Tit for Tat Rhetoric

Tit for Tat Rhetoric
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“All war is bad politics”, is a truism that is perhaps applicable across space and time. But, arch antagonists, India and Pakistan appear to be doing their best to escalate tensions beyond a point, if the rhetoric emanating from each side is any indication. While India assertively claims that “it has the capability to cross the border”, Pakistan retorts by stating that “it can defend both its borders, territory and sovereignty”. The backdrop to this escalating, aggressive rhetorical grandstanding are the repeated and fatal skirmishes along and on the Line of Control (LoC) and the overall bleak tone and tenor of relations between both countries. In the final analysis, it might neither be mobilization of men, materiel and weaponry nor even the security dilemmas (that “naturally” arise from the nature of the state and interstate relations and dynamics) that actually account for and lead to war but discourse or the nature of the discourse that creates conditions for war. To employ a quote from the great Chinese philosopher of war and statecraft who famously stated that” wars and found and lost in the minds of men (generals), and twist it, it may be stated that, “wars are conceived in the minds of men”. This morphed aphorism or quote is applicable to India and Pakistan. Yes, there is a deterrence, both conventional and nuclear, paradigm that obtains and holds, till now and there are other reasons and factors that militate against war, but both India and Pakistan, might get so trapped in their own rhetoric that war becomes probable between the two. The catalyst for a broader and wider conflagration might be some fatal skirmish on the LoC or it might be in the nature of a political issue like Kashmir. All this, of course, is in the realm of possibility or probability but cannot be ruled out. War in the subcontinent will be disastrous not only for the constituents of the region but also will have negative consequences of import for the entire world. Prudence and sagacity demand that this scenario be pre- empted. The first step towards this end would be to de-escalate the rhetorical grandstanding that appears to have become a reflex for the powers that be across the divide. The next would be to institute a new paradigm of diplomacy and conflict resolution paradigms to resolve all outstanding issues between the two. A good starting point here would be Kashmir.

One Response to "Tit for Tat Rhetoric"

  1. SKChadha   March 27, 2018 at 8:39 am

    “Simla Agreement” in tatter as Pakistan fails to abide by its conditions of not interference on this side of LOC, so why India should abide by it? Kargil, 26/11, Pathankot, Uri etc. are examples of it. There is no denying that PHK & GB are part of J&K and India has right to reclaim it from illegal occupation of Pakistan per force, in the absence of “Simla Agreement. 😛

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