The terror attack on an Indian military base in Kashmir’s Uri district on Sunday, which killed 17 soldiers, is not only one of the worst of its kind in more than a decade in Indian Kashmir, but also an act of despicable cowardice.
The attack, in which four commando-style gunmen burst into the brigade headquarters in Uri, while most of the soldiers were sleeping or changing guard, deserves unequivocal condemnation from every corner of the international community — the world should unite to ensure that the perpetrators of such a crime are brought to justice as urgently as possible. It is also incumbent upon each and every country to condemn and combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations — for terror has neither any border nor ethnicity — and ensure that their fight against it remains effective with visible results.
As a response to such an attack, India has every right to defend its territorial integrity and take appropriate measures required to pursue justice and eradicate the menace of terrorism.
At the same time, this dastardly act should not derail the process of dialogue and incremental confidence-building measures that India seeks to undertake with its neighbours, including Pakistan.
The political rhetoric of avenging the attack, of seeking “a jaw for a tooth” for instance, only amplifies the sharply ratcheting tension between the nuclear neighbours and will not serve the peaceful interests of any state in the long run.
The need of the hour is to embrace dialogue with a tangible roadmap and milestones, along with restoring security and stability in Kashmir. Any long-term solution to all contentious bilateral issues can only be achieved by building mutual trust, measured diplomacy, sustained political dialogue and enhanced counter-terror cooperations, not any ad hoc muscular response or military escalation. It is essential for both India and Pakistan to recognise this.
It’s a sign of extreme maturity that the so-called peace bus that plies between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad continues to operate a day after the attack. Similar measures must be taken to enhance people’s confidence in mutual relations as well as their ability to carry on with lives and businesses in peace.
India must also investigate and rectify the serious lapses that allowed one of its most strategic security infrastructure to come under attack, and build a better bulwark of defence bases. Stability and peace are the essential components of progress and prosperity in the Indian sub-continent and it’s the duty of all countries in the region to carry out their responsibility.