India Strategic - - CONTENTS - – Air Mar­shal VK Jimmy Bhatia (Retd)

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

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