Mercifully, there was no sign of tanks trampling farmlands near borders between India and Pakistan . The war clouds remained confined to the TV studios and temporary displacement of hundreds of families on the two sides of the Line of Control and International Border. The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir- the high prized and the most contested territory by the two nuclear powered neighbours – between India and Pakistan .
In spite of the loud chest thumping following the Uri terror attack sponsored and executed by Pakistan and subsequent retaliatory surgical strike by the Indian army in Pakistani part of Kashmir , cool heads seemed to have seen the merit that “ war would not settle anything.”. Yet another conflagration on borders would have brought death and destruction as its natural consequence . That has not happened, and that should not have happened.
The turn of events since September 18th and then after September 29th Uri attack and the surgical strikes respectively has shown to the civilian and military leadership of the two countries that a massive majority is against noises of war, howsoever, appealing or righteous they might appear to certain sections . It was this mood in the two nations , reflected by the responsible sections of society and media that has led to change in the discourse. TV studios are not the parameters of the mood of the nations . Their war-mongering is not a sign of patriotism but that of scoring their own viewership rating. Perhaps, by now they would have known that the viewers very frequently shift to the responsible presentations .
In such tense situations, when the political games occupy the centrestage , communication is the best means to prove doomsayers wrong . The communication level between India and Pakistan did not break down. The trade and travel continued both through Wagah border and the cross- LoC points at Salambada and Chakan-Da- Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir – a pleasant departure from the politics of war.
Had there been a war , adding yet another chapter in the violence filled history of the two countries , what would have been achieved . At the end of the day, the two countries would have rushed to the negotiation table on their own- less likely- nudged by others – most likely – to settle for the status quo . Pakistan can not take this part of Kashmir from India. India is in much better position than it was in 1965 or 1971 . A real time fact is that the Indian army is having an overwhelming presence in Kashmir and it reserves the power to defeat any designs of the territorial aggression by Pakistan . This is as much true as is the fact that it cannot take away Pakistan occupied territories of Jammu and Kashmir , because if it comes to that Pakistan would use its nuclear option, which it to some extent rightly considers can neutralize the conventional war superiority of India . Any likelihood of using nuclear option in any of the parts of Jammu and Kashmir is not only a catastrophic proposition but also nullifies the theme of Kashmir being “ jugular vein of Pakistan.” It is indeed a fact that Pakistan has a Full Spectrum Deterrence in place , possibly in response to the Cold War Doctrine of India .
Now comes the question , can war end the roots of terrorism in Pakistan. Hardly is the answer. The Islamic jihadist mindset is so deep rooted in Pakistan , that no war , speaking hyperbolically lasting even for a thousand years , can erase that. The limited or full scale war would only deepen this mindset . And, to even imagine , that all those sick of home grown terrorism, would help India achieve its objective , is a preposterous thought. Pakistanis are as nationalists and patriotic as Indians. In the eventuality of a war, the terrorists would get dignified as heroes over there.
It is better that the two nations pull up their diplomatic socks and get down to the dialogue . Kashmir is not a distant land mass like East Pakistan hundreds of miles apart from once Western Pakistan , where it can be cut from India. This reality needs to be accepted and India should learn to honour the democracy in Kashmir . No other method would work. It would be a festering wound , troubling time and again.