A Half-disclosure Makes a Half-truth

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Indian Army went inside Myanmar to kill a group of terrorists. It was to avenge the killing of our soldiers a few days ago. As claimed variously, it was either a ‘hot pursuit’ or a ‘preemptive strike’ to nullify those terrorists who were responsible for such gruesome act. This piece of news was hurled at the general public accompanied by numerous tweets underscoring the macho character of the Indian government. Indian news channels and newspapers pushed further to create a high-voltage description of the fast-decision-cum-operational mechanism in the line of American encounter story of Osama Bin Laden inside Pakistani territory.

Who does not love his or her country? Which Indian will not be delighted over an achievement of Indian Army, small or big? Everybody will; of course, except those who do not believe in the idea of India.

We, Indians, are not new to patriotic feelings incited by the gallant deeds of our armed forces and tough decisions by our political leadership. We have seen it during Indo-Pak wars and skirmishes or during many fights against terrorists. Even the military setback in 1962 made our leadership cry and immortalised a Bollywood song. We crossed our border to rescue Pakistan slipping into anarchy in 1971, restored government in Maldives in 1988, and made efforts to bring peace in Sri Lanka during 1987-90. Good or bad, we did. Then we pushed Pakistan back into its bag during Kargil war while restraining ourselves to remain behind our border. And, 26/11 operation was played wide open with minute-by-minute and bullet-by-bullet accounts of what happened – even the RTI-loving Indians became worried of such a display of transparency. Somebody told that we were imitating Middle East style war by the USA with real-time media coverage.

On the other hand, it will not be wrong to say that many significant fights by our security forces could also have been covert operations inside or outside our country. But the recent armed operation in our Northeast frontier certainly turned interesting with Myanmar refusing to accept even the facts in spite of public announcement by India of a joint campaign, at least in the knowledge of Myanmar authority. Ultras could have the audacity of even challenging the very existence of such operation – perhaps the first of its kind, and also demanded proof. Social media ran full of photos that later traced to some past events creating immense confusion among Indian public. Why can Indian government not disclose the results of this military operation with dead bodies of terrorists, some proofs of operation inside Myanmar’s territories, and visuals of the destruction of those terrorist camps outside our border? Nobody is asking the government to disclose the technical aspects of operation or how it was executed.

Why can’t our government behave with adequate maturity? India could have persuaded Myanmar to come up with a joint statement – that would have been a real diplomatic achievement and confidence building measure with an indifferent neighbour though not confrontational – Myanmar is no Pakistan. And, if such understanding was not possible for whatever reason or there were difficulties in disclosing the proofs, we could have just kept quiet. Covert operations are not for chest thumping. Disclosing half of some story makes it half-truth.

Somebody told that we continue imitating the USA – doing half-disclosure, like they did in the case of Osama encounter. Like we got a Pakistani boat exploded near Gujarat coast recently. Anyway, like Osama’s death, if all these have happened, it is certainly something that we are proud of.

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