kashmir, not conceded anything demanded by NC and others of their ilk, not agreed for talks on Kashmir, yet moved on development in J&K, and a lot more.

          Ajit Doval, NSA, is not a dove, by any stretch of imagination. When there are no surefire solutions, I’m only trying to say that it serves nobody’s cause to make it appear that the Government is bungling, and try to create panic. Keeping on harping on 56″ is a sure indication of antipathy.

          When a problem is complex, the solution won’t be straightforward like a mathematical equation. It has to be played with Pakistan like poker, because the Govt may not want the opponents to know its cards and plans. The opponents don’t show their cards and plans till they execute their plans, anyway. But we all want the Govt to reveal openly its cards and plans, which is not wise.

          We elect a Govt so that the best of well-intentioned brains act on all emerging situations. But all of us talking as if we are better experts than the best of brains in the Govt, and commenting on every single micro-event is a result of electronic & social media, and our impatience. This is like backseat driving. When we have a driver who we have faith in, we should let him/her drive. If and when we’re not happy with the driver, we should replace him/ her,… not keep micro-managing at every twist and turn; it won’t help the driver, and surely not us anyway.

          • Shiv, Kishore, Nathan –

            Please keep the criticism to the facts presented in the posts. IMHO Ganesan has been writing excellent posts, presenting the facts and letting people make their own decisions. You three are frequent commenters and pl. continue doing so. We love to hear from you.

  6. Apart from this all, If kashmir is securedly dealt with there is nothing that we need to do. That sure can be dealt easily by our security forces who has handled many riots.

    As such keeping situation unattended is hurting India economical, politically and so on. Even disturbing harmony of nation.

    Relation with Pakistan will work out as with any other Nation, hardly matter to others like me.

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