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A borderline case

India and Pakistan can settle old disputes without a war, nuclear or otherwise. Here are a few options.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2011 23:34 IST

As with most things Pakistani, even a possible war with India has a schizophrenic quality to it. We heaved a sigh of relief when disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan spoke of how the two countries would never go to war thanks to the nuclear bombs he helped make and India’s capability on that front. Before you rush to the Wagah border for a thanksgiving candlelight vigil, let us inform you that war is not very far from the mind of the Pakistani establishment, the only problem being that it does not think it can win it. But, say the dear souls, the two could be in the trenches for at least 20 days before the Pakistanis would have to call it quits while the Indian lads could last about 45 days. Oh, now we get it, they are thinking of a conventional war.

What a letdown for the nuclear hawks on both sides whose eyes glow in the dark at the prospect of a little radioactivity. Even the no-first-use clause does little to deter them, confident as they are in the devastating efficacy of a second strike. If the lily-livered among you are going to start yammering on about the millions who may lose their lives, rest assured, say our experts, there are many more millions to go around. But we have a better idea on how we can settle things without having to get down and dirty.

We could start by sending across the most annoying people on both sides to each other. Thus, we could perhaps learn to count our own blessings. They could send us Asif Zardari for a chat on corruption with Anna Hazare. And we could send Baba Ramdev to Rawalpindi or Karachi where he could hold his breath until the Lashkar-e-Taiba agrees to declare its assets, material and otherwise. If all this doesn’t put us off from trying to conquer each other’s territory, nothing will. But given the choice between a nuclear war and the normal sort, we vote for a little dust-up any day.