The Pulwama attack has evoked worldwide condemnation. We cannot afford to lower our guard.

 

Some years ago, a Pakistani friend in England said to me, “Pakistan is neither a country nor a nation. It is a geographical phenomenon. It is the only ‘democracy’ where democracy is missing. You created Pakistan by underestimating Jinnah. We got Pakistan without any Muslim League leader spending even a day in jail.”

The terrorist attack at Pulwama, killed over 40 CRPF personnel in the latest murderous outrage masterminded by the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Maulana Masood Azhar, who runs an extensive terrorist outfit from Bahawalpur in Pakistan. China vetoed a resolution in the Security Council naming Azhar a global terrorist.

It does not take a genius to prove that Pakistan is the undeclared headquarter of terrorism in this part of the world. Pakistan is an Islamic “country”. It aids and finances terrorists in Kashmir. All Pakistanis are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Afghans and Pakistanis.

The Pulwama attack has evoked worldwide condemnation, except from large parts of the Muslim world so far. Bangladesh has condemned the act, so also the UAE. Others will no doubt follow the lead of the US, UK, France, Russia, Canada and the European Union.

The whole of India has spoken with one voice. The Prime Minister has given Pakistan the sternest warning. Congress president Rahul Gandhi made a praiseworthy statement supporting the Narendra Modi government. He said that the “soul of India had been attacked”.

The Ministry of External Affairs has been working round the clock. So have our missions abroad. Government has withdrawn the MNF (Most Favoured Nation) status given to Pakistan. This, in fact, does not mean much. The volume of trade between the two countries is a mere $2.5 billion. This amounts to 0.4% of India’s overall trade. There is some talk of taking the matter to the UN Security Council. The sooner this is done the better. Every member of the Security Council, except China, will condemn Pakistan for harbouring terrorists and exporting terrorism to India.

Some TV channels have thrown verbal restraint to the winds. One loudmouthed anchor suggested airstrikes. This ignoramus should realise that Pakistan too has an air force and air missiles. More importantly, our violation of the airspace of Pakistan will be an act of war. War is not an option. Both countries are nuclear powers.

Pakistan at the moment does stand isolated. But this isolation will be short-lived. Islamabad has friends in the Muslim world and in the non-Muslim world. The United States of America is not only a partner, it is also a staunch ally and friend. US President Donald Trump needs Pakistan to keep the Taliban in check, now that he is withdrawing US troops from there. It was the skilful diplomacy of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that weaned away China from India in the mid 1960s.

Yes, Prime Minister Modi’s decision to give a fitting answer from Naya India cannot be a permanent policy. Nevertheless, all talk about not forming the next government will how dramatically cease. Pakistan is almost a bankrupt country. The Saudi Crown Prince will be there. It is reported that he will give $11 billion in aid to Pakistan. That will help, but the chronic financial vulnerability of Pakistan will not end. At the same time a lasting cordial friendship with Pakistan is not possible. The Pakistan army will be a formidable and permanent hurdle.

The Indian subcontinent, in consequence of this event, is in turmoil. Tension on the India-Pakistan border is increasing by the day. The world is watching. Our neighbours are deeply worried and concerned. We must make sure that we keep our neighbours fully informed and do so as frequently as possible. We cannot afford to lower our guard.

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