ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Frothing at the Mouth

Television news is fast becoming the most dangerous extremist in India's civil society.

The past week and more has witnessed a rising chorus of increasingly strident and, at the same time, confused demands on the Government of India to take strong measures against Pakistan for its act of killing and mutilating two soldiers at the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu. The act itself was gruesome and a deliberate escalation by the Pakistan army of the low level war of attrition which has never entirely ceased on the LoC despite the ceasefire. Reports in newspapers have shown that even though the ceasefire agreement has led to a big reduction in hostilities on the LoC and allowed civilians much greater space to live and work, both the Indian and Pakistani armies have been guilty of various breaches to this agreement.

Despite its many cases of omission and commission in the manner of dealing with Pakistan, the Government of India has taken some steps over the past two years which are positive and have helped normalise relations. Much more could have been done and still needs to be done; however, the direction of relations between these two countries has been encouraging even if the pace has not been so. The recent decision to host the Pakistan cricket team in India, the decision to ease visa restrictions on the elderly and expanding trade have all been important measures that will help normalise relations, reduce the militarisation of the border, and foster democratic and progressive forces in both countries. It is important to remember that India-Pakistan relations are not merely those between two sovereign states, they are swayed by tortured histories of communalism, partition, sense-of-betrayal and jealousy. They are not just foreign relations but have an impact on domestic politics as well in ways which are unique, and often dangerous.

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