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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 26, New Delhi June 20, 2015

Citizens Speak Out Against Jingoism

Saturday 20 June 2015

Statement on Indo-Pak Relations

We are profoundly disturbed by the thought-less articulation of jingoist sentiments by high level representatives of the Government, prominent spokespersons of the ruling party and strategic thinkers and experts associated with the think-tanks close to policy-makers, following the Indian Army’s seemingly successful operation against the militants in the North-East along the Indo-Myanmar border. We are deeply concerned about its dangerous implications for peace and security in South Asia and for relations with our neighbours, particularly Pakistan. This runs counter to the policy of peace and amity with all our neighbours spelt out time and again by our leaders since independence. The threats implied in these statements can be a prescription for disaster in a region which is heavily armed including with nuclear weapons. Such statements cannot but jeopardise the prospect of resuming dialogue with Pakistan, a goal which we presume is shared by the Government.

We, therefore, urge upon the Union Government to publicly disassociate itself from such statements, reiterate its objective of promoting cooperation and goodwill among the governments and peoples of South Asia in general and India and Pakistan in particular, and take advantage of the first opportunity available for resuming dialogue with Pakistan free from frictions, preconditions and accusa-tions. Only by adopting such a course of action shall we be able to effectively defeat the designs of terrorists perpetrating violence in and spreading hatred among the peoples of the two countries, and strengthen the constituency of peace across our western border.

Signatories: Kuldip Nayar, Muchkund Dubey, Justice Rajindar Sachar, Mrinal Pande, Manoranjan Mohanty, Zoya Hasan, John Dayal, Advocate N.D. Pancholi, Mohammad Salim Engineer, Seema Mustafa, Jawed Naqvi, Sumit Chakravartty

Call from Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India

We are shocked at the level of jingoism being peddled by the Ministers of the Modi Government, members of the ruling BJP and sections of the mainstream media in India over the recent action by the Indian Army in Manipur.

While several questions are being raised and newer facts are emeging as the details still unfold—whether or not it was a cross-border case of hot-pursuit, whether it was a retaliatory or a pre-emptive action etc., the manner in which this action is being linked to a general justification of such hot-pursuit vis-a-vis Pakistan and China is deplorable and dangerous.

India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed nations, with such close geographical proximity that a nuclear exchange between both would lead to large-scale devastation and irreversible climatic changes. And as the post-Pokharan history of South Asia suggests, the rhetoric and escalation of conventional war has a real potential to lead to nuclear sabre-rattling.

The fact that this action was carried out against India’s own alienated citizens and not some external enemy itself is far from being a cause of jubilation. For real peace in longer term, we demand that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) must be removed immediately from the North-East and Kashmir and sustained and open dialogue with people in the regions be initiated at the earliest.

Signatories (for CNDP): Achin Vanaik, Praful Bidwai, Lalita Ramdas, Anil Chaudhary, Abey George, Kumar Sundaram