TO CHOOSE WAR OR TERRORISM
| Mallika Chugh - 10 Mar 2019

TO CHOOSE WAR OR TERRORISM

BY MALLIKA CHUGH

New Delhi, March 10, 2019:  As Pakistan makes its first move against terrorism and India takes a hiatus from any further military action as of now, the subcontinent heaves a sigh of relief to have escaped the scourge of war, for the time being. Although the recent confrontation, the latest in addition to the number of wars, conflicts and military stand offs the country has witnessed since the creation of Pakistan, was a response to the years of proxy war Pakistan has been waging against India.

Has this confrontation, as of now settled something like peace or we just tend to believe so? Right now both the countries are busy patting their own backs at the turn of events, but is it actually a win - win situation for both of them? Or are we still at the same crossroads from where we started?

Pakistan is too poor to plunge into a war right now. The dying Pakistani economy, which is gasping for breath is already on a life support system. The country is on the verge of a thirteenth bailout in last forty years. Its central bank is only left with seven billion dollars in the name of foreign reserves. The GDP growth is spiralling down to four per cent.

The bailout from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China has just ensured to keep the country floating for life. The despairing Prime minister,Imran Khan had to appeal for donations from its residents living abroad.Economically, Pakistan cannot afford war.

However, on the other hand as per Economic Times, Moody Says “Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent in the calendar year 2019 and 2020, and the government spending announced ahead of elections this year which will support near-term growth”, but the question is can India risk its economic growth and take a downward plunge by going on an all-out war? The answer is a simple “No”.

With nothing much to back upon Pakistan always resorts to nuclear threats whenever India takes some action. Once again as India decided to avenge the terror strike at Pulwama, Pakistani rail Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad repeated the old threat and said: "neither the birds would chirp nor the bells would ring in temples”.

India is already prepared to counter the nuclear threat with its strategy of “Cold start”. In the year 2009,the then Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor had said that "a major leap in our approach to conduct of operations has been the successful firming-in of the 'Cold Start' strategy. A couple of years ago on taking his charge, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had publicly accepted the existence of this doctrine.

'Cold Start' as the name suggests, is to steer clear of a full scale war. It aims at surprise strikes which make swift and quick inroads into the enemy territory. These strikes would be limited to fighting terrorism so that Pakistan has no reason to retaliate with a full scale counter attack.

Pakistan has responded to this doctrine by developing short range nuclear weapons. Last year, the then Pakistan Prime Minister ShahidKhaqanAbbasi had confirmed the development of short-range nuclear weapons as a counter measure to Indian strategy of 'Cold Start'. However, Pakistan knows it well that use of nuclear weapons would be the most nonsensical option.

Mounting international pressure to stop state sponsored terrorism coupled with Indian offensive to counter terrorism aided with its doctrine Of “Cold start”, is straining Pakistan under great pressure to show case some action against terrorism.

Therefore, as of now buckled under such grave pressure from all around, Pakistan is trying to conduct some sham counter terrorism actions, but going by its long history of harbouring terrorism, it cannot be trusted with much substantive actions.

Things will once again be back to square one. We will be back to the same place from where we had started. No one would emerge a winner and of course at losing end as always will be the innocents whose life is always at stake be it an outcome of war or terrorism.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Indian Observer Post and Indian Observer Post does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Photo Courtesy – Gulf News


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