Pakistan and India

  • What now?

Clearly any hopes that Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandhan’s quick and decent repatriation would trigger a thaw were misplaced. The other side, especially its media, has become even more belligerent. And if you consider the lives of people near the Line of Control (LoC), it’s as real war like as it can get. Also, there’s only so long the Indian government could stay mum about their so called surgical strike and claims about downing a Pakistani F16, especially since the opposition and increasing sections of the media asked for proof.

But their finance minister, Arun Jaitley, hardly came up with a credible defence of the government’s policy of not making any evidence public about their alleged strike that killed hundreds of so called JeM workers. “…if anybody wants operational details to be made public… he certainly does not understand the system,” he said. Yet no operational details were compromised when the Pakistani military showed videos of the trees that their strikes had burnt, or presented the wreckage of the Indian aircraft as proof that it had been brought down, not to mention the captured pilot. It is clear that, after being stunned into silence for a good couple of days, the Indian government is just beating about the bush.

That, of course, brings us back to the same pressing question. What now? We offered to talk, even action if they presented evidence. They responded with an air strike. We retaliated, as promised by the prime minister, inflicted damage and presented proof, yet released their pilot and offered talks again. Unfortunately, it seems that the Indians are still gearing for a fight. It is not too difficult to understand if you look at it from their point of view. Any time in the future if they beat their chests or threaten action, they will be reminded of this episode. Plus there’s the low morale in their forces. No doubt they feel the need to prove a point. But the sooner they realise that eventually, no matter for far this goes, talks will be the end result, the better for the common folk in both countries.