India should not gloat over moderate tactical success
By Lt Gen Kamal Davar (retd)
The last three weeks may not have been historically momentous, as some in the establishment would like us to believe, but certainly India has been in the news, both within and globally, and more for good reasons. The reported surgical strikes conducted by India on September 29, 2016 at seven Pakistani terror-camp locations across the volatile Line of Control (LoC) changed the mood of the tion in one swift master-stroke.
That all political parties in India, cutting across party lines, unequivocally feted the Indian Army and the Modi government for this timely initiative to teach a perennially treacherous Pakistan a befitting lesson, showcased to the world Indian unity when confronted with a tiol challenge.
However, like any succulent dish, happy tidings have a sty habit of not lingering for long. With the euphoria of India’s ‘macho’ actions against a terror-exporting Pakistan gradually receding, the mood in India’s agitated political environment is back to its not-so-cordial normal.
Electronic media channels, turally looking for better TRPs, seemed to exacerbate the eterl political divide by pinning down some political parties with awkward and insolent questions on the parties’ sense of tiolism and their degree of support to the government, as if it is a quantifiable commodity.
Most political outfits seem to have walked into the media trap with the ruling party, the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP), chest-thumping themselves as the sole repository of fiery patriotism leaving other political dispensations in the country far behind in self-assessed jingoistic formulations. Anyway, the media does not direct tiol policies and hence it is time for the tion to leave behind the cacophony of proving one’s patriotism, introspect and seriously plan for the myriad challenges looming ahead.
India’s surgical strike targeting Pakistan over a frontage of 250 km across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir has sent a clear message to the state and non-state actors conglomerate in Pakistan that India’s patience must not be taken for granted. However, it is apparent, once again, that history has a bad habit of repeating itself as regards Pakistan is concerned. Terror activities inside the Kashmir Valley, once again, are increasing, with the Pakistanis and their terrorist protégés taking on the security forces, stching rifles from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police personnel besides committing arson at unprotected governmental buildings.
Pakistan has upped the ante along the Intertiol Border (IB) and LoC with unprovoked firings and multiple infiltration endeavours into J&K, before the onset of snow as happens each year. Their numerous sleeper cells would have been instructed to indulge in some sensatiol terror acts, not only in J&K but in the Indian hinterland, especially, in the current festival season and in areas where there are large public congregations.
With Pakistani mischief in full flow, India now needs to zealously implement some baby steps it pragmatically initiated recently. First and foremost, India must build up, with alacrity, its military muscle to thwart threats emating from a two half-front challenge (Chi, Pakistan and interl security), even collectively in a worst case scerio. Combat capabilities take very long to fructify, and, thus both the armed forces and the government need to address operatiol voids with the urgency it deserves.
Secondly, India must pursue relentlessly the diplomatic measures it has instituted recently with the global community and the UN to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. The singular way for Pakistan to be taught a lesson to live in a civilized way is for the many tions who fund Pakistan to survive to shut their fincial aid to it. In the current scerio, the US and other EU tions may do so whilst Chi and Saudi Arabia will ensure that Pakistan remains fincially solvent.
For Chi, its strategic game changer, mely, the Chi-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and development of the Gwadar port is only possible with Pakistan’s submission to the Chinese, and thus come what may, Chi’s support for Pakistan is etched in stone. That the CPEC runs through the “disputed territories” in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is hardly of consequence to a tion like Chi which scoffs at intertiolly accepted norms in statecraft.
Nevertheless, Pakistan’s consistent record in promoting terrorism across the world must prompt the intertiol community imposing economic sanctions against it. Diplomatic ostracisation of Pakistan by the world community must be endeavoured for with greater determition by India as done at the recently concluded BRICS-BIMSTEC meetings in Goa. (IANS)
(Lt. Gen. Kamal Davar (retd.) was the first Chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency and Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff. The views expressed are persol.)