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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 25 New Delhi June 13, 2015

Juvenile Jingoism is alien to True Patriotism

Saturday 13 June 2015, by SC


Last week it was written in these columns that the “clinically executed ambush in Manipur’s Chandel district” on June 4, that killed 20 of our soldiers and injured over a dozen of them, was the “deadliest terror attack on Army personnel in the last 33 years in the region”. Within five days the swift retaliation came from the Indian security forces: early on June 9 special forces (para commandos) of the Indian Army carried out surgical operations deep inside Myanmar inflicting what the Army described as “significant casualties” (the death toll of the militants was originally stated to be 50 but subsequent reports suggest that it could touch 70,).

While the Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore declared on June 9 night that the strikes by the Indian armed forces constituted a message for all countries including Pakistan and groups harbouring “terror intent” towards India that “we will strike at a place and at a time of our choosing”, the Myanmar Government on June 10 night denied any raid conducted inside its territory asserting that the “military operation was performed on the Indian side at the India-Myanmar border”.

The Hindu report disclosed that “according to a source, the Myanmar Government ‘wasn’t pleased with how the operations had been portrayed in the Indian media‘.”

This was quite natural since questions of sovereignty were involved (but the jingoists in the electronic media were blissfully unaware of such diplomatic intricacies).

The electronic media of the country indeed displayed streaks of juvenile amateurishness by instantly drawing a link between the surgical operations in the North-East and the situation along the LoC in J&K so as to give a ‘befitting’ reply to Pakistan! This Pakistan-centric jingoism, also reflected in junior Minister Rathore’s statement (he described Pakistan as an ‘enemy’ thereby throwing all diplomatic niceties to the winds), invited a sharp response from the members of the Pakistan Government and officials in Islamabad legitimately incensed over India’s outbursts.

The Army personnel, in contrast, were not only more restrained as is their wont but also far more realistic in their assessments.

One more point: The Times of India today carried a frontpage photo of the special forces team that carried out attacks on the two militant camps. This was a gross violation of professional norms and operational discipline thereby placing the members of the team at serious risk. This too was a demonstration of juvenile amateurishness.

Meanwhile the government at the Centre has suddenly woken up to the hard reality that the militants in the area would be shortly retaliating with a vengeance. That is precisely why the triumphalist jubilation exhibited by the BJP Government and political functionaries was uncalled for—it was shortsighted and completely unwarranted. Now if they want to further politicise the issue to reap electoral dividend they will only further expose their sectarian proclivities howsoever much they endeavour to camouflage these under the garb of “nationalism” (actually national chauvinism) which is absolutely alien to true and genuine patriotism.

June 11 S.C.