Monday, August 31, 2015

1965 war ‘celebration’ can’t solve problems - Asian Age Editorial

Not content with going Josef Goebbels way, the Modi Govt is also acquainting us with a slice of Stalinism. It has just made known its intention to "re-write" the 1965 story in order to portray it as a victory.
The 50th anniversary of 1965 war(September 6-23) is upon us, and we are un-erringly trying to get into a dubious competition with Pakistan to celebrate it as a victory. September 6 is observed as“Pakistan Defence Day”, although in that self-inflicted operation our neighbour just missed losing a chunk of territory. A semi-military dictatorship, it doesn’t have much going for it, and understandably designs such occasions to cheer up its people. There is also a deeper game, however — to rally support for the all-powerful military whose machinations against India have led it to one battlefield fiasco after another.
The conflict of 1965 was not an outright military defeat for Pakistan, but clearly the Pakistan Army’s mission is to latch on to any half-chance as a victory. The Indian forces briefly took Lahore and then — with foresight — relinquished it. Haji Pir on the Line of Control was handsomely won, but bartered away on the negotiating table.
In the light of the undeniable military stalemate, only a lurch to jingoism can explain the current official attempt to whip up national fervour and seek to remember 1965 as a famous win. It was pathetic to see defence minister Manohar Parrikar rebuke the media on Friday for not doing its part in commemorating the “victory” and in being lost in the coverage of mundane matters.
Not content with going the Josef Goebbels way, the Narendra Modi government is also acquainting us with a slice of Stalinism. It has just made known its intention to “rewrite” the 1965 story in order to portray it as a victory. Such an outrageous deviation from known facts is laughable. It might even make the more manipulation-minded Pakistanis smirk.
Chalking up a paper victory is one thing, but we are in the season of a prolonged agitation of our military veterans over the issue of “One-Rank-One-Pension”, and recalling 1965 as a celebration isn’t cutting too much ice with them.
The government is not ready to say it with money when it comes to lauding the forces. The earlier UPA government had accepted the OROP demand in principle. Prime Minister Modi too did just that in his Independence Day speech earlier this month. Why did he bother? Ex-servicemen have expressed a wish to call on the PM, but they have been given the cold shoulder. The PM’s colleagues seem to have got into the habit of making any statement that comes handy in side-stepping a tricky situation.
If celebrating 1965 is a false celebration, and the government has no concrete way forward to assuage the sentiments of retired military personnel, it also seems to lack a strategy to confront Pakistan on terrorism and stabilising the situation in Kashmir.
(Source- Asian age editorial)

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