How old do you need to be before you grow up? Someone please ask India.
Ever since the attack on the Indian military base in Occupied Kashmir, India has behaved like a cranky infant on steroids. Indian officials have been spitting unsubstantiated allegations against Pakistan through media leaks and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been trying to project an aggressive image to its own voters and the world at large. The loudmouth Indian channels have been hopping like maniacal telly-bunnies working themselves into an orchestrated — and often hilarious — nationalistic rage. Retired Indian generals and admirals have been herded into studios to add bluster and theatrics to the anti-Pakistan tirade. The discourse has been — to say the least — amusing and often amateurish.
All this would have been great fun had the stakes not been so high.
Is there then a real threat of the Indians doing something foolhardy? Their brinkmanship has upped the ante to a level where fears of a conflict breaking out are circulating everywhere. The situation has been aggravated by reports that India has mobilised troops and heavy artillery near the Line of Control. While officials in New Delhi have told media outlets this troop movement is part of a regular routine, the timing has not gone unnoticed. Pakistan’s visible flexing of its military muscle by landing fighter aircraft on the motorway is also a move seen as a signal to the Indians to beware of any ill-conceived move.
We have been down this lane before. In fact mutual hostility simmering between us and India is accepted normalcy. Sabre-rattling for political convenience is also an art perfected by politicians on both sides. Perhaps that’s why we know when to shrug the bluster away and carry on with our lives.
Modi threatens to ‘isolate’ Pakistan globally
But this time a new element has been injected into the equation. It’s not belligerency — India wears it on its sleeve; it’s not manufactured rage — India froths at the mouth at the drop of a hat; it’s not scaremongering — India uses it as a policy against Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives; it’s not even arrogance — India exudes it as an attitudinal deformity; no what has been exposed this time is something novel, something deep, and something frankly quite alarming.
Here’s why: First, it’s never a good idea to start the blame game without a peg to hang your rage on. Second, it’s even a worse idea to allow your ambition to start outweighing your capability. And third, it’s absolutely the worst idea to climb so high up a moral ladder that climbing down is only possible at the expense of your dignity.
India’s done all three. That’s classic stupidity.
In the immediate aftermath of the Uri attack, the Indian media went into an overdrive. It’s Pakistan who’s done it, amateurish news anchors thundered from their studio bunkers. The intensity of their rage was inversely proportional to the depth of their editorial sense, and as a result of this unfortunate mismatch, journalism was flushed down the toilet. The peg they found (or were fed) was Pakistani markings on the weapons found on the Uri attackers. And so began a comical saga of powdery-faced studio warriors waging a vicious war against Pakistan from their comfort zones. These armchair combatants — many of them armed with a fashion sense as ghastly as their editorial sense — threw caution to the wind and demanded vengeance against Pakistan. In the process of doing so, they apparently also reached a conclusion that facts should not come in the way of a good story — facts like a grudging admission by Indian authorities that the reports about Uri attackers’ weapons having Pakistani markings were in fact quite untrue.
Perhaps the wheels of the fairy tale, greased as they were by loathing and detestation, were moving too fast for any brakes of reason and common sense to be applied. As the circus got bigger and bigger, the clowns got louder and louder. Some talked of surgical strikes into Azad Kashmir while others propagated aerial strikes at Muridke. Reality became an optional mode. No one noticed the wide chasm between what they wished and what they could.
Indian media’s woes
Which is kinda stupid knowing that nuclear deterrence is not really a well-kept secret. Every Napoleon and Clausewitz sitting in New Delhi knows full well that striking Pakistan without fear of a devastating retaliation is a fantasy no one should be harbouring. Every move has been war-gamed by both sides; every doctrine has been counter-doctrined and every possible scenario of an attack has been visualised, exercised and neutralised. There is no way India can cross the Line of Control or the international border without triggering a response that can lead to catastrophe for both countries. All this is known and documented, and yet the Indian experts whipped up a frenzy that raised expectations in India which can never be fulfilled. There’s a word to explain this type of behaviour:
You would be surprised how deep this reservoir of stupidity runs. By indulging in such infantile recklessness, India has successfully chipped away the mantle of maturity it had covered itself with. Proponents of shining India had been beating their chest about how India was finally ready to take its rightful place on the global stage. Well, really? A nation of a billion cry-babies wants to play with the big boys? All the depth of thought, all the vastness of land, all the scale of ambition, all the delusion of grandeur suddenly splintered by the sheer amateurishness of the country’s reaction to an event. Contrary to perception, Pakistan is now behaving like a big brother telling the tantrum-throwing brat to calm down.
There is clearly a deep nexus between the Indian State and the Indian media. Both feed off each other in an attempt to feed on Pakistan. This time, however, they bit off a lot more than they could chew. The result is embarrassing. It’s also amusing. In their desperate attempt to appear hyper-nationalistic and super aggressive, both the Indian State and the Indian media have won well-deserved titles: dumb and dumber-er.
Courtesy : Express Tribune