Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, speaking recently in Lok Sabha had described the attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab as an “accumulation of an asymmetric war”. He said: “When conventional war fails as it had failed in ’65 and ’71, the enemy resorted to thousand cuts in trying to bleed India. These are small attacks of weak forces on a stronger force when the weak forces know they cannot defeat the stronger force.”.
In this backdrop when the Defence Minister spoke of Pakistan as an enemy that has resorted to small attacks after successive defeats in full-fledged wars, eyebrows are being raised in India and the Minister for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar has come under attack as he was present on behalf of the Modi-led NDA Government at the Pakistan Day function held this evening at the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi. This event was also attended by separatist leaders from Kashmir.
India had called off talks with Pakistan in the last week of August 2015 after their High Commissioner in New Delhi had met with separatist leaders from Kashmir defying a warning from India.
Announcing the cancellation of talks, India’s External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin had told media that Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi had been specifically warned that the talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, would be jeopardized if he met with the Hurriyat Conference leaders from Kashmir.
Within days of the secret meeting in Bangkok last December between the NSA chiefs of India and Pakistan to break ice and open the doors for talks between the two countries, the Air Force base in Pathankot was attacked by terrorists receiving command from Pakistan.
The main opposition Congress has lashed out at the Modi Government for its Pakistan policy. The Congress is particularly critical of the bonhomie being shown repeatedly by top leaders in the NDA Government during one-on-one meetings with those from the Pakistani side. A Congress leader said this is in sharp contrast with the stand taken by India’s Defence Minister in Parliament.
A cross-section of people, who were contacted in different parts of India, also were unanimous in pointing out that the Indian Government should have boycotted the Pakistan Day event especially since it coincides with the the 23 March 2003 Nadimarg massacre when two dozen Kashmiri Pandits were killed by terrorists in Nadimarg village in Pulwama District of Jammu and Kashmir. March 23 is also the Martyrdom Day to commemorate the hanging of great freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on 23 March 1931 by the British.