India carried out a cross-LoC surgical military strike on the night of 28 September destroying seven terrorist launch pads in Kel, Shardi, Bhimber and Lipa sectors- a few kilometres inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir killing dozens of militants. Commandos of the Indian Army with shoulder-fired flamethrowers and plastic explosives crossed the Line of Control in the early hours and caused extensive damage to these terrorist launch pads.
The surgical strikes were carried out in reprisal for the September 18 killings of Indian soldiers in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir. After the Uri incident, the nation was demanding militarily against Pakistan.
Had India not resorted to surgical strikes, Pakistan would have continued to take India for granted. While there is little to show that there has been any change in the mindset of Pakistan establishment, it does send the message that India will not hesitate to go the extra mile to nuetrailize the terrorists.
Pakistan’s response, on the other hand, is on expected lines. The country is in denial mode. The country and its partisan media have gone all out to rubbish India’s claim, saying there was no such attack. To prove its own version, Pakistan took a bunch of foreign journalists to the spot where such were carried out, albeit five days after the attack.
It is anyone’s guess whether five days are or are not enough to clear the debris.
There is little Pakistan can do. Accepting that Indian troops came into Pakistan occupied Kashmir will be tantamount to conceding that the country harbours the terrorists. Admittance of Indian strikes will put Pakistan in a situation where it will be difficult for the country not to respond militarily.
Since Pakistan has said that two of its soldiers were killed in LoC firings as to what the country refers the surgical strikes by India, questions will be asked whether the two Pakistani soldiers among those supporting the terrorists.
Expect retaliation from forces in Pakistan
There is no doubt that Pakistan will be using non-state actors to act against India after the surgical strikes. Expect more terrorist attacks on India as the Pakistan army and its intelligence wing ISI try to reclaim lost ground. It is in India’s interests that it should be ready for Pakistan’s response. India should re-evaluate its military options to counter the Pakistani strategy.
It is pertinent to note that the purpose of the surgical strikes was not just to kill the terrorists before they could infiltrate into India. It was also meant to warn Pakistan of the consequences of supporting anti-India terrorist groups and cross-border terrorism. If Pakistan continues to support the jihadists, India will be left with no other option but to retaliate with bigger force.
Here lies the danger of military escalation.
In India there is a clamour form some quarters for furnishing proof to counter Pakistan’s propaganda. However, it is not a viable proposition to share the evidence because doing so has the potential of jeopardising the security of the nation. It would reveal how the anti-terror operations are carried out by the Indian army.
Need for a well defined foreign policy
In the past, India has exhibited bizarre performance in international relations. In the 1971 war, India has won a splendid military victory that was sadly given away at Shimla.
It is high time that we should discard our defunct foreign policy. We have to take our place in global affairs. There is need to seek help from the international community to contain Pakistan’s sponsored infiltrations of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. It is necessary to corner Pakistan and isolate it diplomatically in which India has made credible progress. The collapse of the SAARC summit is a case in point. In India’s decision to boycott the SAAR, it was supported by the SAARC members. India should garner international support to isolate Pakistan and declare it a terrorist state. It has received support from several countries. There is a need to call Pakistan’s nuclear bluff. It is clear that some radical reforms in India’s international relations policy are urgently required. We need to assert in a mature manner. Ergo, a move on this direction is an absolute must.