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Saturday, Aug 13, 2022
Outlook.com
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Never Again the Infamy of 1962

Never Again the Infamy of 1962
Never Again the Infamy of 1962
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+05:30

There have been a lot of patronising advice, from senior politicians in government, aided by senior Indian journalists for Indians to "get over it already" when it comes to the recent news of Chinese aggressive actions on the border. Shekhar Gupta for instance claims that the current public notice-taking of the events on the border amounts to "panic"  . He advises Indians that (a) we are now bigger and more powerful and so 1962, and the current incursions don't matter (b) it is wrong to be obsessed with defeat, since, well, see (a), we are now bigger and more powerful, etc.

It is not just China, however. Very similar rhetoric is unleashed by these same players when it comes to concerns about immediate attacks on the Indian people by Pakistan. Essentially, it is an argument for complacency, a complacency that reeks of an ardour to shirk the daunting task of dealing with the reality of defending India.

The contention of Indian government leaders and their media shills amounts to saying that self-confidence equals pretending that China is not a strategic and military threat, not taking serious note of portents, and not remembering the lessons of history. This concept of self-confidence they are advocating is not one shared, for instance, by America, beyond question the biggest, baddest, most powerful country ever. After the Japanese attacked and soundly thrashed America at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, America marshalled its then-limited capabilities to carry out a retaliatory raid on Japan (Doolittle's raid), and in less than four years' time, waged war and crushed Japan entirely. The US then emphasized the subjugation of Japan by raising it up from the ashes to be an economic giant, and an ally (read vassal) forever.

The American public consciousness has never forgotten, and never will forget the Pearl Harbor defeat. America has extremely close and friendly relations with its Japanese vassal, but Americans never fail to remind themselves that attack, and defeat are always a possibility. If not by Japan, then by someone else.

For that matter, it is a certainty that the Chinese make a point of reminding themselves of the small and large defeats and humiliations their country suffered, and vowing to never let it happen it again. This is how actually great nations attain and retain their preeminence. On the contrary, smug, self-satisfied, unprepared nations, like the Persian Empire,  have gone down to defeat and simply disappeared. When it comes to defence, a healthy dose of prudence and caution should be the foundation, not reckless complacency.

The smug and opaque rhetoric of political leaders, and the smarmy, condescending tone of senior journalists over the matter of  troubles with China can be pretty intimidating, even enough to suppress Indians' natural instinct to anticipate threats and protect their country and people. But this rhetoric is not founded on any identifiable human reality of national defence. For the Indian citizen, and potential victim of foreign aggression, there are two sides to be balanced in making up their minds: On the one side are politicians and hacks with no track record in anything but words, on the other are successful and powerful nations of the world, not to mention the people's own instincts on how to sense, anticipate, and respond to threats.

It is really a matter of national survival. Who would you rather take the lead from--your own natural instincts backed up by the record of successful, well-protected nations which know how to deal with those who attack them, or the empty-suit wiseacres who brought you the joys of November 26, 2008 and the dubious promise of Sharm-el-Sheikh?
 

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