Pulwama – A Calm Layperson Look At Our Options

Pulwama – A Calm Layperson Look At Our Options

Yet again, our nation has been shocked by a heinous terrorist attack – at Pulwama, martyring more than 40 of our brave CRPF personnel in the prime of life. My heart – numb with shock, can only pray to the Almighty to give strength to their families in this dark hour. Let us, before we analyse our options, spend a minute to think of what these families have lost; with grief in my heart, to those braves, I can only say : shat shat naman… may you Rest In Peace!

 

 

MOVING AHEAD

In this terrible hour, let us do our best to keep calm. This does not mean I recommend inaction; rather, let us allow our Government-  it is an excellent Government – to do its Job. Give them time and space to deal with the terror on their own terms. I do not advocate we forgive and / or forget; just that we remain calm, and confident that our Government is there to respond and deal with this. Building vocal pressure towards any particular response method – there are plenty of options {look below} – is not the way forward now, not for us Armchair specialists at any rate. We, the public, have neither the experience, not ability, nor the expertise to make an informed choice. Let us keep calm, people.

 

THE OPTIONS

What are the options in front of us? These range from the Kinetic, action oriented ones right to some strong diplomatic moves not tried before; all options are present. They can be listed as :

  • Kinetic – Strike, or Cross-LOC / IB Action
  • Diplomatic :
    • Downgrade or stop Diplomatic Relations
    • Walk out of treaties, like the Indus Water Treaty
    • Build International Diplomatic Pressure
    • Force / Ask our Allies to make things difficult for Pakistan, to choose between us
  • Trade / Economic :
    • Withdraw MFN Status
    • Complete Trade Embrago
    • Ask MNCs to choose between India and Pakistan – you cant be in both
  • Social :
    • Stop all contacts with the people of Pakistan
    • Stop issuing Visas, etc
    • No sporting contacts, any sport. Not even Competition events. Walk out.

 

THE ANALYSIS – BASIC

Well, I am not a domain expert, my objective here is just to do my bit to calm the waters in this hour. That said, there are indeed many options we have not tried in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th arenas. You may ask how will it help? My answer to that is that this is a deep rooted problem emanating from the Pakistani deep state {incl. ISI}; and previous history tells us our response has to be broad-based. Only then will an effective counter-measure be found. And none of the options are easy to implement, having deep ramifications for us as well, in international terms.

 

KINETIC

In fact, a planned multi-frontal diplomatic / non-kinetic attack is the need of the hour, as it would isolate Pakistan completely, once it becomes apparent that India means business, and the pressure is not going to let up at all. On the kinetic option – we civilians just aren’t qualified to make any comment, let me leave it at that. Let us not even contemplate that option in our public or social media discussions – War or strikes is not to be considered by people like us even in our admittedly justified anger, even at this hour. That is a call only the specialists have a right to think on.

 

THE OTHER OPTIONS

But we can hope for, ask for, indicate our willingness towards other hard options – and none of the options listed above is an easy one, not in this connected global world with its myriad treaties and global associations. And giving signals that we are amenable to, as a people. the strongest available diplomatic, economic and social measures is the way you proceed to communicate public opinion in a Democracy. We should unequivocally support the Government and the Forces –there is no stronger confidence booster than to know you have the people solidly behind any decision you make – even if ultimately other harder options – Kinetic variety- become necessary,  

 

The Asian status today is a mixed bag of a variety of hotspots like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan; US vs China to name but a few; any options we consider must factor in these realities as well as the impact on our global treaty commitments and global diplomatic relationships. We do not live in isolation, there needs to be  a proper evaluation of the reperecussions – all possible repercussions – of each decision we make. For example, chucking the Indus Waters Treaty has international ramifications as it is  a World-Bank  sponsored treaty. Similarly, scaling down diplomatic relations, Economic warfare has many repercussions, as there exist bilateral treaties.

 

An affected MNC {if we, for ex,ask MNCs to choose between India & Pakistan} can trigger diplomatic intervention. Thus, there is no easy solution here; Similar is the Kinetic option- not easy, given the US presence in AFPak, and the Nuclear angle meaning the slightest tension causes sleeplessness in  Washington, London etc! That means there remains the risk that we may be facing international approaches if we act without blunting all of these eventualities. These myriad considerations is why we armchair specialists can help the Government best by keeping calm, and allowing them time and space to act. And, the response from our side has been swift, lightening fast – note that 25 nations including P-5 were met diplomatically within 24-36 hours of the attack. So, I have just one request: please maintain trust, and keep calm.
IN  CONCLUSION

I can understand the anger – being a fellow Indian, I feel the same pain that all of us are feeling. I can note the stunned shock that has descended on all of us, it was seen in the subdued, at times vey angry Social Media; it was seen when Whatsapp went totally silent yesterday; it was seen in the market and at work in the somber mood. That said, we need to understand that these matters aren’t simple – involving ramifications in a multitude of areas & requiring thoughtful coordinated planning, and that there are already inidicatoins that the Government is acting, and rapidly at that.  My objective is simply a small effort at showing my anger, while doing my tiny bit to ensure reason & calm prevails in our interactions on social media…

Vishal Kale
Vishal Kale

Vishal Kale is a cross-functional business head leading 9 branches with expertise in setting up new products and processes across geographies. He is a passionate blogger -received the Indian Top Blogger badge for 3 years running now as well as a top-5 nominee in Blogadda Awards Win15. He is also an Associate Columnist with the Indian Economist, an unpaid position of freelance contribution, diversified work experience, combined with Business, Management and Economics. Book Reviewing helped him in Content Creation and enables him to add value in organizations as well as contribute in a variety of situations and challenges, and have an indepth knowledge of at least 3 industries. He writes on Sanaatan Dharm, Life Philosophy. He has a daily reading habit of Scriptures and his own self-introspection. He also reviews very select top Marathi movies.

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