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Only way to win respect is to earn it

E R Ramachandran

Updated: January 6, 2016, 3:35 PM IST
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Ever since Mohammed Ali Jinnah insisted there must be another country which he named it Pakistan after partition, we are unable to fathom that country no matter whatever we do or have done last 60 and odd years.

It is not because it is a Muslim country; we have more Muslims than any other country who live peacefully with all other religions including the Hindus. It is just that they do not want friendly relations with India or solve pending problems peacefully.
Despite wars followed by talks followed by wars the position has remained static and things are pretty much the same as it existed in 1947, if not worse.

The only difference is full-scale wars have been shortened to smaller wars as in Kargil conflict further reduced to deadly terror attacks that are abbreviated to month and year such as 26/11 that happened in Mumbai for a week or so, and now Pathankot 2/16 and many more in between.

These happen more frequently now and are more deadly killing innocent citizens as they wait for trains, as they shop for Diwali etc.
To be fair, all our Prime Ministers have tried hard for peaceful settlement with Pakistan irrespective of the parties they belonged to. Atal Behari Vajpayee went by bus to Lahore to shake hands with Nawaz Sharif. Even before the warmth of handshake cooled off, his scheming Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf took us for Kargil conflict which we won eventually after suffering heavy casualties. We threw the intruders who had sneaked in prior to onset of winter.

Manmohan Singh also tried for talks with Pakistan but they suddenly hit us in Mumbai in one of the deadliest attacks in history killing hundreds. They would shake your hands warmly, quote Mirza Ghalib or some other poet and then hit you hard when you least expect. Friendly neighbors do not act this way. That’s how 26/11 happened. Luckily Tukaram Ombale caught one of the terrorists even as he was dying, but they disowned one of their own, Ajmal Kasab calling him stateless.

Now after Modi’s birthday stopover to wish Miya Nawaz Sharif II, not a replica but the same with a different avatar now, barely a week after handshake and less than 4 days after wearing Modi’s gift of pink Rajasthani Pagree, there is Pathankot attack at India’s airbase for over 4 days. 7 of our top defence men are dead when we were thinking all is hunky dory with Pakistan.

Whether some stateless actors did this or not, whether separatists did this or not, there is covert directions and assistance from Pakistan even as the attack was happening. Let’s not get fooled again.

Did any Prime Minister of India read Pakistan alright?

Yes. In the winter of 1971, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger laughed and taunted her when she went to US and complained about refugees pouring into India. Then even before she landed on her way home our Air Force was pounding Pakistan army in Dacca and India started the job of creating Bangladesh.

Only Indira Gandhi understood Pakistan very well and cut them to size! And they feared her and fear turned into respect.
Have talks with them by all means at all levels, play all games including cricket too, but hit them hard where it hurts most if they do mischief. We have endured for long and it is time to correct our silence wrongly mistaken for weakness. Retaliate hard and make them bleed even while holding peaceful negotiations, at whatever level. They understand that very well. They will respect you for that.

Do not waste time giving dossier after dossier again like what Chidambaram did; they may be laughing and throwing straight into WPB. Only civilian ruled countries understand such niceties.

Modi should show he has a tougher side now and earn some respect from them and our countrymen as well.

John Kennedy put it very simply and aptly. ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate’.
Prime Minister showed his softer side by presenting a pink Pagree for a family marriage as a sign of good will and friendship. If it is mistaken for weakness, it’s time to show his harder side now even as negotiations continue.
First Published: January 6, 2016, 3:35 PM IST

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