[Update 2: If you are reading this article, you MUST also read the follow up post to get a more complete picture.]
[ Those who know me well know how much of a non-war person I am, but here is some loud thinking on my part. Let me know what you think. ]
I was reading ShashiTharoor's tweets and other reports on the 10 year anniversary of the Kargil war, where we were left surprised by the large-scale incursion of the Pakistani forces mingled with "freedom fighters" in Kashmir. And then reports of how the deaths on the LoC continue due to firing from the other side.
M.J.Akbar has written another masterpiece today in the ToI, which, among other things, makes the following note (emph mine):
In 1965 Lal Bahadur Shastri thought a little give would purchase a lot of take at Tashkent. In 1972, Indira Gandhi bought Bhutto's plea that what remained of Pakistan would crumble without her sympathy. She did not insist on a written agreement ending the Kashmir dispute along the Line of Control. Atal Bihari Vajpayee reached out to shake Pakistan's hand at Lahore, and got slapped in the face at Kargil.
And asks this wonderful rhetorical question:
In the political calculus, Gilani does not have to do much more to survive. After all, what can India do if he does nothing? Start a war?
And I wonder to that, Why not?
I mean, during Kargil, the reason we didn't go into a full-fledged war was because we thought they could use the nukes. If we, in contrast, attack the terror camps in PoK, wouldn't Pakistan also be forced to fight a non-nuclear war, fearing that if they use their nukes, we will use ours too?
Note that I am NOT asking for war. However, I have begun to strongly feel that keeping the strike option (pre-emptive or not) completely off the table does us no good, and allows the govt. there to be in the state of "we oh-so-want to fix your terrorism problem too, not just ours" while doing absolutely nothing about it.
What do we stand to lose if we state to Pakistan in clear terms that "next time there is a terror attack (or if there is a delay in delivering those responsible for the 26/11 attacks), we won't ask you before bombing the regions where we believe the camps are located. Bring out your nukes. We got bigger ones."?
[P.S. Credit is due to P, who asked me a version of this question a while back]