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A message needs to be conveyed to Pak

A message needs to be conveyed to Pak
Highlights

There is no doubt that lack of action to such a grave provocation like Pulwama terror attack on CRPF convoy would be seen as a sign of weakness...

There is no doubt that lack of action to such a grave provocation like Pulwama terror attack on CRPF convoy would be seen as a sign of weakness amongst the decision-makers in Pakistan. Both Kargil and the ‘surgical strike’ provide a model for a calibrated but sharp action from our part to stem the increasing lethality of cross-border terrorism.

Both these episodes caused major political and military turmoil in Pakistan leading, in first instance, to its pusillanimous climbdown and military coup and, in the second instance, to political instability and, eventually, the departure of the Prime Minister: the upshot, in both instances, was the weakening of national will, even if that was a temporary phenomenon. The other was its failed nuclear brinkmanship which it has been threatening to engage in during confrontations with India.

The reasons for this are international sympathy towards India’s kinetic action which opened the window for the latter to neutralise the pressure on it during the course of that action. A clear, publicly available evidence weakens the hand of the official ‘handlers’ of terrorists; both the political and the military leadership lose face even amongst the Pakistani public who are embarrassed at their country being perceived as a terrorist State.

A larger warlike intent against Pakistan, as a whole, has the effect of the broader public uniting behind its leadership, especially the Army, whereas the Indian interest is better served without it. Thus, the logic of both Kargil and the ‘surgical strike’ was limited military action in the border areas against terrorists’ movements/ launching pads but not aimed at the country’s existence as a whole.

The added advantage was the increasing concern and protests amongst the residents in the POK who felt, according to confirmed media reports, that they were the victims of cross-border terrorism. Given our stronger military presence on the LOC/international border, a message needs to be conveyed, on a constant basis, that any suspected militant movement across the border would invite devastating punishment on the Pakistani military post whose complicity would be taken as a given.

This pressure, on the military posts opposite, has to be constant and not episodic as was the case with the ‘surgical strike’ and any Pakistani military response to such a military posture on the Indian side has to be factored into this matrix.

Shobhan A, Hyderabad

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