Wednesday, January 28, 2009

They Shall Live On...

It has been almost a decade since we fought the Kargil war. As is the norm, we have moved on with our lives and forgotten the 600 men who laid down their lives for our country. But I recently came across an article about those men. And every time I read it, I end up with a fair sized lump in my throat. Please take some time off your schedules and spend a few quiet minutes with them. I think every Indian owes them that much.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winds of Change?

Sand sculpture in Puri, India
Photo courtesy: Associated Press

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Why We Cannot...

The recent offensive launched by Israel against Hamas has again started raising questions in people’s minds. The Israelis launched an all out war to retaliate against the rocket attacks that appear to have been more of a nuisance than a serious threat and certainly have caused much less damage and loss of life than the Mumbai attacks in November. Then why haven’t we taken any action so far on the well known and established terrorist camps in POK and Pakistan even after losing so much? I have given it some thought and come up with a few reasons as to why the situation is not exactly the same. This is based purely on my reasoning and conclusions I have drawn.
Israel has the staunch support of the United States, the last and only superpower. The US was quick to side with Israel in blaming Hamas for the recent spate of violence. However, in spite of the current attacks on Mumbai, the US continues to tell India to show restraint. Which is an indication that when it comes to Pakistan, they are not really ready to play ball. And like it or not. We do need their support. Since the world tags along with what the US believes in. The global media reporting of the India attacks v/s the Gaza conflict clearly demonstrates this. Most of the world has just recently woken up to terrorism in India. So they have a very faint idea of how serious this is for us. We need to rally a much bigger global support base before we can think of such operations.
Our politicians need to display collective will in order to go ahead with the option of military action. Israel has been firm in continuing its operation in spite of the growing voices against it. However we have a large number of detractors within our own government who would be the first ones to cry out against us. And then the human rights groups would join in on how the people of POK suffer due to India. And how they should be let into Pakistan, like that’s the best option someone could choose. But to cut a long story short, we need to have the political will to go ahead with something like this, which I seriously doubt we have.
The Gaza strip is the part of Palestine controlled by the Hamas. The Hamas is a powerful group backed by Iran and has been declared as a terrorist group by Israel. However it does not have the infrastructure to wage an all out conventional war against Israel. This scenario is considerably different from the situation faced by India today. Any offensive India launches against Pakistan/POK can easily escalate into an all out war. And that would prove to be expensive for us. While our armed forces are modernising, we are not yet there. We are in the process of changing, upgrading and acquiring a number of weapons and systems which would make us a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. However if we went to war today, we would not be able to inflict disproportionate damage like the Israelis have. (For a loss of less than 20 lives they have inflicted close to 1000 casualties.) Hence, a limited two week conflict will cause us as much damage as it would cause Pakistan, financially as well as in terms of lives lost. In the current economic times nothing could be worse for a growing economy like ours.
Pakistan is a nuclear power. However, whose hands that power is in today is a big uncertainty. And that is the biggest reason to not risk a misadventure. The last time we launched Operation Parakram and mobilised all our troops, they did the same. However it brought them on the verge of bankruptcy. Today their economy is even worse than it was in those days. And hence they have nothing to lose. So far, they have based their existence on the anti-India rhetoric. And even if they lose everything, they will consider it a victory if they can cause us to bleed. And that is precisely what a nuclear strike on an Indian city will do. Ten terrorists brought the country to a standstill. Can you imagine what a nuke on Mumbai would do? There are a lot of people in Pakistan who share the belief that all is lost for Pakistan as far as being a prosperous developing nation goes. They know their country is on the brink of disaster from external as well as internal factors. And if they do go down, they would love to take us down with them.
And if Pakistan dissolves in chaos, their nukes could easily end up in the hands of those who promise Islamic supremacy. The so called ‘Islamic bomb’ in the hands of a few fanatics is not that far away from reality. And if that happens, we are among the top few in the hit-list. And hence we will have to continuously look over our shoulders in case someone slips a ‘dirty bomb, into our metros. With the current security apparatus, that is not a very difficult task to accomplish. So while they have nothing to lose, we have everything to lose unless we tread very carefully.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Be Very Scared...

Long article. But very worrying. It focusses on the US, but the danger to India is apparent.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Misguided Loyalties?

People in New Delhi are out protesting against Israel’s attacks on Palestine. Initially I thought it was just an anti war protest. However on viewing the pictures, I see they are just protesting the attacks on Hamas. What about the attacks by Hamas? Don’t those need to be protested against? And if you have such an anti-war spirit in you, what about protesting against Pakistan for the terrorism in India? The country whose capital city you live in. For that matter, what about doing something so that the Mumbai attacks are not forgotten. Or is fighting for ones own country not in vogue anymore? We are ready to embrace the problems of other people; what about resolving our own first?

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Middle East Again!

Israel’s Gaza incursion continues as the ground offensive intensifies. While I hope for a minimal loss of life in the course of this operation, I do believe that it is necessary at times. Sometimes mere words are not sufficient to thwart the perpetrators of terror. And the Palestinians and the Hamas have amply demonstrated that. While they a quick to condemn the Israeli military action there is never a word spoken about the continuing rocket attacks. Some may feel that a couple of rockets that killed just four Israelis is no reason to start a war. Consider this. You always leave home after checking the weather in case it rains right? What if the rain came in the form of a rocket that would shatter you and your family to bits? How safe would you feel then?
And there are already some discussions comparing this action by Israel to the lack of action on India’s part. However I do not think the situation is exactly similar. I will describe my thoughts on this in a later post.

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