THIS is with reference to the recent LoC incidents due to which things keep growing grimmer. In these recent skirmishes on the LoC, three Pakistani soldiers were killed, while India claimed that two of its soldiers had been killed by Pakistani troops and one beheaded.
The news of the beheading, amid much hype by the Indian media has provided an opportunity to the Indian extremist elements to maintain a credible level of abhorrence against Pakistan and use pathetic and clumsy excuses to sever ties with Pakistan.
Such an attitude on the part of the Indian authorities is tantamount to rolling back the significant progress India and Pakistan have made recently in engaging each other on issues like Siachen and Sir Creek, improving economic relations, developing energy sector cooperation, and liberalising visa regimes.
Other than that, the current clashes on the LoC and the conflicting statements emerging from Pakistan and India have also served to again focus attention on the importance of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and the active role it can play in preventing tensions and hostilities in the disputed Kashmir region going out of hand.
Leaders in the two countries, and the Indian media in particular, need to understand that it is a moment for sobriety and statesmanship, not frenzied beating of war drums.
Defusing tensions should not be left to the military, but must be driven by the civilian leadership. Regrettably, India’s civilian leadership has increasingly ceded policy-making ground and allowed military commanders to speak out of turn on contentious issues between Pakistan and India. This trend must be stopped.
M. IBRAHIM Islamabad