Decoding LoC tensions

Published: October 14, 2013
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Most of the trigger-pulling seems to emanate from India; Pakistan has exercised a wise restraint in its response. PHOTO: FILE

Most of the trigger-pulling seems to emanate from India; Pakistan has exercised a wise restraint in its response. PHOTO: FILE

There is welcome news in that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have together decided to address the issue of the rise in tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) that separates our two countries. It has emerged that their meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month had this positive outcome and there will now be efforts to restore the ceasefire which has broken down on a number of occasions recently. To this end, it is reported that senior military officials from both sides will meet face to face next month — currently they talk on the telephone every Tuesday — and they are tasked with evolving a mechanism that will avoid repeats of ceasefire violations. The logistics of the meeting are yet to be worked out, and we may assume that given the sensitivity of what will be discussed, the general public is unlikely to be informed as to their content in any detail.

Whilst our respective military men appear able to overcome their differences to the point at which they can be in the same room together, the civilians are having a harder time of it, particularly on the Indian side. Despite his governments’ decidedly colourless performance thus far, Nawaz Sharif has from the outset been clear that he is committed to reviving the peace process with India.

The issues — there are many — are not only about territory and history; they are about the here and now, the realities of a need to trade, be it in commodities or electricity, to manage burgeoning water disputes and agree to a common agenda for mutual cooperation and prosperity. But New Delhi is not at a point where those positive triggers can be pulled and the negative triggers being pulled on the LoC have a direct bearing on the quality or otherwise of whatever the diplomats are able to piece together. Most of the trigger-pulling seems to emanate from the Indian side and Pakistan has exercised a wise restraint in its response. Neither side wants a war, yet a mutually agreed lasting peace still seems distant. But face-to-face military meetings are a step in the right direction.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Anusha
    Oct 14, 2013 - 11:03PM

    yes,,pakistanis showed restraint in conducting peace talks,,,,but pakistan should show some restraint in sending terrorists into the Indian territory!!!

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  • Rahul
    Oct 14, 2013 - 11:03PM

    You’re right that neither side wants war. India, certainly, being a responsible global player does not wish for a war with Pakistan. But if push comes to shove and there’s another Mumbai-type attack, India will have to take steps to protect its people from any threat as well. Cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan must stop now. Do you really think you can resolve Kashmir by pushing in some rogue militants into India? I really don’t understand why Pakistanis are playing with fire given the critical condition in which there country is in today. Your welfare lies in having good relations with India. India being a huge country and economy can still sustain this conflict, but Pakistan won’t be able to carry on like this for too long. Stop terrorism and be truly committed to peace. Terrorism will not being any peace. It will bring in its train nothing but destruction and mayhem. Neither side wants it so why not peacefully resolve all the issues? Pakistan must give up the path of violence and terrorism. Period

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  • Curious
    Oct 14, 2013 - 11:03PM

    Express Tribune probably has lot more credibility among Indians than Pakistan Army or Pakistan Govt. That goes out the window if you write editorials like this.

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  • Alann
    Oct 14, 2013 - 11:38PM

    “Most of the trigger-pulling seems to emanate from the Indian side and Pakistan has exercised a wise restraint in its response.”

    I agree with the first part, of India exerting some pressure on Pakistan, but the second part is factually wrong. If Pakistan was indeed exercising restraint, they would have altogether stopped responding to alleged shelling by Indian forces on LoC and would have refrained from doing the same. This current round of ceasefire violations by both countries started first when 4 Indian soldiers were killed in January, 2 of whom were beheaded and heads taken away to Pakistan by “militants”. It was the Indian army which showed the real restraint then. Then there were the country-wide elections in Pakistan in May, followed by a sudden increase in cross-border infiltrations into India from July onwards. And then suddenly there was an attack on a batch of 6 Indian soldiers in August, of whom only 1 survived. The heavy shelling from Indian side started then, and now Pakistan suddenly talks of “peace” and “restraint”. Yes India is exerting pressure on Pakistan, but even if it was China or any other country, it would have done the same thing. No country tolerates its soldiers getting killed during peace time by certain “elements” coming out of a neighbour country. And to make matters worse, Pakistan played its all-time favourite “baseless allegations” card.
    And to top that, Pakistan is shouting Kashmir all around the world. Any sane person around the world will wonder if Pakistan really wants peace, or it is still double dealing with its neighbour.

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  • ModiFied
    Oct 14, 2013 - 11:44PM

    “Nawaz Sharif has from the outset been clear that he is committed to reviving the peace process with India.”

    We in India don’t believe this now. Peace talks of NS are only lips deep. Army-Jihadis-NS are part of the same axis.

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  • SM
    Oct 15, 2013 - 12:05AM

    LOL.. This is a joke, right, is it April 1 already?

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  • sm
    Oct 15, 2013 - 12:42AM

    “Whilst our respective military men appear able to overcome their differences to the point at which they can be in the same room together, the civilians are having a harder time of it, particularly on the Indian side.”
    Exactly: Since the Indian civilian side haven’t forgotten Kargil and they know Pakistan’s
    India policy is set in GHQ and not Islamabad.

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  • N
    Oct 15, 2013 - 1:22AM

    Nawaz proved his sincerity to peace by doing Kargill In 1999. After his recent election, he proved his sincerity by a sudden escalation in infiltration attempts, by refusing to honour Pakistan’s commitments related to ade and visa liberalization, though India has done its part and finally he showed his sincerity in the welcome to MMS by his off the record remarks. Not sure who trusts this insincere man. not Indians – that’s for sure.

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  • R. Subramanian
    Oct 15, 2013 - 1:44AM

    I have a feeling our Indian Government thinks Mr. Nawaz Sherif is sincerely trying bring peace between India Pakistan relationship but forces that inimical to India Pakistan relationship wants to spoil whatever Mr. Nawaz tries to do… already we had seen that in Kargil and Mumbai.

    So for time being India is tolerating the anti India activities of Pakistan, but how long this tolerance will continue is a BIG QUESTION ?

    If LoC skirmishes escalates into full scale war means (that’s what terror elements in Pakistan are trying to do) its not those terrorist who are going to get affected… its ordinary people of both sides who are going to suffer. Already poor economy of Pakistan will get devastated fully and Indian economy will also get affected. So to avoid all these things Pakistan has to try sincere peace effort. If Pakistan takes one step towards peace means I am sure India will take 2 steps towards peace.

    Not only civilian government of Pakistan even Pakistan’s military and ISI also has to be sincere in their effort towards peace with India. If only Pakistan’s civilian government wants peace and army and ISI does not want peace with India means, then whatever effort Indian Government and Pakistan civilian Government tries won’t work out.

    Face the reality and be sincere in your effort. Surely entire South Asia will prosper and come out from poverty. There is no need of ego, after all South Asia has huge amount of world’s poor people, its a duty of everyone to try for peace.

    This is really in the hands of Pakistan

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  • darbullah
    Oct 15, 2013 - 1:44AM

    The problem is that the deep state does not care about what Nawaz says.

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  • PiS
    Oct 15, 2013 - 1:54AM

    Being a Pakistani, this editorial and indo-pak talks generally reminds me of Momento. You know the guy with anterograde amnesia that prohibits him to store new memories. Its almost like all of us are stuck in a bad loop of reliving the same story over, and over, and over again. A nightmare that never ends. There is no trust on either side, and for the right reasons. I wonder if this two-steps-forward and three-steps-backward can take us anywhere? I honestly doubt that it would. Not with these leaders and hawks on both sides. So my muscle memory when I look at any news that has the word Indo-Pak in the title? Run in the opposite direction.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Oct 15, 2013 - 2:24AM

    “Most of the trigger-pulling seems to emanate from the Indian side and Pakistan has exercised a wise restraint in its response.” India was also responsible for war in 1948, 1965,1971 and Kargil in 1999 and 26/11. Pakistan as usual was a victim. Jainism, a religion of non violence, is the most popular religion in Pakistan. Excuse me, I will be right back I have to step out to vomit.

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  • Insaan
    Oct 15, 2013 - 2:40AM

    Nawaz Sharif has from the outset been clear that he is committed to reviving the peace process with India………..Sure it is the same Nawaz Sharif who invited Vajpayee for peace talks to Lahore and stabbed him in the back right away by playing Kargil. Pakistanis are again playing Kargil on LOC now.

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  • shailesh karanjkar
    Oct 15, 2013 - 2:50PM

    Do you know today’s news that Pakistan Finance minister is urging Iran to build Pakistan side of gas pipe line because Pakistan is not able to raise fund $7.5 billion. Just learn that mere nukes/ terrorists (Strategic assets) will not save Pakistan. Use your all resources available for education, infra, etc to improve life of ordinary citizens.

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  • Sundar
    Oct 15, 2013 - 5:46PM

    If NS really wants peace with India he will turn off the oxygen supply to terrorists organization like LeT. His brother Punjab CM keeps the poisonous snakes alive by financially supporting them. The editorial should address the powerful brothers to stop hoodwink the world and work towards peace.

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  • Kate
    Oct 15, 2013 - 7:37PM

    Terrorism against India is Pakistan’s raison d’etre. How can it stop it without
    loosing itself?

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  • unbelievable
    Oct 15, 2013 - 9:29PM

    When your raise venomous snakes you need to accept responsibility when those snakes attack your neighbors. It isn’t a matter of whether your ordered the snakes to attack – the snakes are your responsibility – period.

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  • Oct 15, 2013 - 11:03PM

    Nawaz Shariff may show himself as sincere in his efforts for normalization of relations. .Simple talk does not instill trust. Some concrete result should come. Can MFN status be accorded to India over the span of last 16 years ? The simple and plain step which will be a win win situation for Pakistan and India both? No is the unambiguous answer. If NS can not do this then he is unable to deliver. Can he direct Pak army to stop help militant infiltration in Indian side of Kashmir? NO once again. There is a situation of deficit of trust. India has reason to believe that Pak army provides fire cover to Militants to help them enter India administered Kashmir and to stop the same Indian army is left with no alternative but to retaliate as well as take all possible steps to stop entry of the militants in the difficult terrain of LOC. Recent Killings of 8 militants and a catch of stockpiles of weapons during such actions including search operation in the forests of Keran sector is known to everyone. The Indian army has shown to the global media, the evidences in this respect. So steps of pushing of militants in Indian side of Kashnir and peace talk can not take place simultaneously. Indians believe that Nawaz Shariff is helpless and unable to deliver anything assured by him. So let him gain the strength to deliver . Till then it is better to disengage in talk and ensure to protect the border and LOC . Incidentally i would like to say that disengagement does not mean war?

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  • Hassan
    Oct 16, 2013 - 2:47PM

    @Curious:

    Sir, you can’t have news according to your wishes !

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  • wajid
    Oct 16, 2013 - 2:50PM

    @It Is (still) Economy Stupid:

    why do you have to step out to vomit ?.

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  • gp65
    Oct 16, 2013 - 8:17PM

    @Hassan: “@Curious:

    Sir, you can’t have news according to your wishes !”

    True but this isn’t news – this is views. ET seems to blindly parrot Pakistan government line that India (who has never attacked Pakistan) should prove its peaceful intentions by giving unilateral concessions (I say this because Pakistan has repeatedly failed to hold its end of the bargain after India fulfills its commitment). At the same time Pakistan can continue to ramp up infiltration attempts and all it needs to do is to speak peaceful words in order to be deemed peaceful. Of late we have seen a sharp increase in OpEds which seem to mistake a sincere desire for peace o part of Indians for naivete. IF ET keeps this up, it will lose credibility.Recommend

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