THE strongly-worded condemnation of Pakistan’s indulgence in cross-border terrorism by India and United States and their appeal to Islamabad not to allow the Pakistani soil for terror activities, is nothing but a customary formality that has not served any purpose so far. Likewise, the expression of the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks, also serves as a mere formality that is not likely to serve any purpose other than offering them a sense of satisfaction that they have at least lodged their protest. When the country involved in sponsorship of terrorism is Pakistan, no appeal to good sense is going to help. It is not without reason that Pakistan has refused to see sense in the past four decades-plus, and its main reason is that the Pakistani rulers have included terrorism in the country’s State Policy. Needling India every now and then and also sponsor terrorist activity in other countries, thus, is part of Pakistan’s official game which it uses with a mad vehemence.
In such a case, following a mere formality of appealing to Pakistan’s good sense is quite less likely to be listened to. In fact, the Indo-US expression of need for a “concerted action” against Pakistani terror machine has its own value. Actually, time came a long time ago needing a concerted action to put out the fire of terrorism in Pakistan. It is not fathomable how the United States would conduct itself if a plan is made to crush terror modules sponsored by Pakistan. It will certainly lend whatever help possible, but the actual onus of action rests on India’s shoulders. It is perfectly all right to follow the path of formality of appeal to Islamabad’s good sense. But once that is done, the next step has to be an open and direct attack on terror outfits and their bases in Pakistan or Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir PoK) with surgical precision. In fact, such surgical strikes should have been conducted long years ago.
In fact, India should have acted tough when the world realised that Pakistan was using terror as a tool of State Policy. It had every political, moral and security justification had it gone ahead with such a strong and concerted action. Unfortunately, India shied away from such a bold step at a time when it would have been most appropriate. Now also, the situation calls for such an action -- concerted and strong. True, in the current condition when China has positioned its Army in big numbers on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), it may not be fully advisable to go in for surgical strikes against terror modules in Pakistan and escalate area of conflict on two different fronts.
Despite this reality, it must be said again and again that Pakistan has become so brazen over the years that it listens to no word of wisdom since it goes against its policy. Diplomacy does involve a patient approach that involves repeated effort that involves finding newer ways to do the same thing in the hope that at some point in time, the effort will achieve its desired outcome. The appeal that emerged from the 2+2 India-United States Dialogue should, therefore, be considered as part of the extended effort by both the countries to make Pakistan see sense. Yet, it must be admitted that Pakistan has gone beyond any sensible thinking. It acts in its own way no matter what the world thinks.
Despite this, India must not forget the importance of short and tight raps on Pakistan’s knuckles at an appropriate times. If there is any overture by Pakistan, India must act in real time and hit back the hardest to teach Islamabad one more lesson. If this is done with consistency, then the long-term effect will be favourable to India. It will also keep proving that the Indian security machinery is good enough with sharp reflexes and ever-ready to pick up the gauntlet when the need arises. This is what the common people of the country desire -- an assertion of national will and resolve to teach Pakistan a lesson at every possible chance. All they want is to make Pakistan bite the dust if it indulges in misadventure.