Where is the Line of Actual Control ???

Lakshman a central character in the very popular Indian mythological epic – ‘The Ramayana would never have imagined that a line he drew would become a brand by itself and would draw references day in and day out in modern India.  The line named after him as the Lakshman Rekha is believed to be the central raison d’être of the epic itself.  If Sita had heeded to his advice and not crossed that line when Raavan under disguise came to her for alms, it is believed she would have escaped all the sufferings she had to go through later.  So every time the Lakshman Rekha is brought up as a metaphor in the context of crossing one’s limit only to endure misery later.

  •   “Don’t cross the Lakshman Rekha” exhorted a minister from Madhya Pradesh to women if they want to avoid unwanted consequences
  •  “Don’t cross the Lakshman Rekha” said even the Supreme Court to journalists in the context of reporting

The context of Lakshman Rekha again dominated public discourse recently when Pakistan killed 2 Indian soldiers and allegedly beheaded and mutilated their bodies and dumped them against established international conventions.  Somebody said Pakistan may cross the Lakshman Rekha at its own peril. My piece is basically to focus on drawing the Rekha (line). The reaction in India to the indeed dastardly act by Pakistan has been extremely raucous.  In TV channels the radars of the OB vans shifted from the Delhi gang rape incident to this absolutely heinous act.  There have been cries for firm and tit-for-tat response to this from media, the opposition and the public by and large.   Let’s look at some of them:

  • If Pakistan does not return the severed head of the martyred soldier Hemraj, India should get at least 10 heads from the other side said an opposition leader and a potential Prime Minister candidate in that
  • Call off all talks with Pakistan and end the dialogue process
  • Stop all trade and commerce between India and Pakistan
  • All cricketing and sports ties must be severed with immediate effect
  • Why is India not carrying out covert action across the LOC (Line of Control) and create trouble on the other side?
  • Why is India not getting powers like US to stop aid to Pakistan and put pressure???
  • ,..,..

In the days following the event we saw TV channels and their wannabe Arnab Goswamis I mean anchors (with few exceptions) getting politicians, journalists, diplomats, so called defence experts and Ex-service men from both sides of the border and engaging in mostly over the top debates on what should be India’s response to this.   And as childish it would seem, some of them wanted answers from the Govt. to their questions on the type and nature of response.

The irony is from the discourse it appears that if India calls off the cricketing ties between the two nations or stop Pakistanis from being a part of the annual IPL festival, it would amount to some tough response from India!!   From all what I followed, I couldn’t get a sense of exactly what the opposition or the media or the defence experts wanted Government of India to do which will tantamount to a “tough response”. 

The question is can governments conduct diplomacy thro OB vans? Even if the “Nation wants to know” can the government’s spokesperson appear in prime time debates and announce that from tomorrow R&AW is going to depute 10 officers for carrying out undercover operations across the border?  Can the military representatives come out in the open as to their strategy for countering the shocking acts of Pakistan? Do we expect the MEA spokesperson to outline the different tactics they are going to adopt on the diplomatic front?

Given that the act was indeed barbaric and flouting all humane conventions, it calls for a firm response from our country.  However we must have firm faith in our military and leave it to them to deliver that firm response.  From that point of view the measured and mature response of our Army Chief among the din is indeed commendable.  After all it is his team which has this onerous responsibility of protecting our borders and he has to ensure that his men are high up on morale and motivation.

Most of the shrill noises called for action – which will put India and Pakistan on an even scale. The fact is that it is not. The stark truth is – the India Vs Pakistan issue is not an issue among equals. Just because India and Pakistan are nuclear states doesn’t make them equal. In size, economic strength, military might, political stability we are way above our neighbour and that calls for a response which is restrained, mature and firm. 

The ‘Line of Control’ is considered to be the border  between India and Pakistan for all practical purposes and both the countries have an underlying understanding to observe restraint across it.  So in effect this becomes the Lakshman Rekha for both the countries. However there is a need for a Line of Actual Control for our media, politicians, and commentators when it comes to matters of external security.  Where is that Lakshman Rekha and why is it missing?

In the meantime, do enjoy Surendran’s superb cartoon in ‘The Hindu’ on ‘Lakshman Rekha’!!!

rekha

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32 thoughts on “Where is the Line of Actual Control ???

  1. Vijay Venkatachalam says:

    excellent one… once again… i recon, a solution is in the vicinity… after 50 yrs Ind (FDI) & Pak wil become a colony of USA and they shall remain united till the next Gandhi & Jinnah are born… :p… our next gen would read in history… “once there lived an elephant who was afraid an ant… “… jus becos the ant is near the elephant’s ears…

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  2. Ranjit Gurkar says:

    We ( Indians ) seem to forget that this event took place on the LOC. The ppeople involved are soldiers. Their job is to protect the sovereignity and integrity of the country’s border!

    In such a situation, when the LOC was crossed by the Pakistani soldiers and the Indian soldiers were attacked, an immediate armed response is the right response .

    Nobody seems to be asking the question, what were the rest of the Indian soldiers doing ? Were they sleeping ? Choodiyan phenay hai kya?

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    • Hi Gurkar San, You have a very valid point. From whatever info available it appears that our guys got did in due to heavy fog and mist in a forested terrain. I’m sure there will be a firm response from our side as in the past. Thanks for posting your comments and views.

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  3. Ranjit Gurkar says:

    We ( Indians ) seem to forget that this event took place on the LOC. The people involved are soldiers. Their job is to protect the sovereignity and integrity of the country’s border!

    In such a situation, when the LOC was crossed by the Pakistani soldiers and the Indian soldiers were attacked, an immediate armed response is the right response .

    Nobody seems to be asking the question, what were the rest of the Indian soldiers doing ? Were they sleeping ? Choodiyan phenay hai kya?

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  4. asha says:

    lakshaman rekha is meant for ordinary persons only.. another question is can really the LOC be crossed.. how come only indian soldiers be attacked.. we are suppose to defend them.. but no such things have been there… exactly what would have happened.. is there something else than the one news which we are being shown…

    really a fantastic post anand as usual.. yet this one was superb..

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    • Hi Asha, what is available in public domain is limited information as you have reckoned. My limited point was that we must leave the response ( overt/covert) to the armed forces and expecting govt./army/foreign office to spell out in the media what our response will be may be out of place. Thanks for reading and posting your feedback !

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  5. Nithya says:

    Hi Anna, your posts are well thought and well written.I was also very irritated by the media response to that incident. How is government or army answerable to media in such cases?Its a diplomatic issue. If we declare a war for this kind of incidences millions of lives will be lost on either side and even that will not yield a solution to the problem. What can be the outcome of a war..If India wins will Pakistanis let us rule them in peace?There will be conflicts and more conflicts and I feel it will be even more gruesome. So its better to leave these matters to the army and the government.

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  6. Nithya says:

    And our army men know their job very well..People can easily criticize them without knowing reality but I am not so sure whether the same people will be ready to go out there and defend the nation. There are lot of things to consider before taking out arms and marching to Pakistan..As for sleeping ….they are the men who guard the country without sleep when all of us are happily sleeping on our soft beds..

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  10. Ashok n Iyer says:

    The cheapest and the easiest thing in the world is to advice others how to do their job. In this we, Indians have taken many doctorates and often went ‘out of line of control’…..What we can do actually is to protest vehemently against such an act of cowardice from Pakistan… leave the action to our powerful military force and watch the action without overstepping the ‘Line of Control’…..

    Very good article……

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  12. Doesn’t make sense to me. Firstly, I do not know what do u mean by “so called Defense experts”?? If you watched Times Now that day Mr. Maharoof Raza was in the panel as a defense expert. Do some Google and ull come to know his immense career in Indian Army as a Commando. Having said that, I would not bet on who is a Defense Expert – The viewers or Mr. Maharoof.

    Secondly, U r right that MEA officials won’t reveal the plan of RAW & IB to send spies in other countries for the sake of a TV Debate. Agreed!! But there is something called “MORALE” in strategic terms. The Morale of the country and troops is the base of the strength of a Nation and its Defense preparedness. No one expects Government to reveal plans of sending spies. But we do expect some vocal & motivational communication, telling us what stringent actions are being taken to value the sacrifice of our soldiers, from Leaders to boost our morale against a notorious neighbor.

    Thirdly, remember the times of Kargil War?? As soon as the news spread & was confirmed of Pakistan Army incursion on our territory Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressed the Nation. That is how leaders keep media, public in control by making Convincing them that while they are asleep our leaders our working hard for our safety. No points in guessing that this is not the case these days.

    Lastly, as far as Lakhshman Rekha is concerned with Pak & China, we ourselves are re-drawing the Line back on our sides again & again. I seriously hope we don’t go the France way (as in 1940s during WW2) and keep re-drawing the line till it reaches Delhi.

    Thanks
    Prateek

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