Escalatory Rhetoric

Escalatory Rhetoric
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A tit for tat escalation of rhetoric between arch foes and antagonists, India and Pakistan has ensued after India called off the offer of talks by Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan. On the face of it, it would appear that domestic political consideration might have been the real reasons for the refusal. But, whatever the reason, the prosaic fact is that India and Pakistan are in the midst of a rhetorical escalation. This is bad politics, pure and simple. The reason is that if taken too far, rhetoric can become reality. That is, if both India and Pakistan get trapped in a rhetorical spiral, then they get trapped in it and find it difficult to extricate themselves from the dynamic in contention. One major reason for this is that rhetoric can create public opinion to which masses across the Indo Pak divide come to believe and raise expectations of a militarized nature. When and if this happens, the political elite in both countries will , for domestic political reasons, need to pander to the “manufactured instinct’ of the masses. This, in turn, will deepen the hostility between the two and in the process, rhetoric can become reality. It then becomes incumbent upon the political elites of India and Pakistan to dissociate themselves from the rhetorical traps that have created and laid for themselves. In the final analysis, both India and Pakistan, need to and must , in the least, find a Modus Vivendi, to live peacefully with each other. Both are creations of a certain history and geography and cannot actually change either. But, the violently estranged states of South Asia , can live , if not as good friends, but must aspire to have peaceful and peacable relations with each other. To delineate a somewhat hackneyed theme, good relations between India and Pakistan will redound positively to the South Asian region as a whole, which is in dire need of it, and the peoples constituting the firmament of the region. For this to happen, relations between the core states of South Asia must be reasonably prudent ( perhaps the least that can be aspired to). All this calls for a dialogue between India and Pakistan whose nature must be open ended and where all outstanding issues must be on the table, so to speak. In the mean time, it would be prudent for the political classes and elite of both countries to deescalate their rhetoric and climb down from the perches of rhetorical animus.