Strong response to Pakistan is urgent
The recent killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistanis, irrespective of whether they were army regulars or non-state actors dressed in army fatigues, is highly condemnable, calling for severe action from India. The demand for a strong response from India is growing and rightly so, even as Pakistan continues to not only violate the ceasefire along the line of control, but also has a major hand in spawning cross-border terrorism.
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh in his address to the Nation has said for relations with Pakistan to improve, it is essential that they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity. He said that all possible steps will be taken to prevent incidents of the dastardly attack on our Jawans on the line of control with Pakistan.
While welcoming the Prime Minister’s statement, we believe that India’s response has to be indeed strong and on different fronts – diplomatic, trade and even military. Pakistan is a ‘failed state’ and it is keen on creating tensions not just on the Indian border but also in the mainland. Any peace and progress talks with Pakistan has to keep in mind the ground reality – how the neighbour has been covertly aiding cross-border terrorism. 26/11 is a grim reminder of that.
The international community is calling for resolving peacefully the hostilities, even though it knows that Pakistan is a ‘rogue state’ as Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch calls. In his forthright column, he has said the Indian Army needs to immediately review its counterinfiltration operating procedure on the LoC. In all likelihood commanders on ground are constrained by an overwhelming urge to look for signal from the brass before taking any tough step. They will have to revisit the old adage: what is militarily desirable is not necessarily politically correct. They must know that mixing political expediency with military action is suicidal. Only then Indian Army officers can regain the confidence of its men and thereby the Indian citizens.
India has the might to deal with any adverse situation. The armed forces are fighting fit and they are being equipped with the latest of equipment, technologies. As we write, we have the news of launch of Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC). The Defence Minister Antony while congratulating the effort has said that we must continue the process of strengthening indigenous capability towards securing our maritime interests.
Inducting the most modern equipment, whether indigenous or from overseas, is key, and this brings us to the current debate on the basic trainer aircraft (BTA). Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra mentions that the entire procurement process is handled by the Ministry of Defence with the support of the Air Headquarters and that the procurement procedures are followed meticulously in a transparent manner. Any insinuation of dilutions of specifications to favour a particular vendor or aircraft, are baseless and incorrect.
We need to move in the positive direction as we celebrate the 67th Independence Day.
Happy Independence Day !
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief