Pathankot Terrorist Strike: Should India Stop Peace Process with Pakistan?
The Dec Lahore bonhomie between PMs Modi and Sharif was inimical to the narrow and selfish aims of the Pakistan Army. Expectedly Pakistan Army launched a terrorist strike in Pathankot to derail the peace process. Let us analyse whether India should stop the peace process with Pakistan or continue the same.
What Constitutes Pakistan?
- One face of Pakistan is the democratically elected government represented by Nawaz Sharif.
- Army is the more powerful face of Pakistan. It controls Pakistan’s foreign policy and not the elected PM. Army controls the ISI and through it the terrorist groups operating against India. Let us be very clear that the Pakistan Army controls the terrorists.
Different Aims of Pakistan Power Blocks
- Civilian government of Pakistan wants peace, settlement of existing disputes and improved economic and cultural ties.
- Pakistan Army needs perpetual war with India to justify their preeminent status in the country.
PM Modi’s Peace Efforts
PM Modi’s peace efforts are directed towards the civilian Pakistan government. These efforts work to strengthen it and weaken the status of the Pakistan Army.
What should be India’s Response?
Derailment of the peace process and talks is exactly what the Pakistan Army wants. By stopping the talks and peace process Modi would be playing into the hands of the Pakistan Army. This should not be done. Modi must continue with the peace process.
Why Modi will find it Difficult to Continue Peace Process?
The answer for Modi in the national interest is very simple- “Continue the peace process despite all provocations”. Why this policy is difficult for Modi to follow:
- Modi has to balance political survival with national interests.
- A large section of hardliners in India want revenge from Pakistan. This ‘vote bank’ wants an end to the peace process and wants Pakistan to be ‘given a befitting reply.’ These hardliners voted BJP and Modi to power.
Modi has a hard choice to make:
- Option A. Continue the peace process and work for national interests and risk losing support of the hardliners.
- Option B. Stop the peace process and continue to enjoy the support of the hardliners.
My Advice to PM Modi
I advise PM Modi to choose to continue the peace process and use his tremendous oratory skills to expose the truth about Pakistan Army to Indians and why it is essential to strengthen the civilian government in Pakistan and weaken the Pakistan Army’s standing in Pakistan by the process. This is the only way Indo-Pak relations can be improved and Modi has a chance to be remembered as a distinguished statesman in India’s history.