The importance of remaining calm

Published: January 16, 2013
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Both countries need to get rid of the impulse to provoke or paint each other as the enemy. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Both countries need to get rid of the impulse to provoke or paint each other as the enemy. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

That the recent incidents at the Line of Control (LoC) are unfortunate, as is their timing, is undoubted, but we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. What should be done now for the fragile peace process to take hold and be built upon is that both sides deal with the issue in a calm and mature manner, avoid inflammatory behaviour and ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh’s recent comments made ahead of a flag meeting in the Poonch sector may serve a purpose, but they will certainly not help improve relations with Pakistan. His tone is aggressive and belligerent and his references to the “unpardonable” act, accusatory, as Pakistan denies the alleged beheading of an Indian soldier. It may be recalled that it was Pakistan that first lodged a ceasefire violation complaint saying that one of its soldiers had been killed along the LoC on January 6. This was followed by Indian accusations of ceasefire violations and killings by Pakistani soldiers, including the beheading of the Indian soldier. Ahead of the flag meeting, the Indian Army chief ordered his soldiers to give an aggressive response to any firing by the Pakistani side and demanded that Pakistan hand over the head of the beheaded soldier. Pakistan has denied these accusations, reiterating this at the flag meeting.

We cannot know for sure what the facts are but the need of the hour is to reduce tensions and prevent them from erupting again. It may be noted that firing from the Indian side injured a Pakistani citizen in the Battal sector at the LoC on January 14. The Indian Army chief’s comments are hawkish and come at a time when the Pakistan Army is perhaps, most receptive to peace overtures, given the recent change in its doctrine, which no longer considers its biggest threat to be across the eastern border. To help move the process of creating regional harmony forward, both countries need to get rid of the impulse to provoke or paint each other as the enemy.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Indian
    Jan 16, 2013 - 3:05AM

    As an Indian I offer condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers as well. We can at least make sure that the LoC is peaceful. Surely we can have a decent relationship even if we do not agree on ideology or other things. Let’s look to the future and not the past. Pakistan Payendabad.

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  • Aaditya
    Jan 16, 2013 - 3:09AM

    Dear Pakistani friends we offer condolences but we both need to be SOBER AND CALM… A few incidents don’t mean that we should suddenly abandon the peace process… There are some super-aggressive media people in India spreading hate, don’t mind them…

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  • Alex
    Jan 16, 2013 - 3:13AM

    Is this a joke….who should remain calm? India or Pakistan after beheading of soldiers and Pak proxies in 26/11.

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  • gp65 .
    Jan 16, 2013 - 6:32AM

    Here you go: the response from the highest level in India calm and resolute. No one is beating war drums yet, Pakistan has been told in no uncertain terms that the usual denials will not wash and it is no longer BAU

    Khurshid said New Delhi had asked Pakistan’s government to conduct an investigation into the attack and ensure that the grave act by its army was not repeated.

    “It should not be felt that the brazen denial and a lack of proper response from the government of Pakistan to our repeated demarches (official statements) on this incident will be ignored and that bilateral relations could be unaffected or that there will be ‘business as usual’,” he said in a statement.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday there could be no “business as usual” with Pakistan after a clash last week along the line dividing the arch-rivals in Kashmir in which two Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/01/15/india-pm-pakistan-clash-idINDEE90E08C20130115

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  • Thoughtful
    Jan 16, 2013 - 7:43AM

    Lets not lose our heads…wait,one person already did!

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:20AM

    “Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh’s recent comments made ahead of a flag meeting in the Poonch sector may serve a purpose, but they will certainly not help improve relations with Pakistan.”

    Nor will beheading of Indian soldiers either!!!

    An Indian can accept death of soldiers at border but none will accept beheading and mutilation of the dead body. If the improvement has to become sustainable in the long term then Pakistan must assure/insure that such disrespect of soldiers dead body is not repeated in future, and that’s what India wants.

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  • Jan 16, 2013 - 12:11PM

    Unfortunately, in times like these, even doves seem like spewing fire. Calmness is the utmost requirement here. Some very irresponsible statements were issued like Indian Army chief and then the air chief. I would not generalize the commenters from India on Express Tribune but they, almost all, have called for war with Pakistan. Indian media is going berserk. Precious lives on either side of the LOC have been lost but the issue that seems to be bothering people is whether one should be beheaded or not. Are you kidding me? Hundreds and thousands of lives are at stake here that could end up vapourized due to the silly antics of some. Mature and sane heads are required to deal with the matter and ensure things like these don’t happen again.

    Do you know what you actually are doing my Indian brethren? You are strengthening the very same hands you accuse of hurting India. By going hawkish, unrolling the CBMs (putting back the restriction on visas for elderly Pakistanis) – you are doing no favours to chances of peace in long term. Defeat the hidden hand with soft touches.

    Indians say the only Pakistanis care about Shiv Sena in Mumbai and nobody in India takes heed of them. Simultaneously, Pakistani hockey players are booted off India because Shiv Sena threatened. Pakistani artists were to perform and again the plan got cancelled because of the Shiv Sena threat. If they really do not hold much importance, why give them such importance?

    May our (Indian and Pakistani) future generations live in peace. Regards.

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  • cautious
    Jan 16, 2013 - 6:41PM

    The Indian Army chief’s comments are
    hawkish and come at a time when the
    Pakistan Army is perhaps, most
    receptive to peace overtures, given
    the recent change in its doctrine,
    which no longer considers its biggest
    threat to be across the eastern
    border.

    I would remind the Editor that India (like the USA) doesn’t place much credence on what Pakistan says but on what Pakistan actually does. Pakistan military has not made any tangible change of strategy or tactics and many would argue that recent disclosures are simply the military squirming as it becomes apparent to the man on the street that terrorism is running amok.

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  • G. Din
    Jan 18, 2013 - 1:12AM

    @PostMan:
    “If they really do not hold much importance, why give them such importance”
    Explain, why they are only against Pakistan. And then, explain what you have done to reassure the rest of us, Indians, that you don’t deserve to be thus treated. Was beheading of a soldier a sign of your “love” or “respect” for us? Was carrying off his head meant to endear you (Pakistan) to us? Then, to top it all, you lied through your teeth that no such thing happened. Husband’s headless body was delivered to her widow and you have the gall to say nothing such happened! God have mercy on you!
    Shiv Sainiks are our compatriots. Compatriots means they are as patriotic, if not more, as the rest of us. We Indians respect each other. That does not mean that we don’t disagree sometimes. When we do, we try to convince the other to fall in line with our opinion. How are all your actions meant to motivate us to convince those of our compatriots not to object to your presence in our land? Look at yourselves in the mirror. You may not like what you see therein.

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