A Befitting Reply to Pakistan

“Indian Army practices restraint. The day we lose our patience, we will answer Pakistan in their words, in their territory.”

-Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India (1998-2004)

After Parliament attack in 2001

 

The nation was boiling with anger after four heavily armed terrorists attacked the army camp on 18 September 2016 near the town of Uri in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. 19 soldiers were martyred, belonging to 10 Dogra and 6 Bihar Regiments, in this attack. What was more frustrating was that the soldiers were attacked in their sleep. Proofs regarding Pakistan’s involvement, submitted in the international community were once again refuted by them. Indians were now done condemning such cowardly attacks. The nation’s patience had run out due to Pakistan’s inaction in curbing the activities of terrorist organisations. It was a time for giving response to our neighbor; a response which could tell them as to why the Indian Army is amongst the strongest in the world. The Army Chief said that the reply will be given, but the army will reserve the right to respond “at the time and place of our own choosing”. And as Indian Army always remain true on its word, the response did not take a long-time to be given; and 11 days after this attack, Indian Army took revenge in their way.

The Indian Army planned a Surgical Strike inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) on 12.30am on 28-29 September. The strike went on for 4 hours and after 8 hours, the nation was informed about it by the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh at 12pm. While this reply infused pride among soldiers and citizens, Pakistan was shocked and taken aback. The Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef first accepted the strike, then condemned it and finally refused it (probably because of Army’s pressure). On a precautionary basis, villages along the Radcliffe Line were evacuated and the Army was ordered to stay on high alert. All the political parties have supported the government’s move.

The Commandos attacked the areas of Bhimbar, Tatapaani, Lipa and Kel at the same time, while the Army started firing along the LOC to divert the attention of Pakistan Army and terrorists. The Commandos were initially dropped by helicopters, in 5 teams (each with 20-25 commandos), who were wearing night-vision cameras for operation monitoring. Drones were used for video recording to be kept as a proof. Around 2.30am, after covering a swampy path of 2-3km consisting of landmines and rocks on foot, they reached the target area. The Commandos were equipped with back-up to help them securely reach the target spot. They had Tavor and M4 guns, Grenades, Smoke Grenades and Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL). These weapons are light and compact but are capable of heavy firing. The Commandos killed 38 terrorists, 9 soldiers from Pakistan Army, destroyed 7 militant training camps and returned to their camps after 2 hours at 4.30am.

Analysis:

  1. The strike was a well-planned mission. Sources report, that the strategy was being planned by the PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag in the PMO War-room, right after the Uri attacks. Intelligence details were collected, and analysis was done as to how Pakistan can retaliate to surgical strike. The process took 10 days to be planned.
  2. Though most people demand Indus Water Treaty to be scrapped, it is not an easy task. It is brokered by World Bank, so immediate scrapping is not possible for it may invite international ire. Moreover, building dams and reservoirs on the River Indus will take a minimum of 2-3 years, and thus is not a quick response.
  3. Nawaz Shareef is caught in a fix. If he does not retaliate, not only will he be overthrown by a military coup, but he would also face wrath of radicals and extremists. If he retaliates, it will start a full-scale war with India. Since, both India and Pakistan are Nuclear-powered nations, the UN and the US will pressurize Pakistan not to go with this option.
  4. India’s image of being a soft state has been broken. No one, not even Indian citizens expected the Army to cross LOC. This has given a clear message to the World; that besides diplomatic talks, India also has a military option open ahead of him.
  5. Surgical Operations have happened in past, but they have never been told to Indian citizens or the World. Through a press conference by the DGMO, India has told Pakistan, not to test its patience further. The World has been made aware of India’s military strength which was always considered a passive force.
  6. The Army is always aware of terror activities across the border. The attack is a part of its long-term strategy. Giving a free-hand to Army to take decisions has boosted the morale of soldiers.
  7. The strike has pacified the citizens, who always felt helpless when they saw soldiers being martyred. The need for a strong political leadership had always been wished by the citizens and PM Modi has responded affirmatively to it.

Way Ahead:

  1. India can reconsider its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status and scrapping of Ceasefire terms along LOC.
  2. Civil war may break-out in Pakistan. Baloch activists are already demanding independence from Pakistan. Apart from their operations getting a boost, Sindh and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) may also demand freedom.

The global isolation of Pakistan has gained momentum now. Indian Army is aware of the fact that they are fighting against a Nuclear-powered nation, thus their preparation is also done on the same lines. Pakistan can no more threaten India with Nuclear attacks. While the Army is ready on the military front, the Government has to remain prepared on the diplomatic front. Never in its history has Pakistan been cornered on all three levels: Strategic, Diplomatic and Military. With SAARC summit being boycotted by all the member nations due to Pakistan, and India getting global support on this surgical strike, we may hope that Pakistan will learn a lesson to put a full-stop on its home grown terror.

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