If in the world one needs to locate a string of pearls and a ring of fire at the same point, it has to be, without any doubt, India.
For almost the last six decades or so, our neighbours have been attacking us on all fronts and as a nation we have been consistently acting as a sitting duck. It’s obviously a matter of immense pride that India, in its history of existence, has neither invaded any foreign land nor attacked any nation with an intention of occupying foreign territory.
But then, against such a strong principle, a country also needs to develop similar strong counter-principles. It should have had a mandate that it should be treated the way it treats others. This is where we have fallen flat.
On the one hand, we do everything possible to make sure that we respect geographical borders; on the other, we have failed to sprinkle the same feeling among others... and this happened probably due to the lack of our own political will. This is where and when our neighbours, who are eyeing our sovereign land since decades, encroached upon our lands.
There is no point digging into the past and writing about the acts of atrocities by our neighbours since years and the number of jawans killed in the process and the number of civilians who die every year and the loss of property as an aftermath and the feeling of insecurity that gets installed in the society as a result.
In the last couple of months, almost all possible fronts of defense were broken, or I should say, insulted. I have written repeatedly in my previous editorials how China habitually, strategically and illegally enters foreign lands and eventually adds those encroachments to their map.
Reiterating the same modus operandi, China has already stepped inside our territory and has installed army camps and a military base too, which was realised and acknowledged by our ‘sleeper-cell’ ministry weeks after the event. But then, what comes as a shocker is the recent move by the Chinese army.
A week and a half ago, troops from the Chinese PLA (People's Liberation Army), after illegally occupying a large chunk of our land and illegally setting up a military camp, even prevented the Indian Army from patrolling along the Indian border, a border which is within our territory.
PLA troops came with heavily armed vehicles and displayed a banner stating that the land was theirs, and thus stopped the Indian army from patrolling (in the Ladakh region) in the area surrounding two posts.
Unlike our system, which leads to such demeaning results, the PLA has also built an observation post to keep an eye on the movements of Indian army.
In the same period, running parallel in time on another front, five Indian soldiers were killed just before Pakistani troops attacked an Indian post along the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K's Poonch district.
Furthering their acts of violations, Pakistani troops again, like always, violated the ceasefire and fired around 7000 rounds of ammunition and mortar shells for 7 long hours without getting exhausted.
Such long attacks not only require enough armoury and supplies, but above all, a proper attack plan. What is most interesting is that such incidents, wherein the involvement of the Pakistani army is blatantly denied by the Pakistani government, always coincide with important national events of India.
Like I said before, I have also written on Pakistan's many other ceasefire violations, including their army's blatant beheading of two Indian jawans in January this year.
On the third front, inhumanity was at its new peak. This time, it was the turn of BSF officers. The BSF is becoming a victim of smugglers along the Indo-Bangladesh border. In the past, there has been a lot of accusations on BSF jawans of torturing Bangladeshi for many reasons.
But fate took a U-turn when recently, on August 5, 2013, sub inspector Rajender Singh died after being brutally assaulted by cattle-smugglers along the Indo-Bangladesh border. And completing the circle, Sri Lanka has reportedly killed several Tamil fishermen over the years with many cases getting revealed this year too.
A quick glance through the series of events on the four fronts would make the big picture vivid. From a bird's eye-view, both the string of pearls and the ring of fire would get revealed.
On our Independence Day, when gallantry awards would be presented to various brave soldiers and many other martyrs would be honoured, the big question of sacrificing our soldiers on account of lack of political will would again get swept under the carpet.
It’s high time we get rid of the ring of fire before it starts burning the hinterlands and breaking the string of pearls, which is almost on verge of suffocating the political and social harmony of the nation. Or else, gradually all such honours and awards would lose their essence and the deaths of soldiers across the border would be seen as more of political collateral damage than martyrdom.
-- The author is a Management Guru and Honorary Director of IIPM Think tank