Ideology and phraseology of appeasement

 Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Against the backdrop of ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts by terrorists from across the border in Jammu & Kashmir, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said, “If [Pakistan] is serious about improving relations, how can the infiltrations and ceasefire violations increase?”

Apparently, senior ministers of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government are convinced that nobody takes their statements seriously. Otherwise, Antony would never have assumed, even for the sake of argument, that Pakistan is serious about improving relations with India, for it is a well-known fact that the ISI-jihadist complex has practically taken over Islamabad. Inspired by the supremacist Wahabi doctrine, financed by Islamists all over the world, and placated by the West, especially the US, Pakistan has emerged as the jihad factory.

The Indian Establishment, however, continues to dupe itself with dangerous pacifism; it still believes that, despite the ascendance of Islamic militancy across the border, relations with Islamabad can be normalized and, therefore, there should be ‘uninterrupted and uninterruptible’ talks. So, our External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid still has faith in Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Great emphasis [to normalize India-Pakistan relations] was given by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. I think we should give him time.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did give his Pakistani counterpart a long rope. Both Prime Ministers met in New York. But Singh was disappointed. For the nth time. Yet, our political masters persist with the Sisyphean endeavor of normalizing ties with Pakistan.

Ajit Kumar Singh, Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management, recently wrote in South Asia Intelligence Review: “New Delhi’s incoherent approach to Pakistani state-backed terrorism has had an adverse impact on the security scenario in J&K, which had witnessed a deepening peace not long ago… The complete absence of any costs—diplomatic, political, economic or military—for its continuing misadventures in India, and, indeed, the diplomatic validation that a dialogue process with this rogue state provides, ensure that Pakistan will continue with its ongoing gambit. Each terrorist ‘success’ will only add to the incentives and determination to continue with this covert war. It is unlikely that the present regime at New Delhi will suddenly acquire a working spine. It is, once again, India’s SFs [security forces] who will have to carry the tragic burdens inflicted by political cowardice, vacillation and failure.”

But the question is that for how long our security forces continue to bear these burdens? As it is, soldiers and paramilitary troopers have suffered a lot of casualties.

What is no less worrying is that a large section of opinion makers also favor infinite appeasement of Pakistan. Worse, they have disfigured many words and terms to suit their purpose. In fact, they have developed a new lexicon of appeasement. Three terms that appear with an excruciating frequency are ‘mature diplomacy,’ ‘nuanced approach,’ and ‘calibrated response.’

Merriam-Webster defines ‘mature’ as ‘having or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult,’ ‘having a fully grown or developed body: grown to full size,’ and ‘having reached a final or desired state.’ By any reckoning, the Indian response—which is just abysmal—to Pakistan’s repeated acts of hostility cannot be called mature. For diplomacy an integral part of statecraft, and the main function of statecraft is protection of citizens’ life and limb.

Similarly, ‘nuanced’ stands for, according to Oxford Dictionaries, as ‘give nuances to,’ while ‘nuance’ stands for ‘a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.’ So, there can be a nuanced change in India’s relations with, say, the US, Sri Lanka, or even China. But vis-à-vis the Pakistanis, for whom the destruction of India is an article of faith, there cannot be any nuanced approach. We just have to resist their evil designs.

Oxford describes ‘calibrate’ as ‘carefully assess, set, or adjust.’ Therefore, a calibrated response to Pakistan has to carefully assess, set, or adjust the actions from across the border. Again, any such assessment would show that Islamabad’s bellicosity is innate rather than accidental.

But UPA bosses and the fellow-traveling intellectuals refuse to assess realistically and respond properly to the vile intentions and actions of Pakistan. In their ivory towers, they continue to revel in the soothing shibboleths of mindless pacifism. Those outside these towers, however, suffer the barbarity of the Pakistanis. And our security forces are the worst sufferers.

Perhaps our Establishment grandees agree with the Bihar minister who believes that security personnel are paid to die.

The author is a freelance journalist and an author of many books

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