KUDOS ARE indeed due to the Indian Army for the successful surgical strikes carried out across the LOC during the 28-29 night in which as many as seven terrorist launch pads were destroyed with large number of enemy casualties. The ghastly unprovoked attack September 18 on the 12th Brigade HQ at Uri in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed finally broke the dam of India’s ‘Strategic Restraint’ with the entire nation’s anger pouring out like boiling water. However, in spite of Media, spearheaded by the highly vocal TV channels screaming their heads off, it goes to the credit of the entire Indian Establishment especially the PMO and the Armed Forces, which, after carefully evaluating the situation, came up with a decisive but measured response to mete out the punishment its belligerent western neighbour truly deserved.
While it is really immaterial as to the number of casualties inflicted to the enemy (estimates range from 38 to 48), what is of greatest significance is that a firm politico/military statement has been made to Pakistan, that its acts of terrorism against India will no longer be tolerated and that it would have to pay a heavy price for such misadventures in the future.
Still reeling in a state of bewilderment, a flummoxed Pakistan so far is responding incoherently with its statements oscillating between the usual ‘denial mode’ to outright nuking India. But, while Pakistan dare not attack India in an open war at this stage, the moot point is; will this punitive action be also sufficient to move Pakistan away from its policy of “Bleed India with thousand cuts” through its unending acts of cross-border terrorism. The answer to that would have to be an emphatic NO. The likes of Hafiz Saeed, head of JuD(and co-founder of LeT) are already going hysterical with threats of showing India “what real surgical strike would look like” and so on.
India has to face the reality that as a senseless neighbour, Pakistan cannot be made to see the futility of continuing with its terror policies that are not only dangerous for India and the rest of the world but would also prove to be perilous in the long run to its own existence. India must understand that Pakistan really consists of three entities – its people, its politicians and its army. People in Pakistan’s pseudo-democracy have no say whatsoever, while politicians are totally subservient to the Army Generals who actually rule the roost in that country. That Pakistan will continue with its nefarious acts of cross-border terrorism should therefore be a foregone conclusion.
In the light of the above, it should be clear that India needs a long term strategy to deal with terrorist Pakistan and that; its strategy should now turn to be proactive rather than stay in the traditional reactive mode should also be abundantly clear.
Reactions from the world’s capitals, happenings in the UNGA and, most SAARC nations backing out of the Islamabad Summit proved that on the diplomatic front, India was able to effectively corner Pakistan after the Uri incident, but keeping in view geopolitical realities India must also realise that continuous diplomatic isolation of Pakistan may not be possible. However, India must stand firm on its policy of “Talks and Guns cannot go together”. India should resort to only what is correct and formal in its diplomatic relations, without showing any big brotherly benevolence towards Pakistan. For example, India should fully derive the benefits that are its due in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) and reactivate all the stalled water storage and hydel power schemes that can be undertaken within the IWT’s purview. In addition, it should continue with its proactive stance to expose Pakistan’s underbelly in terms of its human rights violation record.
On the economic front, India should appropriately reciprocate Pakistan’s negative attitude by quietly burying its MFN status and looking for alternate ways to conduct economic activities with Afghanistan/CAR countries. Development of Chabahar port should be accelerated with attendant infrastructure buildup to also ensure transportation of energy resources through land/sea routes bypassing Pakistan in toto.
But, most importantly, it is on the military capability front where India needs to invest exponentially to remove deficiencies that have piled up over the decades. To begin with India needs to make its sea/air/land borders impregnable with high-tech sensors to maximise prevention of cross-border intrusions. Its armed forces are hankering for modernisation as their weapons and combat support equipment become obsolete and irrelevant for modern day warfare.
In the final analysis, India needs to chalk up a long term strategy to continue building its military strength along with its growing economy to such an extent that its economically weak neighbour to the West – unless it mends its terrorists ways – collapses or implodes on its own in its effort to keep pace with India. Needless to say, as an offshoot, this strategy will also provide India much needed strategic parity with its bigger neighbour to the North.
On the military front India needs to invest exponentially to remove deficiencies