Road ahead in times of terrorism and conflict

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A former National Security Advisor (NSA), an ex-commanding-in-chief of Indian Army, a retired Chief of Air Staff and a civil-servant-turned-politician from the Valley came together on the second day of India Today Conclave 2019 to discuss “What’s Next?”, an extremely critical question that arises over India Pakistan relationship after Pulwama attack and the subsequent events.

“What happens next depends on a number of factors. Firstly what is Pakistan’s reaction after the air strikes and the return of our POW? What is their intention in the short term and long term?” said Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, former Chief of Air Staff as opening remarks at the session, ‘#PulwamaAttacks: Before&After. A sober assessment of Kashmir, Pakistan and a possible route maps for India.’

“If India is provoked again and if we have a lucrative target backed with intelligence we will hit the target but don’t want to hit civilians in that”, he added.

Former Commanding-in-Chief, Indian Army, General Deependra Singh Hooda said, “You need to have a consistent policy approach towards Pakistan. The Indian government’s reaction has been strong, more consistent, diplomatic. A longterm consistent policy will pay dividends.” Former NSA, Shivshankar Menon agreed with General Hooda and said that India needs to focus on a long-term approach to contain Pakistan.

“There are at least five Pakistans that exist. They are: the civil society, Pakistan’s business community, civilian politicians, the Pakistan military and the Jihadi elements. We do not have any problem with the first three. The problem rests with the remaining two,” said Menon who also served as India’s Foreign Secretary.

“If you have just one policy for all, you end up throwing the first three into the arms of the other two,” he said.

IAS topper-turned-politician, Shah Faesal shared an emotional account of how Kashmiris suffer amid hostilities between India and Pakistan and why war was not a solution to the long-lasting problem.

“The last fortnight has been a horrific time for all of us,” said Faesal, who resigned from the civil service in January and announced he will join politics.

“There has been a war playing in our lives for the last 30 years,” Shah Faesal said. “And every morning, when my kid goes to school, my wife tells me that we don’t know [whether he will] come back. This war plays every evening in my house when my mom looks at the portrait of my dead father, who lost his life in this conflict.”

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