WHILE VARIOUS political parties had declared that the Indian Air Force attack on Jaish hideouts, and the subsequent air dual when Pakistani jets entered Indian territory, would not be politicised, it did not take much time for almost all these parties to do exactly the same.
While it is understandable that the general elections are within sight and political parties would be desperate to score brownie points, dragging in the armed forces into a controversy is the worst the political parties could have done. These parties must realise the damage they are doing to the morale of the forces.
Blame must be shared by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party as well as the opposition Congress together with their alliance partners. While prime minister has every right to back the strikes inside Pakistan and laud the courage and valour of armed forces personnel, his propensity to bring in politics by saying the Congress governments could not do what his government has achieved, injects politics into the issue.
His boast that it was a ‘new India’ which would get into the enemy’s home (ghar mein ghuskar marenge), and indications that the first air strike was "just a trailer” are not mature comments worthy of a statesman. There is no doubt that it is the first time since 1971 that our fighter jets had entered Pakistan and made a resounding statement that we mean business, what is required is less political posturing.
The continued focus on the issue has unfortunately put the other burning issues on the back burner. Suddenly no one taking about the progress and development during the past five years or the demonetisation or the roll out of GST or even the unemployment issue.
He also appears to have forgotten that it was the Congress Government which had planned and given to ahead division of Pakistan in two parts. If anything, no body can doubt the patriotism of the Congress or its leaders. Yet Modi and his colleagues have launched a campaign claiming that the Congress was "deliberately trying to weaken the security forces” of the country.
Congress also does not come out too clean on the issue. Some of its leaders had been demanding "evidence” of the damage done across the border and questioning the effectiveness of the strike. Their demanding details of the strike was also uncalled for. Our Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa has rightly said that it was not their job to count bodies but to strike the intended targets which they have accomplished.
Since fairly senior leaders of the party had come out with such irresponsible statements, and there was no rebuttal from leadership of the party, it can be presumed that they had got the go-ahead to speak from the top leadership. The Congress must rein in its leaders who have been raising questions on the effectiveness of the strikes inside Pakistan.
Whipping up sentiments and asking for a war to settle the issues once for all is something that all political parties and media must refrain from doing. War is not a solution though reacting to extreme circumstances, like we did in retaliation to Pulwama, is understandable and may be desirable. The enemy must be hit where it is hurts the most. It needs to be paid back in the same coin but certainly a full fledged war is not an option in the given circumstances and our senior political leaders from across party lines must exercise restraint and let the security forces do their job.
The continued focus on the issue has unfortunately put the other burning issues on the back burner. Suddenly no one taking about the progress and development during the past five years or the demonetisation or the roll out of GST or even the unemployment issue. While the conflict with Pakistan is currently dominating the public mind, it is important to talk responsibly and also not to forget the other issues affecting the citizens.
(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)
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