What India needs to do while living with an utterly medieval neighbour
No modern society approve the type of barbarism meted to Prem Sagar, by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT). No military does that. These are rare, inhuman and utterly medieval. It is not something against a country or military but it is against the human civilizational values. So, we need to reaffirm our resolve to stop it.
Eighteen years ago on 15 May 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia was taken captive along with his five men. They were subjected to intense torture for the twenty-two days, executed and on 9th of May their mutilated bodies handed over to the Indian Army. In February 2000, BAT killed seven Indian Soldiers and beheaded one Bhausaheb Talekar in Nowshera in Rajouri district. India today reports that the head of the soldier was brandished as a trophy in Pakistan. The militant, who claimed that he was the part of the raid, said they had played football with the soldier’s head. In 2012, two Jawans of Kumaon regiment had been beheaded. In 2013, they beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. On 28th of October 2016 militants crossed the LoC in Macchil sector, killed and mutilated the body Sepoy Mandeep Singh. In November, same year, suspected Pakistani troops killed three soldiers Prabhu Singh, K Kushwah and Shashank K Singh, and savagely mutilated the body of Prabhu Singh.
If such barbarisms are being done by non-state actors it can be understood but if these are being done by the regular army of a state it is really a worrisome issue not only for the country which is being targeted but for whole of the humanity.
For international relation, the action requires that you understand your adversary, to figure out how and what they are thinking and anticipate their reaction. Here ideas about identity, the logics of ideology and established structures of friendship and enmity play a very important role in shaping the behaviors of the actors. With this understanding, the question that what makes Pakistan army to resort to these barbaric acts, changes to, what is wrong with the Pakistani society which permits or condones such barbaric acts of its army? I am bringing Pakistani society under the question because, it is not only that Pakistani army or Pakistan based militants acting against India use beheading as a war practice. Baluch leader Mehran Marri, representative of Baluchistan in UNHRC and EU, said that Pakistan has been committing such heinous act in Baluchistan for the last 70 years.
It seems that the barbaric and brutal nature of Pakistan army or the Pakistan based militants is directly related with the very idea of Pakistan which is negatively medieval. Pakistan is not an ancient nation. It doesn’t have a history justifying its existence. It is the product of medieval line of thought that different religious communities living together must engage in the struggle for supremacy. One of the reasons behind the demand of Pakistan by the Muslim League’s leaders was the desire of having a nation in which they can enjoy the social status which their forefathers enjoyed in medieval time and which they lost when India became a British subject.
If we see the history of Pakistan, soon after its creation it fell in the hands of military dictators and religious leaders who never allowed modernization of a large section of its society and affinity of middle ages seems to be passed to each generation and reflects in action of state as well as non-state actors. It is a multicultural state with a constant danger of falling apart and only thing which unites it is the hatred against India.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, “We can change our friends but not the neighbours, we have to live with them”. Of course, it is obvious but we can certainly change the way in which we are living. It is not the case that India does not have options and Pakistan being a nuclear state cannot be brought on the knees. Pakistan may be a medieval society in its aspirations but not the needs. It is dependent on the rest of world for many things including military technologies and weapons. It needs to be taking care of its international image. It needs to have trade and cultural relations. There are separatist tendencies and a weaker Pakistan cannot preserve its unity. Military action cannot be the fitting reply as it will act counter-productively by uniting the “Pakistani Awam” behind the military. But, if we diplomatically isolate Islamabad it will surely bring Pakistan to its knees without any bloodshed.