Credibility, Consistency, Army Chief, PM Modi and Indian Diplomacy

Many articles here start with a line “Sometime in the past, we wrote an article in which”. The primary reason for such looking back, is to make sure we remember what we said in the past. An online website may be too small to be bothered about such consistency in stand and credibility, but still we try to adhere to this practice, as far as possible. We believe it makes sense to do so.

Srinagar valley, Kashmiri separatists, narendra modi, army chief, bipin Rawat, Chennai touristIf websites such as this one, are bothered about credibility and consistency; then People who are entrusted with governing the country on peoples’ behalf, must be even more keen to judge their every action on the same standards.

Sometime in the past we wrote here, as to why defense personnel in India must not address public. We are not a military State (Nation) after all.

Some days ago, the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, warned the people of Jammu and Kasmir that Freedom (Azadi) is a far cry. Talking to Kashmir Times, he said and we quote,

“The number of militants who are killed in gunbattles with the army don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue. There are fresh recruitment happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile, nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight the army,”

“I know that the youth are angry. But attacking security forces, throwing stones at us isn’t the way,”

The statement came three days after a 22-year-old tourist from Chennai was killed by stone-pelters just outside of Srinagar (It is a different question altogether, as to why the tourists were allowed towards such an area).

But the statement also came after an all-party delegation to the valley, unanimously recommended the Union Government a unilateral ceasefire in the valley.

Again, if the Army Chief’s statement is the official stand of the Union Government or the Indian Indian Government, then the contradiction between Government of India and the recommendation of the all party delegation must had come from the Union Home Ministry, and not from the Army Chief. It may sound too drastic to some readers, but Army Chiefs and Army Officers speaking to media in presence of an elected government OR, instead of an elected Government, was only seen in Pakistan. Now, we see it happening in India as well. The question of an Army Chief making such a statement becomes even more problematic, when other countries or neighboring countries start mistaking the Army Chief’s statement as Indian Government’s official stand.

As far as India is concerned, we believe that freedom can never be a possibility for J&K. But for that the easiest way is to take proactive steps to include the people of J&K to the mainstream. Firing pellet guns at angry mobs, will never serve such purpose. Pellet guns at stone pelters never work against any angry mob. So why use them at stone pelters in J&K. Hence the Government must have reprimanded the Army Chief for making such a statement. If there is one ONLY ONE mouth in any country such as India, then it must always be the official mouth of the Government of India. Army Chief never was and will never be one.

Now lets talk about the much exalted word of diplomacy. It is a fine art and hence much exalted (seen with high respect). There is a reason why the present Central Government’s actions in Kashmir are much criticized and reported within and outside India. The reason is simple. The party is running a co-alition Government in J&K with a party which is known as being sympathetic to Kashmiri Separatists. You cannot make a government in a state in India, and keep warning the people there. That is why it is important for the Indian Government to say categorically that it doesn’t support what the Army Chief has said. It must also make clear Government of India’s official stand. It must also tell the Army Chief to shut up in future.

To conclude, strong words don’t mean diplomacy. That apart, there is nothing “Unofficial” about diplomacy. This includes Indian Prime Minister’s “Unofficial visits” to neighboring and other countries. How can an Indian PM visit a country “Unofficially or Uninvited”? Anyone who does so, is not serving any diplomatic purpose. He/she is just addressing Indian diaspora there, and getting accolades and claps in return.