FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The few options before India
Updated:May 5, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat must be under considerable pressure to deliver swift and suitable retribution for Pakistan Army’s ambush of two soldiers on the Indian side of the LoC in Poonch and then the barbarity and inhumanity of mutilating (read beheading) their bodies. Reason? His supersession of two Generals to the post of COAS was, according to the government, due to his wide experience of the LoC in Kashmir and superior acumen in counterinsurgency. The DGMO of the Indian Army conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart that such a dastardly and inhuman act is beyond any norms of civility and merits condemnation and response.
 
Incidentally, this is the nth time the Pakistan Army has done this, the last one being in October 2016 in Macchil sector, which was followed by an appropriate punitive response: massive direct fire and artillery assaults across the LoC, heavy shooting in Neelum valley, and an unconfirmed tit-for-tat for the Machchil mutilation. However indecent and callous, this trade in body parts across the LoC has gone on for decades. Only its frequency varying with the state of India-Pakistan relations with the Rawalpindi rogue army always being the initiator of the perfidy. Ram Madhav, the BJP point person in J&K’s analogy that all is fair in love and war on the government’s handling of the situation in the Valley was in sync with such activity on the LoC.
 
Over time, other pressures have begun to weigh on the first responders to such attacks — the Government and the Army. Public opinion and print, electronic, and social media, with TV gladiators including anchors spearheading the debate, have become oblivious to how they aggravate the crisis and arouse expectations on a response. This week, it was quite common to watch and listen to retired Generals, armchair strategists, and other cheerleaders talk about dismembering Pakistan, breaking up Balochistan, conquering PoK, suspending the Indus Water Treaty, and so on to punish Pakistan. With the well-paid usual suspects from Pakistan to bait them, the scenes became reminiscent of World Wrestling Federation matches. Among TV channels, all this comes in the garb of competitive patriotism alias TRP.
 
The imaginative scenarios created on TV are partly attributable to Manohar Parrikar, former Defence Minister’s periodic references “to use a terrorist to catch a terrorist” and Ajit Doval, NSA’s threats that if there was another Mumbai there would be no Balochistan fuelling the notion of illusory clandestine capabilities. Even without today’s TV noise and clutter, in 1999, following the hijack of IC 814 from Kathmandu to Kandahar, the round-the-clock protests and wailing of relatives shown on TV forced the government to succumb to the hijackers’ demand of releasing three Pakistani terrorists, including the now Chinese favourite Masood Azhar for the 100-plus Indian passengers.
 
Another reason for public outcry for revenge besides the media is the willy nilly lowering of thresholds and the narrowing red lines for reprisals.
 
For a country that did not respond to the attack on Parliament, Mumbai, and Pathankot, it suddenly woke up after 19 soldiers were killed — many accidentally by fire — in a fidayeen attack resulting in the first ever, rather modest surgical strikes across LoC and surprised everyone including Pakistan which denied the attacks. The surgical strikes had a limited, time-specific deterrent effect as the terrorist launchpads that were targeted have been relocated far deeper now. The space for additional strikes is also limited, especially when escalation and own casualties are key considerations. India is no Israel and Pakistan no Hamas or even Syria. There is no protocol for immediate retribution for ambush and mutilation except use of small arms and artillery fire assaults across LoC. India’s response to the current attack will be in the time-tested and traditional fashion at a ‘time and place of our choosing’. Raid on enemy posts, artillery assaults, and a shallow surgical strike are the limited menu of choices.
 
The legitimate question fathers, brothers, and friends of martyrs are asking is: How long will our soldiers be at the receiving end of Pakistan’s proxy war — a low-cost high gain strategy — for which, India has not found any antidote. The procession of coffins arriving at Palam will not end till the doctrine of denial and deterrence is in place. Denial is preventive and protective. Deterrence is through inflicting pain and punishment, their delivery mainly covert and deniable. It is time the political class spoke in one voice at least on national security instead of counting and comparing the beheadings in their tenure. Mr Modi should stop treating the defence portfolio as a stopgap ministry and instead of agonising, start acting.
 
DNA, May 5, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday received a telephone call from US Vice President Mike Pence who offered thanks for the rescue of an American hostage, her Canadian husband and three children, the Prime Minister's office said.
 
read-more
Ruskin Bond’s first novel ‘Room on the Roof’ describes in vivid detail how life in the hills around Dehradun used to be. Bond, who is based in Landour, Mussoorie, since 1963, captured the imagination of countless readers as he painted a picture of an era gone by.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
Braid-chopping incidents have added to the already piled up anxieties of Kashmiris. Once again they are out on the streets, to give vent to their anger. A few persons, believed to be braid-choppers were caught hold by irate mobs at various places. They were beaten to pulp.
 
read-more
The report delivered by Xi Jinping at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) declared that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and the CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan to develop China into a "great modern socialist country" by 2050.
 
read-more
The capture of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, by U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab troops this week is a crushing blow to the group.
 
read-more
In West Asia, the end of one war paves the way for the next. Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-styled Islamic State (IS), has fallen to a coalition of rebels, the Syrian Democratic Forces that is backed by the United States.
 
read-more
On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive