BETTER SENSE MUST PREVAIL

kamal-morarkaTwo armies are positioned face to face over a long period. Spontaneous incidents of firing take place, and either side can be held guilty of ceasefire violations. However, such matters are resolved in the field through the military commanders of both sides and they have set a procedure in place and the issues are resolved satisfactorily. However, what is happening now is not in the same category. A few months ago, there might have been spontaneous incidents but what is happening over the last few weeks is deliberate, is meant to provoke and is meant to score points to offset whatever losses the other side is feeling in the UN or in the negotiations with the US or various other reasons. The Government cannot take this lightly. Apart from putting pressure at the diplomatic level, the Government must take the whole matter to a higher level. And at the field level, even at the risk of escalation of hostilities, the Government has to give a fitting answer. The impression cannot go around that in the garb of routine ceasefire violations, they can go on doing what they want and we will not respond. Recently, they used the heavier mortar which usually the Army face to face at the border does not have, namely 120 mm mortar, and they attacked a civilian village five km away from the border. Now this cannot happen, this cannot be routine, this cannot be accidental, this is not excusable. This is a preliminary warning that hostilities can begin. It is not possible for the Army to get hold of this stronger weapon — normally they use 80-85 mm mortar – this is 120 mm mortar. This matter should be taken up through their High Commissioner or through our High Commissioner in Islamabad and as I have said, our Army and the security forces must also get equipped to reply. Of course, the Prime Minister has said that he has taken note of the matter and it will be solved. I am sure he is not disclosing whatever action he has taken, and I hope that better sense prevails on the other side and we don’t spend unnecessary money on both sides for no purpose at all.
Haryana and Maharashtra went to elections recently. The Prime Minister himself campaigned everyday in Haryana and Maharashtra, but that’s understandable because the BJP doesn’t have any other face which can really sway the masses. The good point is that the Prime Minister did not attack the icons by name, in fact he invoked Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi in Haryana, which I think is a very good sign. In the Red Fort address, if he had referred to the first Prime Minister, it would have been appropriate. He referred to Mahatma Gandhi but refrained from mentioning the name of Jawaharlal Nehru. One must understand, howsoever he may disagree with the policies of Jawaharlal Nehru, today India would not have been a functioning democracy but for Jawaharlal Nehru. After all, India and Pakistan became independent on the same day and in the first eleven years Pakistan had seven Prime Ministers, after which the Army took over. In 1958, Ayub Khan took over and ever since then there has been a very, very shaky democracy, if at all, in Pakistan. If we have been saved from all the ignominy it is largely because of one person called Jawaharlal Nehru. He must get his credit for that. Of course he was not infallible, he made his mistakes, maybe he went wrong with China, maybe he went wrong in Kashmir but that does not take away the credit from his achievements and from his contributions of laying not only firm foundations of democracy but also firm foundations in the scientific field, with respect to atomic energy and other modern ideas. The Prime Minister is trying to get out of the mindset of the Sangh Parivar, which is to be only abusing the Nehru family, which has limited electoral gains, but from the Prime Ministerial chair it will do no credit, either to the country or to himself. Whether it is Haryana or Maharashtra or elsewhere, it will be a happy thing always that democracy is firmly established and continues to remain so whichever party or combinations of parties come to power.

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