This is a rebuttal to an article written by Abdul Gafoor Noorani for the Pakistani daily, the Dawn titled “A Hawkish Doctrine”. The Mumbai based lawyer has argued that no Indian PM has ever realized that Indian aspiration of becoming a global power requires a stable friendly relationship with neighbours. Nothing can be farther than truth. Right from Nehru (who signed Indus water treaty with Ayub Khan) to Vajpayee (remember Lahore bus journey and Agra summit?) to Manmohan Singh (Who went beyond measure to have peace talks with Pakistan even after Sharm al-Sheikh and 26/11)
Noorani immediately contradicts himself and accuses Modi of ‘wiping our Nehruvian approach in all fields’. After reading his contradiction laden article, one wonders if he considers Nehru as a pacifist towards Pakistan and Modi as not or was it just a rant against India.
He further criticizes Modi for keeping a hawkish attitude towards Pakistan and cites appointing Ajit Doval as NSA as the supreme evidence. Well, there is no doubt Modi has shifted the gear in pressure tactics but to ignore all the friendly gestures extended by him is a bit of unjustified.
Let us start with 26 May 2014, when Modi invited Nawaz Sharif for his oath-taking ceremony. It was Modi who reciprocated with the saree shawl diplomacy with Sharif. It was Modi who initiated the comprehensive bilateral talks with Pakistan in UFA. It was Modi who went uninvited to Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding and surprised all critics.
It is shocking that the author puts the entire onus of good relations with Indian leadership and obscured Pakistan from any responsibility. Fact is that in spite of written agreements between the two countries in UFA, Pak refused to send its NSA for bilateral talks on the excuse of involving Kashmir. And there cannot be any discussion on India Pak relations without addressing the elephant in the room – terrorism. Pathankot and Uri attacks are examples of Pakistani barbarism on Indian soil. Pakistani PM had the audacity to praise and glorify a terrorist Burhan Wani from the floor of Pak parliament and the United Nations. Yet, they have no qualms in expecting that India should continue with restraint. Needless to say, that expectation is a bit unfair and India has the right to protect her sovereignty by employing all measures.
Yes, we are not anymore guided by a dove, but a Doval. For years, India has been a victim of neighbour sponsored terrorism and Doval is right to suggest an offensive defence approach which has borne fruits. Every ceasefire violation from Pak is met with a ferocious rebuttal from the Indian side. The surgical strike, as a response to Uri attacks, was a clear example of the new strategy. As a consequence of this so-called hawkish attitude, we have successfully isolated Pakistan from the world and put tremendous pressure to put a curb on self-grown terror, which would ultimately be in the best interest of Pakistan and would eventually pave way for new friendship between the two countries.
In the past, Noorani has showcased his delusions when he blamed Sardar Patel for ‘downfall of Hyderabad’. The Mumbai based writer, who seems to have forgotten the dreadful 26/11, could have done better to go out of the way to criticize the NSA of our own country while writing for a foreign newspaper, full of unnecessary rants, delirious of facts. Instead, he should have used the opportunity to educate the Pakistanis of the terror menace their country has become, and encourage them to embrace secularism like the one he advocates for India. That of course, seems like a far cry.