New Delhi: As Pakistan continues to play games with India, diplomatically and militarily, India truly has no business playing games in Pakistan, Cricket in this case. In fact, these anecdotal attempts at surrogate bonhomie are hampering the nonstop aggression that must be showered on our rogue neighbor.
Just as the NATO alliance and the Warsaw Pact signatories played the Cold War, post the 1940’s till the Berlin Wall demolition, India and Pakistan have been engaged in the Warm War ever since 1947. The episodes of open conflict have been coexisting with a nonstop pattern of non-state skirmishes and Kashmir being a showpiece theatre of attrition.
A proven failed state, clearly due to a famine of leadership and intent as well as a hypertensive army, uses us as an intermittent alibi for its dubious existence. This is a perverse strategy where trouble brewing on our shores gives them collective glee, in the notable absence of native developmental parameters.
But then, a section of ill-informed Indians still revel in the sporadic cultural exchanges across the border, with gushing stories of legendary hospitality and love. Thus, lamenting, about the elusive goalpost of peace and how astonishingly, the armies seem to be still at war. Such nauseating accounts of anecdotal bonhomie occasionally clog our social media bandwidth and Cricket is one of the culprits as well.
This is clearly a diabolical application of Soft Power by Pakistan, taking advantage of both core and pop culture commonness, suggesting that India is equally culpable for the perpetual thawing in relationships when clearly we have better things to do like growing GDP for instance. Each time a Babar Azam is seen hobnobbing with Virat Kohli, we reopen the chapter of reconciliation, in nostalgic surrogacy, repeated whenever some token Punjabis are permitted to revisit their abandoned homes in the other country.
Quite frankly, such moves are dangerous red herrings, deliberate emotional deviations allowing the Pakistani Military to plan their next wicked move. As a mature and advanced nation, with young demography increasingly less connected to Pre-Partition times, it’s time we see through this ruse and behave like a genuine Big Brother to an enemy state and the global references are many.
When Moscow hosted the 1980 Olympics the entire NATO block boycotted and this was reciprocated in 1984, during the LA edition. This, in spite of the Ping Pong diplomacy precedent from 1971, when two table tennis players apparently paved the way for President Nixon’s visit to China and the commencement of post-revolution diplomatic ties. The two Koreas are clear about their mutual enmity and in spite of sporadic cases of unified teams in foreign venues the ground rules of animosity are very clear.
History will testify to the recommendation that all cultural and sporting ties between India and Pakistan should be summarily suspended, except encounters on foreign shores, in tune with norms of global diplomacy and cohabitation. They should not be invited to India for the 2023 World Cup, truthfully tough luck for some fans, but India’s clout in the ICC, further enhanced by IPL, will be able to swing the unanimous participation of every other nation. From a psycho-demographic cricketing perspective, Afghanistan is a perfectly tailor-made Pakistan substitute, with passionate players brandishing fiery willows and unleashing mystical cherries.
It is necessary to reiterate the simple logic behind such a hard-line stance, from multiple perspectives. The Warm War theory proves that Pakistan is now an ‘active’ enemy state, with a strategic agenda to destabilize India, through overt and covert channels. Full-scale conflict is not a geopolitical or economic possibility for them else they would happily invite F-16s and not Shaheen Afridi to open the attack.
India needs to neutralize this country, in the medium term, through a combination of Hard Power diplomacy as well as other subversive measures, albeit limited in choice. So that in some conceivable future, they are either rendered non-grata or a puppet power aligned to us is established, however far-fetched it may sound. Our stature on the world stage is increasing dramatically, primarily due to economic clout, and PM Modi’s chiding of Putin and Macron’s appreciation thereafter, is sufficient evidence.
On Cricket, we should certainly not land in Islamabad and neither should they clear immigration in Delhi, the ICC and ACC will find their due solutions. It is vital for every Indian to believe that Pakistan is a full-fledged enemy state and that the intrigues of the Warm War continue to take many precious lives. So let’s stop these long-lost brother dynamics and treat the foe with due distance, and act like the proud and successful nation that we truly are.