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Friday, 7 October 2016

THOSE CRAVING FOR PROOF ARE MISGUIDED Friday, 07 October 2016 | Deepak Sinha The latest cross-border operation has demonstrated the importance of robust deterrence a trained and motivated military provides Suddenly, everybody wants proof of our successful raid on militants inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This is ironic since nobody expressed any concern when US President Barack Obama announced to the world that dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden had been eliminated. We never did see the body nor were videos on display. Yet the President’s word was proof enough. Suddenly, following an organised visit to the Line of Control under the aegis of Pakistan Army, respected international media outlets have begun questioning the authenticity of what the Indian Director-General, Military Operations, announced publicly. In all honesty, it really is quite irrelevant whether the international media or anybody else disbelieves our military, for even if they did know the truth, how would it actually make a difference? Those at the receiving end, the Pakistan Army and the jihadi groups, are quite conversant with what really happened, and that is the only thing which matters. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, and the recipients have been fed adequate quantities at this time. As for our politicians who decided to jump on to this bandwagon, Napoleon Bonaparte may just as well have been talking about them when he said, “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” There should be little doubt that the Government must not succumb to any kind of pressure and release footage of the raid that, as is clear, will assist the Pakistan military in future. While on the subject of politicians, let us also be clear that neither the Congress nor the BJP carried out the surgical strikes, either recently or in the past, as they so glibly claim. It was our Armed Forces that did so and at great risk to themselves, receiving little credit for their acts. It is unlikely politicians would have accepted responsibility for their directions if any of these operations had gone wrong. Politicians being politicians, regardless of ideology or party affiliation, they will always attempt to steal the thunder in the vain hope that it may win a few seats and help them hang on to their chairs for a few more years. As for the military, it is well aware of the duplicity of politicians — the One Rank One Pension and the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) are just the latest examples. While in this particular instance, given the circumstances, the Government did well to publicly accept responsibility of having conducted these raids, it would do well to follow earlier precedent and keep such actions in future under wraps. We would also do well to remember that old adage that ‘a single swallow does not a summer make’. Most would agree that it would be foolish to conclude that an odd cross-border operation will in any way change the manner in which Pakistan fuels the terror modules in Kashmir, however well- coordinated and synchronous it may have been. It will certainly require sustained and focussed effort to defeat Pakistan in this sub-conventional conflict, given the extent of its experience in the field and the success it has achieved. If one important lesson can be drawn from this operation, it would be the manner in which our National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) played a pivotal part in providing real-time intelligence to our special operatives. It may be worth recalling that the NTRO was established after the Kargil conflict and is one of the few lessons of that war that has been successfully implemented. The Government must now implement the other important lessons that emerged from that conflict as well. The important lessons that need implementation on priority are the establishment of a Chief of Defence Staff with the requisite authority needed to implement tri-Service plans; the establishment of tri-services theatre commands; the setting up of other specialised commands such as for Special Operations and Cyber. The Government must also re-look at the downgradation of our forces that has been affected with the implementation of the 7th CPC and take urgent action to resolve the anomalies that have been raised by the Service Chiefs, in a just manner. At the end of the day, the latest cross-border operation has once again clearly demonstrated the importance of a robust deterrence that a well-trained and motivated military provides. One is fairly certain that, despite their reluctance to trust our military, every politician worth his salt understands that truism.

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