Published On: Fri, Oct 10th, 2014

Border Talks: Time to Act ‘Now’

The border violations not only at the LOC, but also at the IB (International Border), which Pakistan has not apparently fully accepted and prefers to call a “working boundary”,  have started more than a week back from Pakistan, amid denials of the same.  In as much as we can call it a violation of ceasefire agreement, the escalation has been the highest, probably after the days before the truce came into effect in 2003.

International Border Issue

Narendra Modi , in response to a question regarding the situation along the border, has answered “everything will be fine soon”, and ruled out any possibilities of talks. While our PM is busy campaigning for the assembly elections in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana, the part time defence minister Arun Jaitley, is monitoring the situation along the border and held separate meetings with defence secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and three service chiefs to assess the situation. The NSA Ajit Doval, is seeking hourly report from the ground.

MHA has called a fresh meeting to discuss the issue. “It has been conveyed in no uncertain terms to Pakistan that ground realities in India have changed. If the violations continue, the army and every youth of this country are ready to give a befitting reply to Pakistan,” Rajnath Singh said in a TOI report. BSF officers too have said that they would not hold any flag meetings with Pakistan to lower tensions. This is an unusual move because India has held flag meetings with Pakistan every time the ceasefire was violated in the past. Well is this the right approach. Are enough consultations being done when it comes to talks.

Meanwhile Pakistan has registered a protest with the UN monitoring mission, saying that India has been resorting to ‘unprovoked’ attacks. UN had reportedly told Pakistan that the issue needed to be resolved diplomatically. While the senior Indian official at the Indian Mission to the UN, Devesh Uttam said that everyone must be “assured” that India’s armed forces and paramilitary forces are “fully ready and they will respond to provocation”.

The mechanisms to deal with ceasefire violations include provisions for meeting between field commanders and hotline between the two Directors-General of Military Operations. But they seem to have fallen short of easing the tensions. Fresh dialogue needs to be started from both sides. Under the composite dialogue format, the Defence Secretaries met every year. But it has currently been suspended after the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The talks need to be called back as this is the only way to stress on their ‘bilateral’ nature.

India unleashed “massive retaliation” on Tuesday all along the 200-kilometre long International Border. The Indian attack targeted 37 Pakistani border posts, resulting in around 15 deaths, more than 30 injured and serious damage to outposts manned by the Pakistani Rangers, according to intelligence sources.

While this is the need of the hour, more needs to be done in dealing with the problem, through a democratic process. Showing off the nation’s strength at the cost of lives of our troops, as well as innocent civilians, is not the only solution. It is time to act. Now.

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