Delhi drums up

For­eign secy briefs en­voys of var­i­ous coun­tries about the op; diplo­mats abroad will spread the word too

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - NATION - Jayanth Ja­cob

NEW DELHI: In­dia on Thurs­day reached out to the global com­mu­nity to build opin­ion in sup­port of its “pre­cise op­er­a­tion” across the Line of Con­trol and also to con­vey the mes­sage that cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism con­tin­ues to hurt the coun­try.

For­eign sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar launched the diplo­matic of­fen­sive, brief­ing en­voys posted in New Delhi about the “counter-ter­ror­ism” strike as well as the state of play in In­di­apak­istan ties.

The brief­ing came within hours of the In­dian Army’s an­nounce­ment that it had crossed the LOC early on Thurs­day and in­flicted heavy dam­age on seven “launch­pads” mil­i­tants were pre­par­ing to use to cross over into the coun­try.

The raid across the LOC came 11 days af­ter 18 sol­diers were killed when sus­pected Pak­istani sui­cide at­tack­ers struck an army camp in Uri in Kash­mir.

Shankar, briefed en­voys of 25 coun­tries, in­clud­ing those from Rus­sia, the US, China, UK France, Ja­pan, Germany and Saudi Ara­bia, sources said.

The govern­ment was of the opin­ion the strikes were based on “ir­refutable ev­i­dence and logic”, source said. It was not di­rected against Pak­istan mil­i­tary nor did In­dia have an in­ten­tion to es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion, sources said.

Of­fi­cials say these are con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ments that make New Delhi’s case — for both isolating Pak­istan and mak­ing the world un­der­stand how In­dia is the target of cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism.

In­dian am­bas­sadors have been asked to reach out to their host coun­try gov­ern­ments on Pak­istan con­tin­u­ous sup­port for ter­ror­ism and sur­gi­cal op­er­a­tion In­dia un­der­took based on “ac­tion­able in­tel­li­gence against ter­ror­ists”, sources told HT.

“We con­ducted a coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tion di­rected at the launch-pads of ter­ror­ists wait­ing to sneak into In­dia. It was based on ac­tion­able in­tel­li­gence and target was not Pak­istan army,” ex­plained an of­fi­cial.

He said tar­get­ing ter­ror­ists who were out to wreak havoc in In­dia was some­thing ev­ery coun­try would sup­port. “We did the op­er­a­tion and said it was a one-off strike. Pak­istan termed it as a cross-bor­der fir­ing in­ci­dent,” the of­fi­cial said.

In­dia’s direc­tor gen­eral of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions had briefed his Pak­istan coun­ter­part about the counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tion. The mat­ter should rest there, he said.

Ex­perts seem to be in agree­ment with this view. “It was a very mea­sured re­sponse from In­dia in ex­er­cis­ing the mil­i­tary op­tion. It was a cal­i­brated ap­proach. The target was ter­ror­ists wait­ing to in­fil­trate into In­dia and not Pak­istan army,” for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary Lalit Mans­ingh said.

“But the mes­sage was clear: In­dia can in­flict pain and hurt if Pak­istan con­tin­ues to bleed In­dia with cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism. That was the larger and mes­sage sent out through the strike.”

The Modi govern­ment was un­der im­mense pres­sure to hit back af­ter Uri at­tack, which had caused wide­spread anger.

For­mer diplo­mat MK Bhadraku­mar agreed with Mans­ingh but called for cau­tion. The In­dian state­ment about the sur­gi­cal strike was very bal­anced and re­strained but was not be­ing in­ter­preted in the right sense.

“We will do bet­ter with­out the war hys­te­ria be­ing whipped up. There are no win­ners or losers in a war between two nu­clear armed coun­tries,” he said.

The strike was a coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tion in na­ture based on spe­cific in­tel­li­gence. “That’s what the of­fi­cial state­ment says. And it hap­pened along the LOC,” Bhadraku­mar said.

The govern­ment now should en­sure peace in the Kash­mir Val­ley. “When peace re­turns to the Val­ley, no ter­ror­ists can make use of the sit­u­a­tion to meet his evil ends,” he said.

PTI

Res­i­dents of bor­der vil­lages near At­tari were moved to safer lo­ca­tions as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure on Thurs­day.

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