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Friday, 30 September 2016
HAS URI BEEN AVENGED
By Lt. Gen. JS Bajwa Published: 30th September 2016
As tactical military operations, these raids were an outstanding success. But a larger question remains.
India’s forces carried out a series of successful pre-emptive surgical strikes 3-5 km across the Line of Control (LC) on terrorist launch pads in the wee hours of the morning of 29th September 2016. The terrorists were planning to infiltrate and conduct Uri like operations in J&K and other metros. The Indian forces eliminated 38 terrorists and two Pakistani soldiers,injured nine, and extricated themselves without suffering any casualties. Without going into details, it is clear that the paratroopers were inducted by aircraft along the LoC, and mounted a surprise raid on the unsuspecting terrorists, As tactical military operations these raids were an outstanding success.
It is a sign of bold decision making at the highest political and military level, excellent actionable intelligence, meticulous planning, inter-service coordination of the highest order and finally raw guts and courage of the Indian soldier.
However the larger question is: has Uri been avenged? What about the many incidents before Uri? Are those all buried unsung and forgotten and Pakistan forgiven?
This operation was a success because the government had the leadership and political will to face the consequences. The military trains to be ready to execute any task against an enemy provided the government wants it to do so. Unfortunately the earlier dispensations at the Centre were not bold and decisive enough to take the harder option .
Each time India allowed an incident to be analysed for too long there was paralysis in the action. The lesson that Pakistan drew was that India will make a lot of noise, but there will be no concrete action taken. They also concluded that India would seek international help at the UN. So to hedge against that, Pakistan made itself indispensible to the US in its long drawn war in Afghanistan and endear itself to China, a wily practitioner of sophisticated statecraft. These measures adopted by Pakistan ensured it got away every time and the international community asked India to exercise restraint. India thus acquired the stigma of being a soft state.
Pakistan had also concluded that having crafted low yield nuclear weapons with the help of China it had blackmailed India into restraining it for reacting to terrorist actions inside India. Of late Pakistani military veterans had been brandishing most glibly and in a cavalier fashion the use of nuclear weapons against India.
These statements were always accompanied with a glint in the eye and a devious smirk. Is Pakistan prepared to use a nuclear weapon when a terrorist training camp or a launch pad or even a terrorist safe haven is targeted in a surgical strike? Why is the international community not able to restrain Pakistan? Why is the onus on India?
The reaction to the early morning raids has drawn the expected response from the political setup and Army of Pakistan. It threatens of suitable retaliation. India is prepared for that. Since India has targeted terrorist launch pads and not any military base or even a military post what Indian objective would Pakistan Army target under the criteria of ‘jus ad bellum’ a ‘just war’? Is it contemplating in despatching armed irregulars to target the Army? Or is it going to unleash its home grown terrorists on to the hapless public in a metro to take revenge? Or is it going to mobilise its military? In undertaking either of the first or second option it will be proved beyond any doubt that Pakistan employs irregulars and terrorists as a subset of its state policy. If Pakistan escalates with its military to another level Indian military would be prepared for it. India will have to be wary of China too as it now has its military involvement in POK and may not hesitate in intervening.
Here is a situation where the government is activating all the elements of national power. The military is prepared for any misadventure by Pakistani military or terrorist terrorists across the International Border and the LC. The government has activated the Ministry of External Affairs to present proof of Pakistan involvement in the terrorist actions including the terrorists captured in the hinterland in J&K who have laid bare Pakistani machinations.
Internally the Home Ministry is active in strengthening its border management and intelligence setup. India can also leverage its economic growth to convince nations that India would deal with only those who are sensitive to its concerns. The government has reached out to all parties to seek a national consensus. The synergy is palpable.
This incident has brought to fore two important issues governments at the Centre are wary of talking of - first, breaking up the state of J&K into three distinct entities of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; second, abrogating Article 370. The situation in the Kashmir Valley has held the Jammu and Ladakh regions hostage for too long and the last three months with no state government functional their plight is pathetic. Article 370 is a protective divisive legislation which should have no relevance in a free country. It is high time that the country takes a firm decision to stop treating J&K as a disputed territory. POK is the disputed part, and India should emphatically state so