Sunday, December 07, 2008

Rush to war

The recent terror strike in Mumbai, has quite justifiably raised the spectre of war between the two nuclear power neighbors India and Pakistan.
Very few on the Indian side have actually demanded that India go to war.
But almost as if to pre-empt that stream of thought, the peaceniks are already out in force.
Particularly appalling was an article by Kausar Ahmed a professor in some God forsaken College in Connecticut USA.
He approaches the possibility of war from the point of view of the imminently sensible question , what does India hope to achieve by going to war.
He then stumbles badly when he compares an Indian declaration of war with the American policy of pre-emption which he labels as imperialistic.
There are a couple of things I'd like to point out to Mr Ahmed and those of his ilk.
There is no element of pre-emption involved in action against Pakistan. Any action would have been made necessary by repeated aggression against India from Pakistani soil.
Secondly since when did defending the lives of those who call India home, become imperialistic?
I am neither a hawk nor a dove.
Common sense dictates that an adversary has no reason to change behavior if there are no costs involved. Pakistan and its rulers have operated under the impression that as long as a certain threshold is not crossed, India and its rulers can be relied on to act in a rational manner.
India has a lot more to lose than does Pakistan in case of open war.
So the options for India are limited. If full scale war is ruled out as an option, then India must find other means to impose costs on Pakistan when its territory is used to carry out terrorist violence against India.
To those who believe that India must rally world opinion in its favor, all I can say is wake up and smell the coffee.
World opinion is no match for world interests. By all accounts both America and the rest of the world is aware of the danger a nuclear armed Pakistan on the brink of anarchy poses to the rest of the world.
But you can trust the world will not do anything, as long as the violence originating in Islamabad stays confined to India. To summarize, if India cannot tolerate terror strikes against its citizens, either we find some leverage agaisnt Pakistan fast, or we have to consider the possibility of war and the costs it might impose on us.
I know its easier contemplating war while living in new york (like me) or inaction while living in connecticutt(like kausar ahmed).

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