Both lose $ 1500 million

Indo-Pak Singham War

By Shivaji Sarkar

Playing Little Singham is the cheapest way of releasing energy and keeping cool for many millennials (new generation kids). Usually it does not have a cost except for some bruises and they happily again play together.
Wish nations also could master that art as they are not let off with that ease. It has a cost: Nation’s ego, fancy of leaders, societal jingoism and targeted violence against “real” enemies living next door and of course the military ops, which are not imaginary. And wars are led by vested interests.
All nations thrive on some kind of patriotism and veiled jingoism. The love-hate relationship between India and Pakistan for continuing the 1947Partition mindset has huge costs on both countries.
Yes, the two-day war games have inflicted — for the satisfaction of all Indians — a heavy cost on Pakistan as it lost an F-16 fighter jet which today costs not less than $ 15 million. The price of flying 20 aircrafts to India and dropping/losing bombs, closing its airspace, heightened security and convincing its citizens is an approximate $ 500 million.
This should not bring smiles. The cost for India is higher as the MiG-21 which crashed in Pakistan territory costs a whopping $25.1 million. Coordinated flights from different air bases far from the borders, stealth movements, closing of at least nine airports, detour for commercial planes because of closure of Pakistani air space, cost of sophisticated bombs and heightened security is double of what Pakistan would have spent.
Think. A trained pilot is injured and captured by the “enemy”. Good that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan decides to return him with dignity, notwithstanding some unsavoury comments. It showed jingoism could cost the sobriety of an international player.
This does not include the cost of losing a MI 17 copter, which was reportedly not on a “war” sortie and killed six IAF personnel and a civilian in J&K’s Budgaon. The copter itself costs $ 16-18 million to the US army. Certainly, lives are invaluable but the cost to families cannot be fathomed and the emotional loss to the nation can never be calculated.
Coming out of the womb of the Indian sub-continent or Bharat Mata both neighbours have tested that if one slaps, the other hits back with fisticuffs. The result? People lose and leaders rejoice. The rulers and Opposition feel happy as they shoot barbs at each other with the impending elections in mind.
The actual cost is heavier as former NDA Prime Minister Vajpayee started bus service and Samjhauta Express, trade and many “normals” are stopped. The cost of resumption, which might be sooner than later, would be higher as diplomats, security and civilian officials fly to each other’s territories for renegotiations and re-demarcations. Don’t forget it would also have a cost on the media as they also deploy their teams to start a “new normal”
This, at a time, when both neighbours are striving to keep afloat their economies as the GDP continues to plummet. Recall, India and Pakistan suffered more beyond the 1965 and 1971 battlefields vis-à-vis high inflation, famine deaths and other losses. The political costs were heavier for Pakistan’s Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi despite both being one of the finest leaders of the Indian sub-continent.
Pakistan did not calculate the cost of Bhutto’s 1000-year war cry. That led Islamabad into the trap of terrorists — first it promoted Khalistan, that bled itself along-with Indira Gandhi being assassinated. Then followed Islamic terror outfits which continues till date resulting in it disturbing world peace and leading to Afghanistan, Iraq and Arab wars. Clearly, Pakistan is responsible for troubled peace in Asia.
The inflicted cost for India, if the war continues, is estimated at a modest Rs 27 crores per hour, whereby a 1000 hours or 41.6 day war would cost New Delhi Rs 27,000 crores if it wins, though the actual military estimation would be far higher.
And after all such expenses, the target — arms, drugs, human traffickers and money launderers — would go unscathed as apparently the IAF bombings in Balakot in Pakistan has done. The reported 300 deaths heightened passions though the IAF has not vouched for it.
Importantly, a nation can neither thrive on passion nor emotion worsened by the unrestrained cacophony of under-trained TV channels and social media. According to an IIMC study on the 1999 Kargil war, a “patriotic” media conceals more.
Pertinently, 2014 was a watershed for Indian democracy. Aspirations were high even in the Kashmir valley despite a sulking Hurriyat. The decision of the BJP and regional PDP joining hands to form the Government raised hopes.
But these were belied as there was increased dependence on brute force and pellet guns. Non-negotiation was boasted as signal of strong governance. It was no different from what the Congress unfortunately did for long. People in the Valley were dismayed and Hurriyat once again was back on centre-stage. The nation had lost an opportunity of assimilating its own people.
That is the folly. Neither India nor Pakistan could come out of the 1947 failed mindset. Consequently, Mahatma Gandhi’s communal harmony, then a bold initiative against Jinnah’s two-religion-two-nation theory, did not succeed in the next seven decades. Jinnah’s own Pakistan was split as it was learnt the hard way that religion does not bind people.
Unfortunately against the basic concept of secular Hindu tolerance and assimilation, a “rabid” Hindu emerged. Non-Hindus became targets of distrust and today cow vigilantism is dividing the core Hindu rural farmers as stray cattle rummage their corps.
The nation assimilates. Outburst of emotions creates distance, if not divide, its people.
Hindus have the capacity to lead and make this nation a wonder of the world. They are good at heart and can take a lead to assimilate not only different religious denominations within but beyond borders, even in Pakistan. It is the land of Buddha, who had transformed large parts of Asia.
The Singham war must start the process of assimilating the people of the sub-continent or Akhand Bharat. That would be the real war beyond borders against the terror mafia.
Prime Minister Modi has dynamism. Used positively it can transform the sub-continent but for its success NaMo has to replace his advisers. Let there no more be a Singham war for the happiness and prosperity of the region. —- INFA