Politicking on Surgical Strike dipping national pride?

K.B. Jandial

Regretfully, the path breaking pre-dawn “Surgical Strike”, on 29th September 2016on seven terrorists’ launch pads in side PoK has been reduced to silly politicking in less than a week. The “façade of national unity” built in the wake of martyrdom of 19 army men in Uri terror strike and revengeful “surgical strike” by Indian Special Forcesbegins to collapse due to petty and parochial-minded Indian polity. The Indian narrative of teaching Pakistan a lesson is sought to be changed to Pakistan’s compulsive narrative of “denial of no- such strike” in PoK.

Nation is outraged twice; once on Uri carnage despite alerts and now on the despicable conduct of some political leaders and parties who are keeping their divisive political interest overthe national security and hounors. A bunch of political leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Nirupum, Digvijaya Singh, Chidambaram, Ajay Alok and their likes are endeavoring to make thisstrategic victory asuspect and thus gave a tacit support to malicious Pakistani propaganda.There are many Indian political commentators who too believe in Pakistan’s denial and brazenly suspect Army claim.

There are some political leaders who immaturelyquote news of CNN, BBC and western press whichwas not their independent investigating reporting but based on Pakistan’s conducted tour and briefing under the watchful eyes of gun-toting Pak army. Were the foreign media allowed to talk to locals? The CNN correspondent herself said that they were denied this facility. Did Pakistan take the foreign media to the supposedly targeted “Lashkar’s launch pads”? How can Pakistan afford to show to media the sites of devastation and dead bodies of jihadists as it would expose its complexity in exporting terrorism, the charge India has been consistently making.

Why should our leaders doubt army statement and instead believe Pakistan’s lies? There is nothing new. Had there been no “Jaichands” India would not have been subjugated for centuries by invaders and foreign empires. Any elaboration of these black chapters of our history would make the nation more depressed.

Indian Express(Oct.5)has spiked Pakistan propaganda and in a way,western media reports as well which arebased on Pakistan official briefing. The IE report has embarrassed all pro-fake-surgical-strikes “brigade” in India even before the Govt decides on the issue of release of video and other documents.The report gave graphic account of five eyewitnesses living across LoC, near the targeted sites,contacted through their relatives on this side of LoCusing a commercially available encrypted chat system,and also some accessed classified intelligent documents.They told they heard loud explosions and saw dead bodies being whisked away in the morning in trucksand silently buried.“Friday prayers at a Lashkar-affiliated mosque in Chalhana, ended with a cleric vowing to avenge the deaths of the men killed the previous day”.

On Wednesday night, CNN-News 18 exposed Pakistan’s lies. It broadcast telephonic admission of surgical strike of Glulam Akbar, SP of Special Branch of Mirpur Police in PoK who was in conversation Manoj Gupta who impersonated as IGP Islamabad. This conversation was later confirmed by Mirpur IGP on Pakistan channel ARY.This footage has gone viral on social media. PoK SP confirmed strikes at four places and killing of at least 12 jihadists for whom they had arranged coffins. He disclosed that three to four jihadists are brought by Pakistan army to each launch pad for pushing them to India.

At Neelum Valley, Kotliand Mirpur the locals came out on streets to protest against existence of terrorist camps near their habitations and demanded closure of these camps in view of recent attack of Indian forces.

Isolated internationally, Pakistan got yet again a snub when the UN Security Council declined to debate India-Pakistan tension. Russia, German, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and many other countries hailed Indian strikes and other western countries including USA supported India’s war against terrorism. They too have satellite pictures of these strikes as American NSA got in touch with Doval while operation was in progress.

Denials notwithstandingPakistan’s truth unfolded at an undisclosed meeting on Monday chaired by Nawaz Sharief. The Dawn reported “surprised” decisions that included no objection by military on arrest of militants conclude Pathankot investigation & restart Mumbai attack case in anti-terrorism court. In a separate meeting with civil and military officials, Foreign Secretary candidly explained Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation and international indifference which can only be checked if action is taken against militant leaders.

But our leaders are continuing to play politics by suspecting surgical strikes. Some of them, especially Delhi CM got front page coverage in Pakistan press. What a shame!

Whether one likes it or not, Modi matched his words with action, at least on Uri’s revenge (he defaultedin  Pathankot attackhoping for positive response) and is entitled to take credit for giving nod for strike. Earlier in June, 2015, Modi had allowed similar strike in Myanmar. While Vajpayee had credited Indira for Bangladesh liberation and called her Durga, what is the problemnow?

In the past similar action was desired following major terror attacks but the forces did not support. Bharat Karnad, author of “Why India is Not a Great Power”, recently recorded that Vajpayee called an emergency meeting even during Parliament attack on 13 December, 2001, he asked General S Padmanabhan in his inimitable style, “ Aapkuchkarsakte hain?’  The General without breaking the silence of the room slowly shook his head from one side to another. This is minuted by the then Cabinet Secretary. Second such desire was expressed after 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2013. Manmohan Singh asked Air Chief Marshal F H Major about launching air strikes on terrorist camps in PoK, only to be told that it is not possible as they didn’t have the “target coordinates”.

Perturbed at political mileage that Modi is getting, Congress too claimed that such strikes were conducted earlier too – 1st September, 2011, 28th July, 2013 and14th January, 2014, but did not do public profiling. The army veterans including the then DGMO, Lt. Gen (Retd) Vinod Bhatia didn’t go with the claim, saying those were at best quid pro quo.There were several incidents when armycrossed Loc and killed some Pak rangers, even blasted one post in retaliatory action. The party politics has dampened the national pride.

Modi has changed the national policy of ‘strategic restraint” to “defensive offensive” to tackle unabated terrorism in line with Ajit Dorval’s doctrinehe had outlined in a lecture at Sastra University of Tamil Naidu (Thanjavur) on February 21, 2014. “Defensive offensive” is when you go and attack the place from where the offence is coming.”

And that’s what actually happened on September 29. Men of Army’s Special Forces were sent to smash seven launch pads of terroristsacross the LoC. In a perfect operation, they blasted these along with the sleeping terrorists whose number they put at 38. There was neither any engagement with Pakistani troops nor involvement of nuclear arsenal and yet the purpose is served.

Doval doctrine has three modes of engagement with enemy. One is a defensive mode, i.e.  keepguarding like a guard outside and prevent them to  breach it.  Another mode of engagement is offensivewhere you go outright against the enemy. The third is defensive offensive. Nuclear threshold is a difficulty in the offensive mode but not in the defensive offensive mode.

India has been operating in the defensive mode i.e working on the vulnerabilities of Pakistan—economic, internal security, political, its isolation internationally by exposing their terrorist activities. It can be to defeat Pakistan’s policies in Afghanistan—making it difficult for them to manage internal political balance or internal security.

While Modi and the army have addressed nation’s outraged sentimentsfollowing Uri terror attack, the nation’s pride is now diminishing everyday with raging of unsavory controversy on its authenticity by our own leaders. India’s case was very powerful as the DGMO made no mistake in leaving anything to guess, especially for international audience; launching pads were demolished within PoK as there were credible reports of terrorists being pushed into India for creating mayhems. That made the operations anti-terrorists rather than military action to avenge Uri massacre.

Now,while Pakistan was not expected to accept these strikes, for its honour and Army’s inflated capabilities,it has in retaliation intensified firing on the LoC targeting civilian areas, and also fidayeen attacks within the valley. Had there been no surgical strike then where was the needfor Pakistan to intensify firing on IB and LoC? Why did he call joint session of Parliament to discussion alarming situation?

The pressure being built for release of credible evidence is a trap for Modi Govt. Whatever evidence the Govt. may release there would remain some gaps as the video had to be edited for security and operational reasons, and many more would join this brigade to run down the BJPand in the process, the army too.The nation doesn’t need evidence and few loud mouthed politicians and commentators don’t make the nation. The political squabbles and unending debate to discredit one political party or the other and also the army is bound to overshadow the watershed  in calibrated  national response to combat terrorism, and dilute the message of deterrence to Pakistan.

Already, a Bollywood celebrity who is very popular in Pakistan, Om Puri has outraged the nation by his unpardonable senile comment on the martyrdom of BSF brave heart, 24-year old Constable Nitin Kumar who foiled terrorists’ attempt to breach 46 RR Hdqrs at Baramulla Sunday last.In the continuing debate on whether Pakistani artists should be allowed to work in Indian cinema without condemning terrorist strikes in India, Om Puricountered“who has asked Nitin to join the army”?  Bollywood is more concerned with earning money rather than respecting sentiments of the nation. Bollywood’s role of unifying the nation like the days of “Aye mere watan ke logo jera aankho main bhar lo pani…” by Lata in the demoralizing post-1962 war, has been changed to dividing India by indulging in unwarranted comments like politicians.

 Bollywood is divided over MNSthreat to Pak artists to leave Mumbai in the wake of Uri carnage. While Govt has no issue in allowing Pak artists to work here even without reciprocity, the issue remained in focus is that while these artists had condemned such terrorist strikes in Peshawar and elsewhere in the world, but why they are not forthcoming when India bleeds. It could be a valid argument that they are scared of the consequences back home. But this was not so for Adnan Sami, now an Indian citizen, who tweeted hailing surgical strikes to get mouthful from Pakistan on social media but remained unnerved. Justifying these strikes in a simple way in a TV interview, he compared terrorism with garbage and said if the neighbor doesn’t clean up garbage in its premises or has no capacity to do so, the neighbor, who is affected by it, has a right to clean it up. That’s what India has done.

(feedback:kbjandial@gmail.com)

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