Procrastination : A Remedy For All Problems

The ruckus over Tharoor’s “Interlocutor” remark has hit headlines again. The minister has irked and embarrassed his party with such relentless regularity that expecting him to remain politically correct is a fallacy. But interestingly all the controversy his statements have raked up is centered around usage of dialect and it has now reached a crescendo when he sought to point out the difference between “Mediator” and “Interlocutor” in his defense. Interpreting his sound bytes and twitter messages has gotten critics to dig deep into intricacies of English language and the media is feeling insulted at the hint that his language is not being understood. So, here’s a minister who seemingly reminds us of his sound literary grounding time and again, having authored several books. This is a contrast of sorts, since majority of Indian politicians are incoherent while articulating their views.

In all fairness, overturning the foreign policy decision, of having no third party intervention in addressing issues concerning Pakistan and dealing with them only in the bilateral realm, is a gross violation. India asking Saudi Arabia to exert their influence on Pakistan to stop cross border terrorism could be termed as going an extra mile in ironing out problems with its neighbour. On the other hand, the slightest overture of involving a third country to intervene and mediate even through inappropriate usage of spoken word can spell trouble. Ironically, foreign policy issues are being deciphered on the basis of semantics. Despite several slip ups and receiving flak from opposition for his comments, congress just decides to bury the hatchet by expressing displeasure over the matter. Isn’t it time to clip the wings of partymen who rake up a controversy at the drop of a hat and show them the door?

The party’s attitude of dragging its feet is just not restricted to Tharoor’s conduct but applies to matters as grave as terrorism emanating from across the border. A case in point would be the wavering stance adopted over JUD’s war cry against India. They decided to go ahead with foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan on the premise that some progress on terror has taken place and no engagement whatsoever would further hinder the peace agenda. When the bugle of jihad blew over the streets of Lahore in the form of a huge rally, the external affairs ministry chose to give it a deaf ear stating that rhetoric by likes of Hafiz Saeed should not be given much importance. But, why is India then insisting on his captivity and holds him as prime conspirator of 26/11 when his speeches are to be brushed aside. Then, leading up to the talks, Pune witnessed a terror strike which was being seen as preceded by specific warning by JUD’s top brass. Subsequent to the German bakery attack, there was again an echo that India should not fall prey to attempts by vested interests aimed at derailing the ensuing dialogue.

As expected, the talks were reduced to mere farce with Pakistani delegation making strong statements and referring to Indian dossiers as piece of literature rather than treating those as proof of their complicity. Both countries addressing press conferences separately resulted in contradictory details emerging with respect to primary focus of discussion. The neighbour claiming Kashmir was touched upon in great detail while the Indian contingent downplayed the same and stressed on having made demands for dismantling terror infrastructure and clamping down on overt acts of perpetrating violence. In the backdrop of events that played out in last year and a half, Congress must have realized the fact that dialogue and diplomacy with Pakistan would not budge them an inch. Yet, congress seems content in pursuing the same approach.

Will the menace of terrorism and troubled ties with Pakistan, ever be handled by congress regime in a manner that befits the neighbour’s shirking and obstinate ways. Perhaps, procrastination has become congress’ forte and recourse to tackling problems instead of being resolute in its stand.

India : Murky time ahead

The gruesome 26/11 attack on India has left it grappling with reinforcing internal security apparatus, expediting the trial of lone surviving terrorist, attempts to bring to justice the masterminds of this conspiracy and more importantly convince Pakistan to accept proof of its complicity in cross-border terrorism through a series of dossiers. In the wake of a year gone by, there is some semblance of progress made in maritime security by inking contracts for procurement of surface vessels, Dornier aircraft and interceptor boats. Establishment of a radar chain, NSG hubs, construction of coastal police stations, check posts and barracks are still in the offing. For those who think all this should have been accomplished by now are being overzealous considering India’s 7,515-km long coastline.

Aftermath of terror atleast triggered the thought of plugging porous coastal borders to make them watertight. Though, there shall always be a lurking fear till these measures see the light of day as envisaged. Mere installation of technology too is futile unless trained personnel monitor the enemy movements and thwart their evil designs. Many crowded markets that were targeted earlier, now have unmanned metal detectors and CCTV’s strewn all over the place with nobody to monitor footage. Indians get jolted often but complacency and lack of resolve to even comply with systems in place are our hallmark., In all fairness, there is a long stretch to traverse before Indians feel protected.

On a macro level, web of contentious issues have compounded further. As if dealing with Pakistan wasn’t enough, China has been audaciously tugging at India’s territory and marking “China” on boulders with red paint. Incursions, violation of air space, threatening of shepherds perhaps could be played down as minor irritants since such incidents have been a feature for long. But China wanting more on their plate by staking a claim on Arunachal Pradesh is a bit too audacious. India did respond with a strong build up of troops only to be warned by China if it can afford a confrontation.

India’s recourse of bringing about pressure on Pakistan through diplomatic channels has already proved to be damp squib. Despite being blacklisted by International community, terror outfits still operate under disguise, charge sheeted 26/11 conspirator secures easy passage for lack of nailing evidence and US aid to fight terror continues to be misused. Pakistan seems to revel in obstinacy at the expense of its own peril.

The anguish of constant rebuttals from every quarter is strengthening the perception that India is getting marginalized in the corridors of power in South Asian block. This was exemplified by US president Obama’s statement asking China to monitor the India-Pakistan stability in the region, during his recent visit.

Boosting defense capability is vital for India but the modernization plans are often stuck under red-tape and inordinate delays. Catching up with China’s military might is a tall ask and though India is touted as an emerging economic power, it still is few notches behind China. Though the scale is tipped in China’s favour, bullying by no means should be tolerated. The least India could do is shun silence and be a little terse in response when confronted with territorial encroachment.

Handling Pakistan is an arduous task. Knee jerk reactions like bombarding terror training camps which is easier said than done or engaging in full-fledged war is no solution. Instead, imposing economic sanctions or abrogation of Indus water treaty could be considered as an instrument of diplomacy against Pakistan so that they feel the squeeze. Else, the only plausible option is to make our territory an impregnable fortress so that it deters terror groups from making Indians an easy target and sense of calm could prevail.

If India were to make any headway in dealing with conflicting bilateral issues, it should exert itself as a formidable power and speak from a position of strength rather than adopting a soft approach.