No war please!
It's better to resume talks with Pakistan over Kashmir, when we know that the only other option would be an all-destructive war,opines the writer Sanjeevani Kusum
At least 12 million people can die if India and Pakistan give in to a nuclear war and at least 13 million people would be at risk in neighbouring countries
If different national channels like CN- BC, NDTV 24/7, ZEE news and many others have to be taken seriously, one might believe that war is unavoidable. The green rooms have already declared wars even before the government has given any hint of it. We can see retired army officers and politicians provoking hawky nationalism in common public with their irresponsible comments and baseless analysis. Few things have to be discussed at this juncture very pragmatically sans jingoism because war is nothing but death and war is nothing glamo- rous as being portrayed by the media.
Post Uri situation in the country:
The situation along LOC got tensed up after 18 soldiers were mercilessly killed in an army camp in Uri by Jihadi militants. At least 29 others were injured. While the government could still contemplate upon the whole situation, there was huge public outrage and impatience mounting up every day with the ceaseless reports of news channels giving live coverages and news analysis. Majority expert opinion also reflected the dominant mood that India respond swiftly and give a fitting reply to Pakistan.
There were few options left to the government after the Uri attack and the best one was to conduct surgical strikes on terror camps in POK. India has always observed strategic restraint towards Pakistan even though Pak has always been engaged in a shadow war with India. After feeling the pulse of mounting restlessness in public, the government meticulously conducted surgical strikes along LOC in Kashmir and destroyed the terror launch pads. Several terrorists were killed.
The two main objectives of the surgical strikes were to assuage the public opinion and to give a clear cut indication to the terrorists that infiltrations won’t be allowed even at the risk of animosity with the neighbouring country. Both the objectives have been met successfully. The public statement by DGMO Lt. General Ranbir Singh conveyed that operation was not framed as a revenge for the Uri attack but as a pre-emptive move to stop terrorists from infiltrating into India.
Situation after surgical strikes
Even though the government has been careful not to portray surgical strikes as some revenge strategy and even though PM himself had strictly instructed every one to stop heart thumping about surgical strikes, the public euphoria in the aftermath of the strikes denies to die and the media is making sure that the fire is kept alive.
A democratic government is supposed to convince the general public through media that it is morally correct in whatever actions it is taking in the national interest, but, the problem arises when the media starts to hype up the already volatile situation by flaring up emotions on either side of the boundary. Media has the power to manipulate people’s emotions. In the wake of Uri attacks, our T V channels left no stone unturned to kindle hawky nationalism throughout the country.
They literally goaded the government to go for war against Pakistan. They also led the opposition parties, former army generals and strategic affairs experts in creating a battle atmosphere in the country. This situation has not died even after the surgical strikes. Now they seem to be hell-bound to make people guess what’s next and if the surgical strikes should give way to conventional war. While it seems very patriotic to sit before T.V screens and thump your heart saying ‘we want war’, neither army nor any sensible government would wish for war unless it is completely unavoidable.
Implications of a possible war between India and Pakistan.
At least 12 million people can die if India and Pakistan give into a nuclear war and at least 13 million people would be at risk in neighbouring countries. Even if one percent of war ready nuclear weapons are detonated, they would devastate the whole environment and mess up with the atmosphere of the whole world. There would be a shortening of seasons by at least thirty days and 10% reduction in global rainfall. The nuclear clouds which would follow the detonation can drift up to 2000 miles on the prevailing winds.
According to M V Raman, an Indian nuclear physicist, a Pak warhead of 15-kilo tonnes dropped on a city like Mumbai would erupt in a furnace of shock waves, fireballs, killing at least 8,60,000 people. The black carbon particles would reduce the rice production by an average of 21 percent in both India and china over next four years. A war with Pakistan would cost 5000 crores a day and even if it lasts for a fortnight, it would cost at least 2, 50,000 crores.
India is still the home to the largest population of poor people in the world with an estimated 363 million people below poverty line. We can imagine how such a massive expenditure can affect a developing nation like India. War would destruct the infrastructure, roads, ports and gas pipelines which took decades of investment to build. India does have a range of military options, but none of them is devoid of collateral damage and cost.
As one of our Rajya Sabha members said, it is true that if 100 million Indians can die in a Pakistani nuclear attack, Indian retaliation can wipe out entire Pakistan. But really are we ready to lose 100 million Indians? What would be a country without its people?
What can be done to prevent war?
The dispute over Kashmir is the greatest stumbling block for the improvement of overall relations between India and Pakistan. The sword of nuclear war would always be dangling upon India and Pakistan unless Kashmir issue is resolved. There must be some solution. It’s better to hold a round table conference which includes India, Pakistan and representatives of Pakistan. It’s better to resume talks when we know that only other option would be an all destructive war.
Most of the nuclear power countries like china, France, Russia, U K and U S have renounced nuclear weapons under nuclear non-proliferation treaty NPT, recognising that possession of nuclear weapons can threaten rather than enhance the national security. India and Pakistan are still out of it. Rather than threatening each other with them, it’s better to get rid of nuclear weapons for once and ever in the greater interest of the people.
The role of mainstream media should be based upon facts, not upon some illusions which can create a mass phobia. They should be well aware that both India and Pakistan are braced with nuclear weapons with powers to destroy each other. They should educate the common public about the destructive effects of a nuclear conflict instead of kindling hawky nationalism.
The threat of nuclear war is undoubtedly the most crucial problem in the world’s history. Except for at the highest level, not much is done to raise the awareness of people about the consequences o a nuclear war. The problem can’t be solved behind the closed doors of annual summits and conferences unless the local citizens demand nuclear weapons abolition. Nuclear war prevention requires a political change, a change in the attitude of people.