‘Israel-type retaliatory action not for India’

January 1st, 2009 - 5:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Despite mounting outrage over Pakistan’s inaction against those who perpetrated the Mumbai terror rampage — that provoked many in India to call for punitive military action — the Indian government and experts have repudiated calls for Israel-like air strikes saying such an “impractical” move could be counterproductive. “We have strongly criticised that attack and we have urged Israel to stop those attacks,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters here Wednesday.

“So that incident or that event, (Israeli air strikes) we cannot draw any lessons for the way we deal with Pakistan,” Chidamabaram said when asked whether New Delhi has drawn lessons from Israeli airstrikes.

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma also ruled out any military action against Islamabad and argued that India was a mature democracy and military strikes did not make any sense when diplomatic channels were available to make Pakistan fall in line.

“Answering through military action is not child’s play when we are a part of a globalised world. We want to resolve all our differences in a peaceful manner. Nevertheless, our security agencies are capable enough to meet any eventuality,” Sharma told reporters in Chandigarh Wednesday.

The government’s view is being reinforced by seasoned diplomats and Pakistan experts.

“India simply can’t do an Israel-like operation because the situations are radically different. It’s impractical. In the case of Israel, they are attacking a defenceless population with no comparable military might,” G. Parthasarathy, India’s former ambassador to Pakistan, told IANS.

“On the other hand, India is dealing with a country with a well-organised military machine and nuclear weapons,” the former envoy said.

India’s response to cross-border terrorism stands out in stark contrast to Israel’s military action against Hamas militia in Palestine. India can’t afford to go the Israel way as it will alienate large sections of international opinion that are wary of unilateral adventurism, pointed out a diplomat who did not wish to be named.

However, there is a growing popular clamour to bring Pakistan to account with ordinary citizens writing angry letters in the newspapers and airing their outrage in numerous TV talk shows and internet blogs.

With this popular outrage as a backdrop, the Indian government is asking the international community to intensify pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the “anti-India terror machine” in that country. India has also indicated to influential global players that Pakistan’s continuing denial and inaction may compel it to take extreme step, said diplomatic sources.

India has strongly condemned “unwarranted use of force” by Israel in the Gaza Strip and that has killed over 300 Palestinians, including many civilians, and asked Tel Aviv to observe “utmost restraint”.

Amid a growing chorus of global outrage, Israel has rejected any truce with Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip before cross-border rocket fire ceased and said its air strikes heralded “long weeks of military action”.

More than 350 people have died and more than 800 wounded since Israel launched its attacks Saturday.

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