21, Feb 2019 | Admiral L Ramdas (retd)
The tragic event of the suicide bomber attack on the convoy at Pulwama resulting in the deaths of 41 CRPF Jawans, is despicable and condemnable. A proper enquiry must identify the causes and the weaknesses and failures that have resulted in this tragedy.
On behaIf of my wife and myself, I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences to all those whose lives have been devastated in this terrorist attack. When viewed in the larger perspective, this tragedy affects the lives and the future of all citizens of this country, irrespective of their religion, community, caste or creed.
As someone who has worked for peace in the 25 years after my retirement as the Chief of the Naval Staff, I wish to emphasize that we as citizens need to be wary of the kind of jingoism and targeting of many innocents that this incident has triggered. All of us must do everything we can to contain this current spilling over of revengeful emotions into the mainstream especially during this critical period where elections are due shortly.
We as a people must emphasise – especially to our leadership – that any politicisation of this tragedy will only serve to fragment our fragile social fabric and weaken the Republic. It is the collective responsibility of our media, including social media, that the spirit of the Constitution of India is honoured and upheld. It is imperative that the situation should not be allowed to escalate into greater hostilities which it might not always be possible to contain.
I am appalled at the outcry for revenge and for going to war against Pakistan, and it is critical that those at the helm should not be swayed by these emotional demands. As one of the senior most military veterans today, I feel it is my duty to caution our leaders about the very real dangers of the present standoff resulting into war with our neighbor. This could quickly escalate to a very dangerous situation, given that both India and Pakistan are two nuclear armed countries. I regret that I am not with you all in person today – but express my total support of this initiative by so many organisations.
*Admiral L Ramdas, PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM, ADC served as Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy