No time for Politics, Jingoism
Columns, Point of View

No time for Politics, Jingoism

March 5, 2019

By T.J.S. George

It is good that 12 fighter jets bombarded a terrorist camp in Pakistan with the intention of delivering a blow that would be remembered. More significantly, India crossed the Line of Control (LoC) for the first time to hit Balakot, the terrorists’ nerve centre. The message was heard in other countries as well; many of them asked the Pakistan Government to help eliminate terrorism. The pressure exerted by them also persuaded Pakistan to release the IAF hero who had shot down their F-16 before his own jet was shot down and he was captured.

But this is no occasion for jingoism. Carefully calibrated military operations lose their import when cheap celebrations are mounted for populist approval. The damage done in this area by the shouters of our television channels is a disgrace. Citing the over-patriotic declamations of channel monologists, Pakistan was able to argue that India was a trigger-happy hate-monger. It gave them a brownie point or two when Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured, giving Imran Khan an opportunity to say: “Our action was only intended to convey that we have the capability to hit back.”

The outcome of that capability was not known to the Indian public for quite a while. As TV-fed super-patriots enjoyed fire-crackers, Agence France-Presse released a photo showing the wreckage of an IAF jet shot down by Pakistan. The Defence Command of Pakistan released photographs of Wing Commander Abhinandan “arrested alive after successful air combat within Pakistan territory.” It was left to retired Indian Army Colonel-turned-Columnist Ajay Shukla to tweet what happened: “Two MIG-21s were lured by two PAF F-16s into an air def ambush. The F-16s made shallow ingress into Indian air space, dropped bombs and waited for IAF MIGs that scrambled. Then F-16s turned back, MIGs followed, were shot down by air defence guns.” A prestige             win for Pakistan.

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So where do we go from here? The most important thing for any country in a situation like this is to present a united front. The unity has to come from within, clear and unambiguous. This has so far been proving difficult. Twenty-one Opposition parties complaining together about the Government not taking them into confidence was not indicative of unity. The Cabinet’s strong man Arun Jaitley’s attack on the Opposition did not help either. Nor did high-profile government functions like the launching of the Khelo India Mobile App and the dialogue between the Prime Minister and BJP Karyakartas gathered from all over the country. Couldn’t these things wait for a day or two?

If we cannot get over narrow political self-interests, perhaps we do not deserve the honour and respect we demand as a nation. The depths to which politicians can sink even at a time like this were shown when Karnataka’s BJP leader said that the IAF action against terrorists in Pakistan had resulted in a Modi wave that would help his party win 22 out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State. Are our Defence personnel facing the enemy and risking their lives to help BJP go to the Lok Sabha? A man who does not understand that the country is bigger than his party ought to be banished from public life for good. When such petty men flourish in our country, it becomes difficult for us to successfully confront an overrated adversary across the border.

If India is to assert itself as an effective modern State, it will have to first stop politicians who hurt its cause. It then must firm up international links that it can depend on. In the current crisis, Saudi Arabia and even China provided sober advice to Pakistan. But to what extent can India depend on them? Saudi Arabia’s main ambition is to destroy Iran. For that purpose it has even joined forces with its traditional enemy, Israel. Iran on the other hand is having exactly the same problem with Pakistan on the Baluchistan side as India is having with it on the Jammu-Kashmir side. Incensed by Pakistan terror groups attacking Iranian interests, Teheran’s strong man, Gen. Soleimani, warned Pakistan quite bluntly only a couple of weeks ago.

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It is a complex scenario. But the handling of it can be simple if we decide to join forces with those whose interests coincide with ours. They are different from those who want to join hands with us to further their interests. So the challenge is double-headed. Can we distinguish between promoting our interests and helping others promote theirs? More importantly, do we have the guts to do what’s best for us?

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8 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “No time for Politics, Jingoism”

  1. H says:

    Dear Mr George, please ask those 21 opposition parties if they have unity among have cleverly worded your article to show that 21 parties have not been taken into confidence by the BJP. So who is not allowing unity? BJP!! The only common minimum program they have is to defeat BJP no development no other they oppose and criticise everything, and progressive journalists like you twist your words to support them, people also understand Mr George not only you!!

  2. Ironically India is not presenting an united front at this crucial juncture of inflicting a telling response to Pakistan’s proxy war of terror across the border. The plethora of Opposition parties are shamelessly raising a discordant voice prompted by their blind opposition to Modi providing music to the ears of the rogue State Pakistan.On the other hand leaders like Yediyurappa and HD Kumsraswamy are guilty of dreaming about political benefits of the war being waged by our bold armed forces against the Pakistan’s treachery. Hopefully people will punish them during the ensuing Lok Sabha polls for their self centred politicking.

    • Rao says:

      Its dangerous to believe anyone blindly.
      These are signs of dictator.
      On first instance, Modi should have given all details with proof without giving any room for suspicion.
      how do u justify Different agencies/ ministers giving different versions on the events that have taken place?
      Whys shouldn’t we question Government oh why the attack happened? Where was the failure? How did our Pilot got captured.
      Don’t get blinded by your biased prejudiced views.

      • Rao says:

        Government should not be in the business of convincing every Assshole who has decided not to believe that our armed forces say but readily believes the Pakistani version and calling themselves intellictal see how many dossiers and proofs we have to Pakistan after 26=11 yet tgey were not convinced! Even our country has such dumbass idiots! We should keep them where tgey belong! Garbage!

        • Rao says:

          1. You could have used other name than mine
          2. You could have still put ur point across without foul language.

      • Raju says:

        So, you want to know why the attack happened and our pilot was captured! The IAF has given a detailed explanation of what happened! And you are not still convinced? You should call the Air force chief, Modi, the Pilot and your friends who suspect our government for a debate and ask your questions!

        • @Raju you are wasting your time trying to convince @Rao. “ಗೋರ್ಕಲ್ಲಿನ ಮೇಲೆ ಮಳೆ ಸುರದಂತೆ”.

        • Rao says:

          My friend what Air Force Say? Did Air Force say they killed 300 terrorist?
          Is it not a democratic expectation to know what actually happened from official sources on record rather than from all the unverified sources where different theories have been floating about.


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