Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ignoring is bliss….Let Pakistan stew in its own juice

There are a hundred distractions a fast developing country like India faces in its journey to becoming the world’s largest economy. Some of these distractions are in the form of provocations from neighbors like Pakistan. In the long run, ignoring such provocations is the best strategy.

We’ve seen this when growing up. A bright student is often distracted by friends who have nothing better to do in life; who know their own academic limitations. Another bright student never distracts this bright student; only the losers do. It is in the best interest of this bright student to ignore the overtures of the miserable lot. Not doing so harms only the bright student. The others have nothing to lose anyways. It is pointless even to attempt responding to these distrative forces, or trying to reason with them. Ignoring is best.

The story is no different with India and Pakistan. India is that bright student waiting to take its place on the global high tables of business. Its economy is already in the top 10; in PPP terms it is already in the top 3. It’s the country which everyone is counting on worldwide to deliver growth. They say China may outgrow India for a few more years; but eventually no one can stop India’s rise to the top of the charts. India’s been likened to an elephant in the past – and when the elephant goes prowling, even the tigers go hiding! And just like an elephant rarely gets provoked, and goes about its job with a routine, efficient monotony, so must India.

Pakistan is nothing but an irritating fly. Trying to swat it will be nothing more than a waste of time. Pakistan’s is a failed economy. In a world blessed with large dollops of global cash flows thanks to waves of US quantitative easing, Pakistan has still managed to grow at less than 5% over the last decade. Pakistan’s main pre-occuptation – when it is not propping up its sham democracy – is battling the various secessionist forces within its borders, defending itself from worldwide scorn for its alliances with all sorts of militant groups, and begging the US for more funds under some or the other excuse. The only time Pakistanis are in the news is when someone is arrested on Times Square in New  York or when he is illegally exporting stolen nuclear technologies to other rogue states. The whole existence of Pakistan is a question mark. No one can be sure it will continue to exist as one entity in the future. For all we know, it may implode and break into several small fragments of death and gloom.

Why should India give such a failed neighbor any more importance than the minimum required? We can live without the sporting ties; yes they have some good cricketers, but the world learnt to live without an apartheid South Africa for so many years. We can live without their musicians; in any case, we are the ones who give their artists a market and a modicum of credibility. We can live without their tiny markets; in any case our exporters have the whole world to export to. And yes, we can live with their barbarism; our army should take out their puny military.

None of us must concern ourselves with Pakistan beyond this. Let Pakistan suffer from being ignored. Have you noticed what is the best way to treat a trouble maker? Its to ignore him. Or under major provocation, give him a quick sharp jab and knock him down. Our army can do that. As a when Pakistan realizes the importance of being called India’s friend, we can show them mercy.

They can call China their friend, but China knows that it has no option but to engage with India. They can call the US their friend, but they saw recently when the Indo-US like deal was denied to them that the US can be ruthless. They can call Saudi Arabia their friend, but Indian diplomacy is enough to make that country hand over Fasih Mohammad, an IM terrorist, despite Pakistani behind-the-scenes lobbying. They can call the Taliban, the mujahideen, and all the Lashqars, Harkats and Jamaats their buddies, but they’ve learnt that these friends can be easily made to turn on them with the lure of a few dollars.

India must not get distracted from its destiny. We have green shoots emerging that we need to nurture. We have a vibrant democracy that we need to strengthen. We have democratic institutions that have delivered in the past, but we need to contemporarize them. We have elevated hundreds of millions from poverty, but we have a few more hundred left to lift out. We are a $2 trillion economy, but we’ve 20 trilliong more to produce to become the world’s numero uno. Nothing should distract us; least of all a loser like Pakistan.

The real truth is that its time to pull back from the brink and let the army handle the border conflict. Our media needs to pull back as well; and so do our people. All of us have our jobs cut out. We need all hands on the deck…..

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