Indian hyper nationalism on Kashmir
Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
The mystifying and failed Indian policy on Kashmir is held hostage to several emotions, hyper nationalism is one of them. Recently, India staged an incident on the Line of Control whereby it claimed that it had lost two forces personnel who were allegedly beheaded by Pakistan. Local commanders of the Pakistani and Indian armies made hotline contact in the wake of Indian allegations that Pakistani troops had killed and mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers. According to a statement by Pakistan Army’s media affairs wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistani local commander told his Indian counterpart that there had been no ceasefire violation or crossing of the LoC by Pakistani troops from the Pakistan side of the border, so the mutilation of the bodies of Indian soldiers was not possible. “Indian authorities were (also) told that there is unnecessary media hype following the allegations, and that Pakistan remains fully committed to maintain[ing] peace and tranquillity along the LoC and expects the same from the [Indian] side,” the ISPR statement added.
The ISPR said the Pakistani commander also expressed the hope that prudence would be exercised across the divide and no steps would be taken that may affect peace along the LoC and lead to a worsening of the environment.
Why would Pakistan raise the tension and stakes on the Line of Control? A logical question indeed.
Yet the Indian media showed no sign of questioning their official stance. One Indian columnist basking in misplaced patriotism wrote: “We should aim not just at defeating Pakistan’s designs, causing material and economic damage to them, but also overcoming the insurgency winning the estranged Kashmiris over. Maintenance of the aim involves putting everything into the war effort. Taking the fight to the enemy, raising his costs and causing attrition, both in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Pakistani mainland must take precedence over everything else. Nobody ever won a war with a purely defensive strategy. Lastly, once having entered into war with fortitude, we must resolve to win at all costs.” The overexcited writer added: “In the wake of the barbarous mutilation of the bodies of two Indian soldiers, some commentators have asked whether it’s time for surgical strike 2.0? In the context of the civilised struggle we’re engaged in, I’d say we need to carry out surgical strike 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 too and keep striking the enemy till he relents.” Never mind, there was no Surgical Strike One, so what to talk about number 2, 3, 4 or five.
According to another Indian columnist: “A soon-to-be-launched news channel has declared public enemy #1. Not poverty, disease or illiteracy, it’s Pakistan. The channel isn’t on air, but if you watched the news on other channels this past week, you’d imagine that war had been declared as retribution for Pakistan killing and decapitating two of our soldiers – not for the first time. News channels went into overdrive, and a senior officer had to clarify. No, he told Hindustan Times, India had not destroyed Pakistani bunkers and killed several soldiers. ‘They [TV channels] go ballistic without asking us anything,’ said the unnamed officer.”
The erstwhile writer added: “This noisy media-public-politician caucus is placing our army at the edge of dangerous hyper-nationalism. Even otherwise restrained anchors swore not to invite Pakistani enemies on their shows, because, after all, who wants to be seen as anti-national? Never mind that journalism means listening to all sides. Military action cannot be based on populist sentiment; wars are not fought and won in TV studios. A solution, when found, will not happen by placing hot emotion over cool strategy.”
While there was no such incident involving mutilation on the LoC, the Indian media is still having a field day, hyper patriotism having taken over common sense. The architects of stage managed incidents in New Delhi are gloating over super (misplaced) nationalism shown by the Indians. In the background, however, the Valley continues to burn and witness more bloodshed. There are no just and practical solutions for the people of the Valley but for the Indian media and public, the attraction lies in highlighting half truths and make-believe events on the LoC.