It was a chance meeting in 2013 with one Lieutenant Colonel Sankalp Kumar in a defence institute library that understandably led us to an animated discussion on Pakistan, jihad,terror. One vividly recalled the gist of our conversation after seeing on television the body of that bright, young officer of the Indian army on the funeral pyre. Late Sankalp had put across some very simple and matter-of-fact questions, the answers to which I could perhaps dare suggest, but never pass on, to the Indian establishment headed by the popularly and jocularly termed "Delhi gang". This is a minority Indian elite group, constituting the "exclusive club members of aman ki asha" - a few establishment hand-picked peaceniks with deep-rooted Indo-Pakistan business interests (even at the cost of the unity and integrity of the Indian nation); the "legendary Lahore lovers" (for whom Lahore is the mid-point of the universe); the "guided" (should one say misguided?) tourists who swear by the "charm offensive" hosts serving biryani, gosht and kebabs of "exotic Lahori bazaars"; a few retired diplomats, handful of ex-generals and "club class" intellectuals - openly meeting Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks (and following it up with a press conference declaring how "fruitful" the meeting has been). All of them have the best of intentions, no doubt. But nobody has the wherewithals to implement the "lofty theory into lovely practice". Why? Because, for these well-intentioned Indians, 21st century is the era of "international interest", in which "national interest" at best comes as a footnote.
A few sample questions posed by the late soldier re-surfaces and crosses one's mind. "Sir, why do we not understand and analyse the psyche of the Pakistanis? Why is our establishment so namby-pamby and shy of planning and executing suitable counter-covert operations to nip the enemy in the bud? Why are we destroying the morale of our forces by tying their hands behind their back when Pakistani elements have penetrated deep into our soil? Why is our own government so pro-Pakistan when the whole world knows and avoids the terrorist State of Pakistan and the nationals thereof as potential terrorists? Are our leaders serving India or the enemy Pakistan?" There were some more penetrating analysis by the youngster which one rarely hears even from civil service officers dealing with the subject from the high tables of diplomacy in air-conditioned rooms. It transpired that the young officer had experienced bullet injuries and long hospitalization and that he did not mind facing the enemy in the battlefield once again.
Unfortunately, the true soldier that Sankalp was, he did not "face" the enemy in the battle field. Instead, he had to deal with the religious jihadists, allegedly recruited and trained by the Pakistan government-army-ISI-religious heads/fanatics combine to crush India. The true colours of Pakistan emerges through the utterances of Hafiz Saeed of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah on December 5, 2014: "Pakistan was not created to befriend India or to promote secularism. We created Pakistan for Shariat (Islamic rule). This is our destiny. We will continue supporting... our Muslim brothers... India is our enemy, not friend." What profound honesty and candour of the terror mastermind and hatemonger! In contrast, what a remarkable deaf-dumb and blind policy and lack of understanding and plan of action on the part of the government of India over the years! So much so that it is open knowledge that at least two pro-Pakistan prime ministers of India, wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly, destroyed the assets of the nation to counter the threat emanating from our western neighbourhood. A sizeable number of "elite" Indians also appear to suffer from a short memory owing to the fact that no government of India was either capable or competent enough to take sovereign decisions about its core national interests for 25 years (from 1989 to 2014) because of coalition politics in which the chariot of the State had too many horses pulling in different directions, with the chariot driver looking helpless and doing nothing other than maintaining his exalted seat. Consequently, irreparable damage has already been inflicted on the State, as can be seen from the posturings of a universally acknowledged terror-epicentre, Pakistan.