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Friday, December 26, 2008

Will India Step Up Please?

Opportunity knocks, but once. Opportunities are not lost, but are taken away by others. These are some phrases we grew up with. I remember them, so do many others, then why have the Indian politicians forgotten them.

After having faced the brutal terror attack on Mumbai and with the irrefutable proof that Pakistan was behind the attacks, the Indian governing class and the bureaucracy have taken actions straight out of a rule book or maybe a "How to handle the aftermath of a terror attack" article. Or, maybe the Britishers left some guide book with the Indian leaders when they left the country. Someone needs to tell these politicians that all their books are dated and they need to get some innovation and fresh ideas to handle the issue.

They have made the right noises to get the world opinion to side with the country, they have also got some of the world leaders to render advice to Pakistan, one which Pak does not care two hoots about and there has been some rhetoric on the Indian side as well. Ultimately the fact is that one month after the attacks the Indian leadership is hopelessly and utterly lost about what to do next.

Pakistan on the other hand, after some initial tottering, has taken an offensive stance and is challenging everything India says. There has been enough war rhetoric on their side and they could not care less about the world opinion. Sad as I am to say this, I must say it nonetheless, Pakistan may be taking a lead over India on this issue and the only thing which makes that country achieve this is their single minded focus on their primary concerns; the first being having to kill their own people on the western borders as well as to get the western forces out of their country. The only way they can achieve this is something like a war with their arch enemy India.

India, as usual has been too soft this time as well. For the last 60 years we have been facing the problem of the low intensity conflict waged by our neighbors and do nothing about it. We are ready to lose our men, civilian as well as uniformed, slowly over a number of years but are afraid to have them killed in action. We are always showing our maturity to the world and losing in the process. Few years back we released Masood Azhar during the IC814 Kandhar hijacking to save a a couple of hundred people, last month the same Masood Azhar may have ended up killing a similar number of people. We are still a mature nation and will do nothing other than make meek noises to Pakistan to hand over Masood.

The low intensity conflict and terrorism is not Pakistan specific. A similar situation exist in our eastern borders with Bangladesh and in the south with Sri Lanka. The whole region has become a cesspit of violence. What does India do? We are a mature nation and will stay so. Seriously after seeing the stance of the Indian Politicians, I have started wondering if even now they are taking decisions on all matters with the elections in mind. God, please, will someone tell them that this is a golden opportunity for India to stake and establish its role as a leader in the region and the world? Will someone tell them that America's terror war is for America as ours should be for us? We should not bother if America does not get Osama, we should instead make sure that we get Masood, Dawood and many others who are spreading terror not only in India but in the entire region.

Right now the entire region is looking for a leader, a country which will take charge of the countries in the region and guide them towards stability and progress. Some country will have to take the lead and show the others their authority in the region. Some country will have to tell the others that they should not be played around with. India is the largest in the region and the most powerful also. It is high time we shed our maturity and resilience and tell, if not the world, at least the sub-continent that we are a power to reckon with and the others can not fool around with us.

Pakistan is breaking down from within, so is Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The whole region is suffering from strife. There is only one country which is stable and can show the others the way. That country needs to take charge. Will India Step Up Please?

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