Throwing caution to the winds

Throwing caution to the winds

The surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army across the LoC well into the Pak Occupied Kashmir to eliminate terror groups seems to have...

The surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army across the LoC well into the Pak Occupied Kashmir to eliminate terror groups seems to have affected the morale of the politicians on both sides of the border.

Those grappling with the strikes in seeking a response to the changed Indian stance from 'defence to offense' are still in the process of adding substance to their verbal warfare against the Indian government.

The Congress party in particular is all at sea in calibrating its political slugfest with the BJP riding high on the strike ever since.

Unfortunately for the party, its claims that army had resorted to surgical strikes even during their regime, found no takers. Its spokespersons including veteran Kapil Sibal pointed out that the LoC had been crossed by the Indian Army in the 1965 and 1971 wars and during Kargil conflict.

Kapil Sibal has probably forgotten that those were war times. Kargil conflict happened inside our territory when the non-state actors were pushed into our mountain region and they occupied our peaks. They were all pushed back.

Whether the BJP is trying to reap political dividends is another matter. Which political party does not seek to glorify such actions in its favour? What happened after the 1971 war? Was not Indira hailed as 'Durga Maata'?

If Rahul Gandhi's take on the present surgical strike is right, then could it be said that the Congress was doing "dalaali' post-1971 war? Did the Congress leadership resort to the act of "khoon ke peeche chupna"?

Perhaps, politics and decency never go hand in hand. Mani Shankar Aiyar, another Congress stalwart, immediately sprang to the defence of the Pakistanis after the strike putting forth the latter's argument. He did not doubt the surgical strike itself as Arvind Kejriwal attempted to do and as Sanjay Nirupam had done in asking Modi to provide proof.

He said "I have little doubt in my mind that we did indeed undertake a series of surgical strikes during the early hours of 29 September. I have no doubt, however, that this is not the first surgical strike we have undertaken.

At least since 2008 - and possibly earlier - the military have been left to take such action as they deem appropriate along the Line of Control or LoC. Repeatedly, therefore, almost year after year, the Indian Army has resorted to such strikes"

Then he goes on to add "ever since the LoC was established decades ago, it has been left to the military to determine locally how best to respond to Pakistani provocations along (but not far across) the LoC.

The surgical strikes undertaken by the Indian Army in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013 were in keeping with these standing instructions. It would seem the Pakistanis decided to so treat the September 29, 2016, surgical strikes as there have been precedents for such strikes that went officially unacknowledged on both sides of the LoC.

It was Modi's government that has decided to project the current round of "surgical strikes" as proof of the "strong action" the BJP pledged through Modi during the 2104 elections, and has asserted repeatedly since.”
If the Pakistani media lapped up all these to turn down the Indian claim of surgical strikes, it is understandable.

They don't need their politicians or generals to claim anything that suits them. Our own politicians are their best friends. Even those Pakistanis who have gone on air against the Indian government have not been so effective as the Opposition leaders in our country.

Here is Aiyar's brilliance at display once again when he says " possible reason the Pakistanis decided to play it cool was that on the morning after the strike, and before informing the general Indian public, our Director General of Military Operations or DGMO had called his Pakistani counterpart and reportedly assured him that this was a one-off strike and not a precursor to a barrage of strikes.

The Pakistanis might therefore have decided that instead of making a song and dance about such strikes, for which there were precedents going back at least eight years, they would take their time to determine how to prepare their response - and so, for the present, to dismiss our strikes as flea-bites.”

For the Congress party, there were no terror launch pads too because there was no "sophisticated never-centre controlling operations in the structures our forces blasted off during the strike. The shacks and buildings and structures used by the terrorists 'to rest and grab a bite to eat and get some water to drink before they cross the LoC are mere itinerant shepherd's huts, easily destroyed and easily reconstructed".

Hence they definitely are not 'terrorist camps," Aiyar argues on behalf of the Congress. Well, perhaps there are no terrorists too in the eyes of Aiyar. It is ironical that our politicians never unite even under such circumstances.

Why is the Congress so rattled now? After all, Rahul Gandhi himself congratulated the Armed Forces as well as Modi initially. What should have changed his stance - from a matured compliment to the latest juvenile "dalaali' comment?

The party seems to have realised that post-Uri attack developments are turning the public mood in the country in favour of the BJP. The country has been so fed up with the terror attacks that, the one-off operation against the terror camps or "push-points or launch pads" as the DGMO described, has been lapped up.

A few ultra-nationalist anchors of some channels drummed up people's support to the government so much so that, the Congress leadership began to worry over its own fate just as that of the AAP. Hence, they began to look for loopholes in the claim forgetting the fact that the press conference to announce the surgical strikes has been held by the Army and not the government. The success of the Indian forces after the surgical strikes too continued to keep the limelight focused on the operations against terror from across the border.

The 26-day yatra of Rahul Gandhi undertaken in poll-bound UP simply vanished from the radar of the media. Apart from the initial couple of days coverage given to the yatra, neither Rahul has been seen anywhere nor heard. People had forgotten everything else in the face of the 24/7 coverage of the LoC developments.

A frustrated Congress leadership had no other go but to attempt to divert the attention of the people back to the politics. An intelligent Arvind Kejriwal was the first one to understand the damage that the media was doing to the non-BJP parties through their non-stop anti-Pak and anti-terror coverage.

He also was quick to understand the mood of the nation and not go against it openly and hence, preferred to appear a bit innocuous in his "let us counter Pak propaganda" argument. He had to beat a hasty retreat amid popular opinion turning against him and when he sensed that the public mood in Punjab could turn against him in the upcoming elections.

But Congress could not do it, because Rahul Baba preferred to take Modi head-on now. And he has left the Congress leaders with no choice but to toe his line. Yes, after the 1947-48 war, the two countries sat down and negotiated the cease fire and after the 1965 war, the two sides met at Tashkent to pledge themselves to peace and after 1971, Indira and Bhutto got together in Shimla. Even the Kargil conflict saw a meeting at Agra.

How about one for our politicians to make them understand the valor of our forces or the mood of the tired Indians?

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