Hot pursuit

Hot pursuit

The Indian Army operations inside Myanmar territory to flush out terrorists have raked up a huge diplomatic debate. The Myanmar authorities were informed only

The Indian Army operations inside Myanmar territory to flush out terrorists have raked up a huge diplomatic debate. The Myanmar authorities were informed only after the operations had begun. Strategic experts speculate whether this signals a paradigm shift in India’s security doctrine. BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao called the operation a reflection of political will of Narendra Modi to make it clear that India is not a soft state.

He further went on to describe the operation as a warning to those who are perpetrating terror on the Indian soil. Such a surgical strike by a country crossing the Line of Actual Control is called hot pursuit. While in opposition, the BJP has demanded for a hot pursuit against Pakistani-sponsored terror groups hiding in Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK).

Such a demand has also come from the hawkish sections of strategic community with a greater force after the US operation that killed Osama right inside the territory of Pakistan. The latest operation in Myanmar thus assumes significance. Pakistan predictably considers the change in the strategy of India as a threat. But a copy-cat reaction is not so easy in regard to Pakistan.

Whatever may be the political rhetoric, the situation in regard to Myanmar and Pakistan is qualitatively different. Wishing away these geo-political realities may prove to be counter-productive for India. Myanmar is not a hostile neighbour. Unlike Pakistan, Myanmar has no direct interests in inciting insurgency on Indian soil. It may be recalled here that India conducted joint operations with Bhutan to flush out Assam ultras from the latter’s territory, though it was not a hot pursuit.

Pakistan has been indulging in cross border terrorism to destabilise India. The Pakistani ruling establishment wants India to bleed. Export of terror has been the characteristic of Pakistani foreign policy. Pakistan refuses to reconcile with the irreversible fact that Kashmir is an integral part of India and its accession is final. This is precisely the reason why in the eventuality of a hot pursuit from India, the reaction from Pakistan would not be as muted as that of Myanmar.

Pakistan is a nuclear neighbour. Any articulation of even a cold start may invite a panic reaction from this hawkish and hostile neighbour. While India is a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology which was even acknowledged by the US in its nuclear deal with India, Pakistan is a rogue state possessing equally lethal weaponry.

Even the world will not be a passive spectator to any nuclear flash point in South Asia. The US and China have a strong military relationship with Pakistan. Despite being the breeding ground for terrorism, US chose Islamabad as a frontline ally in its so-called global war on terror.

These strategic factors should make India wary of any proactive action that would escalate the tension on the sensitive border known for intermittent skirmishes. Thus, the political leadership of India should not be oblivious to strategic dimensions of any possible action, while evolving any military response to cross border insurgency.

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