Shashi Tharoor’s ‘like’ gaffe Is a confirmation of UPA’s pusillanimous response to 26/11

Shashi Tharoor, a former MoS in External Affairs ministry found himself in the middle of yet another controversy. Mr Tharoor had liked the Pakistan’s foreign minister’s tweet that included criticism of Indian army’s chief and a veiled threat of nuclear war against India.

Bipin Rawat had rightly said that the army was ready to call Pakistan’s nuclear bluff in his January 12 press conference. This was not a careless or hollow statement as Indian army had already demonstrated its confidence through surgical strikes.

Mr Tharoor went on to defend himself by first condemning the Pakistan foreign minister . He posted a seemingly ‘harsh’ tweet against Pakistan foreign minister.

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He then went on to defend himself in another tweet by saying that a ‘like’ is just a bookmark and not a sign of approval. He might be a master of words, but this time he comes across as naive and illogical. There was no deep or scholarly thought in that tweet which deserved more attention during his ‘free’ time. The Pakistan foreign minister’s tweet was straightforward  in its criticism of army chief and veiled threat. Anyone with average IQ can read and assimilate its contents within a minute.

It was a very poor defence because of another important and obvious reason. Mr Tharoor condemns the nuclear threat in Khawaja’s tweet, but the entire nation knows that UPA’s Pakistan policy was framed and managed based on the same nuclear war threat. Nuclear war fear is nothing but a euphemism for strategic incompetence and low risk appetite. The UPA lacked trust in the army and  jeopardized Indian interests by not punishing Pakistan after 26/11. Allowing Pakistan to go scot free after 26/11 emboldened Pakistan Army, terrorists and ISI.

Using the same ‘nuclear war’ logic with some more additional masala, Mr Tharoor defends India’s pusillanimous response to 26/11 in the second chapter of his book ‘Pax Indica‘. He writes :

With Pakistan denying all responsibility for the murderous rampage [26/11 attack] that was planned on its soil , India seemed to have no good options. It was a typically Pakistani conundrum : the military wasn’t willing ; and the civilian government wasn’t able. And the fear remained that expecting Zardari to fulfill India’s minimal demands may be tantamount to asking him to sign his own death warrant. What we needed to had to done in a way that did not undermine the civilian government. 

At the same time we all knew that anything that smacked of temporizing and appeasement would further inflame the public just a few months before the elections were due. But New Delhi also knew that though some hotheads in India were calling for military action, including strikes on terrorist facilities on Pakistani territory, that would certainly lead to a war that neither side could win. If anything, such a reaction would play into the hands of  the terrorists by strengthening their anti- Indian  nationalism in Pakistan and easing the pressure on Islamists. And since both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons, the risk of military action spiraling out of control is always too grave for any responsible government to contemplate. 

Three things are very clear from this excerpt :

  1. For UPA, saving civilian government and Zardari was more important than India’s interests
  2. They did not want the upcoming elections to be affected because of ‘appeasement’ and ‘public anger’. For UPA defending Indian interests is ‘appeasement’ !
  3. They did not trust the Indian army. Instead they feared a nuclear confrontation and rising anti-Indian nationalism in Pakistan.

So, it was not surprising when Amit Malviya found Khawaja’s tweet among Tharoor’s ‘liked’ tweets. It was just an endorsement of his own thinking and UPA’s Pakistan policy. Mr Tharoor, it is time to come out of the closet and admit your true beliefs on Pakistan’s nuclear bluff. It is also high time you realized your poor understanding of military strategy and warfare.


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