Critical Importance of Firm Response

When a nation’s security is threatened, the appropriate response is a firm, fear-inducing one which unequivocally conveys to the originator of the threat how seriously the nation takes its security and the security of its people.

In this respect, the one nation that positions its security above all considerations is Israel, followed closely by the U.S.

It is of utmost importance that a government demonstrates not only to its opponents but also to its own people that it is firmly and fearlessly committed to preserving its own security, notwithstanding any geo-political pressures that could be exerted on it. It should also not shy away from disproportionate response in case a redline is crossed by the opponent.

What happened last week between India and Pakistan clearly demonstrates that Pakistan is more strong-willed than India. That derivation is not surprising, going by past experiences as well. Given that India is a democracy, and is a much larger country than Pakistan, the Indian Government has always miscalculated that it would be better to show magnanimity towards Pakistan and appease that country wherever possible. This policy of appeasement has recently culminated into allowing visa-free travel for Pakistani citizens, even though Pakistan Government has not shown its sincerity in bringing to book the Mumbai 26/11 carnage perpetrators who all originated from Pakistan. After 4 years of useless waiting with absolutely no progress to show for it, we also suffered the ignominy when Mr Rehman Malik visited India and demeaned the whole 26/11 attack.

And now the Pakistan army has beheaded two Indian soldiers, and our response ?

Apart from the latest mention of “other” options by the Airforce Chief, the political responses have been weak, not the full-throated attack that the people of India expected. The foreign minister of Pakistan did not mince words when she attacked India relentlessly during her recent trip to the U.S. and showed her arrogance while stating that she was not prepared to listen to a billion Indians.

India has to learn from Israel and the U.S. (and at the same time it should not lend itself to political compulsions), and also from Pakistan.

Nothing worse than a weak, imprecise and non-firm response. People of India want more than that.


Vijay Srinivasan
13th January 2013


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