'De-escalate now': These Indian voices are calling for peace and diplomacy

Despite the tense atmosphere, Indian voices are still calling for peace to prevail.
Published February 28, 2019

Despite the current tense atmosphere between Pakistan and India after Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) jets after they crossed the Line of Control and the capture of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan on Wednesday, many in India have been calling for de-escalating tensions, toning down the war rhetoric and for peace to prevail.

Here are some of their voices.

'The western front is not a TV studio'

Former Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao criticised the calls for war and in the same vein, called out the frenzy in some sections of Indian media.

'De-escalate now'

Columnist and former colonel Ajai Shukla wrote on Twitter, "De-escalate now, while both countries can escape with prestige somewhat intact. Thinking from the standpoint of electoral benefits, rather than from the standpoint of strategic calculation will lead to outcomes that cannot be predicted."

Writing in more detail on his personal blog, he said, "India would do well to wind down tensions. If either side decides it must impose itself further on the other, there is no telling where that leads."

'Make chai, not war'

Journalist Mahtab Alam shared Pakistani artist Marria Khan's illustration riffing off the subcontinent's collective love for chai after a video released by the Inter-Services Public Relations on Wednesday evening showed Wing Commander Abhinandan drinking chai, conversing with military officials and acknowledging that he has been treated well.

'Astounding, dumbfounding and frankly numbing'

Delhi-based editor of Telegraph India Sankarshan Thakur expressed worry about the cavalier and cynical nature of discourse surrounding the threat of nuclear war between the two neighbouring countries — and hoped for "good sense" and peace to prevail.

'Air strikes on Pakistan may not help Narendra Modi win the election'

Shivam Vij, contributing editor at India's ThePrint, presented a case that the Indian election campaign trail is far from over, and contrary to popular belief, stirring up the threat of war may not secure Prime Minister Narendra Modi the upcoming elections.

Perhaps Modi understands that national security can at best be only one of many issues in the general election.

If you look at Modi’s messaging since the 14 February attack on Pulwama, he did not overplay the national security card. He could easily have done that the moment he knew the IAF was going to carry out the strikes. Since 14 February Modi seems to have not altered his itinerary at all.

Read the rest here.

'Escalation ladder'

Professor Srinath Raghavan pointed out that diplomacy and negotiation are not a sign of weakness in international politics, as well as a major flaw in the rhetoric of escalation — on an escalator, you can only get off once you reach the top.

Memeing the war

Author Mahesh Rao expressed his discomfort with taking a humourous view on the serious implications and consequences of war.

'New rule'

Academic Priyamvada Gopal wondered if new rules for engagement can be put in place.