As tensions escalate between India and Pakistan and social media rages with a war of its own, the question is: Is military action the only way? The solution is political, says former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral L. Ramdas, and involves continuous dialogues between the two governments. Senior journalist Hemanth Kumar writes that Pakistan had no choice but to release Wing Commander Abhinandan without further ado, for India's now-robust foreign policy would have brought disastrous consequences for its neighbour.
As war-mongering engulfed social media following the recent airstrikes against Pakistan in retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack, the wife of one of the CRPF soldiers killed in it, Mita, was trolled for speaking out against war. But the criticism she has invited seems to have hurt many veterans of the armed forces, who share her views. Former Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral L Ramdas believes there can be no military solution to the Kashmir dispute.
The 1971 war veteran and Magsaysay award winner for peace said, "We have been fighting terrorism for the past several years. The only solution is political and not military. And a political solution must involve a genuine and continuous dialogue with the people of Kashmir, including dissidents and separatists, the government of Pakistan and the government of India."
He continued, "We want peace, but if we are told to go to war we do it. This is precisely one of the reasons we ask for better weapons. The chest thumping has to stop. Most of the soldiers are farmers' children. Nobody wants to die."
Responding to the war-mongering and online trolling of the Pulwama martyr's wife, Mrs Lalita Ramdas, wife of the admiral, said, "My husband has been called anti-national for talking peace. The narrative of hyper-nationalism should change. As the daughter of a former Naval chief and wife of a former Naval chief, I too stand for peace."
Calling the trolling of a martyr’s wife disappointing, Brigadier Kushal Thakur, who led the 18 Grenediers that lost 34 men in the Kargil war, said "As a soldier I want peace," and recalled that Lt Col R Vishwanathan, who was awarded the Vir Chakra posthumously, died on his lap in battle.
"He was my friend and it was a great loss for the battalion but at the end of the day, despite losses we had to continue because the country is above everything else," he added. Brig. Thakur was himself awarded the Yudh Sewa Medal. In all, India lost 527 soldiers, including 52 from his town.
Wing Commander MA Afraz, another Kargil veteran , said the feelings of the soldiers on the front differed from person to person, but at the end of the day they were also human beings. "When your brother in arms gets killed one gets enraged and aggressive. But the purpose of war is to achieve peace," he added....