Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. Sun Tzu
In the last few days, across India our people seem to have gained some extra energy and it has been attributed to our resent surgical strike inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) which legally belonged to us. So we actually did not invade Pakistan and all we did was go and kill some terrorists inside our own territory which is justly legal. However after the attack, which for the first time India has proudly admitted publicly, Pakistan is in a quagmire. After the strike there was confusion that borderlines comedy. First the elected government of Nawaz Sharif admitted, India did violate the LoC but was quickly silenced by its overlord the Pakistani Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif who is retiring this November. Also it is quite possible that Nawaz Sharif wanted this information public just to rub some salt in the wound of the retiring general. That is why the narration was changed by Pakistan’s Army and its Inter-Services Public Relations that India never crossed the border which they would like us to believe and that the two soldiers who had died was a result of cross border normal shelling and small arms firing. As admitting this fact would be similar to that of the humiliation of getting caught while napping. But by not admitting, it has affirmed the presence of terrorists in its held territory. However what has now been publicly exposed is the level of disconnect between the civilian leadership and the military and the lack of cohesiveness. Though this was known to everyone that the civilians have no say in Pakistan and are just show ponies, nevertheless, it is important to maintain a level of appearance which was clearly missing.
The beginning of quagmire
Firstly, we must congratulate our military who carried out such audacious attack which was never expected. Secondly, this was a gutsy move by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi because if this mission had failed it would have been a political disaster for him. But he took a calculated risk and was backed by his cabinet and the ever eager military. But for Pakistan, this attack came out of nowhere because for the last twenty five years India has shown nothing but restrain after being attacked several times. The attack that led to the death of nineteen Indian soldiers in Uri pale in comparison to other terror strikes like the attack to blow our Parliament and 26/11 Mumbai attack to name a few. But this attack was a direct challenge to Narendra Modi and it meant to discredit him as a leader. Back in 1962, when India lost to China the aim was not territorial gain but to delegitimize Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister. The result of this humiliation was such that he died less than two years later.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate. Sun Tzu
After the attack there was absolutely no support forthcoming from anyone, including China its all-weather friend and the resent declaration to divert one of the tributary of Brahmaputra river is nothing but a ploy by China to check our resolve. Also not a single Islamic country even Saudi Arabia condemned our decision to eliminate terror launch pads inside PoK, which to an extent shocked everyone in Pakistan. The Uri attack was strategically planned and carried out because it coincided with Nawaz Sharif’s trip to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where he was to read a speech written by the Army. It was assumed India could retaliate immediately after the attack and hence Kashmir could become center stage and what better pulpit than the UNGA. But what happened was a series of mistakes one after another, but it must be commended even after that the commitment remained resolute even if it means humiliation.
But the attack never came, well it did come but not immediately because it is not important to strike, it is not even important how hard we strike, what is important is when, where and how we strike. What came before the attack was our diplomatic blitzkrieg to further isolate Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif and calling Burhan Wani a known terrorist of banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen a “Young Leader murdered by India” at the UNGA did not really help Pakistan’s cause. Already there is a bill which has been introduced in U.S Congress to declare Pakistan a terror state but it is unlikely it would be passed. In addition, the momentum to legitimize the plight of the people of Balochistan is gaining lot of international attention, and if we grant asylum to Brahamdagh Bugti it will undermine the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPAC). Also the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit that was to be held in Pakistan now stands cancelled with the full support of all its members because it was felt the regional environment was not conducive. However India is moving forward with its The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and has also invited Afghanistan who is a member.
Time for carrot and stick policy
Indian government also decided to reconsider Most Favored Nation (MFN) status that we had given them twenty five years ago because Pakistan never reciprocated and instead of resending it approaching World Trade Organization (WTO) was a master stroke because no must call this a knee jerk reaction. Plus reviewing the Indus Water treaty must have sent chills down the spine of Pakistan because if we really did something about it will be a catastrophe for their agriculture. The Indus water treaty was signed by India in 1960 because Nehru wanted peace but just after a year of the treaty passing Pakistan again attacked India in 1965. However when any agreement is reached that is not equitable it is alright to revisit and make changes. According to the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus River and this was not an equitable agreement but capitulation or it could even be called as an appeasement to buy peace. But History is our witness and appeasement has never worked and Narendra Modi is someone who does not believe in appeasement but rather a practitioner of “Saam, Daam, Dand & Bhed”. Since his taking in office, Pakistan has done everything in its power to undermine the resolution of Modi and it was time to meet out some punishment and make this terror sponsoring nation realize things have changed. There was carrot but now there is also a stick.
Nuclear threat nullified
For the last seventy years we never attacked them or even if there were mission carried out, they were never publicly admitted to. But by an open admission of our action against Pakistan, it is now forced to rethink what is necessary. Its threat of nuclear deterrence has been soundly nullified by this attack because it was limited and proportional plus we attacked terror launch pads not the Pakistani Army, although it still did not stop one senior political leader to give India the threat of nuclear attack. It is evident our government is thinking at an intellectual level where logic and pragmatism guiding our foreign policies and military strategy.
For decades our armed forces had to make do with obsolete weaponry and one of the direct results of such action is that our air force which gives us strategic edge is now operating fighter jets that belong to a bygone era in terms of technology. In the words of Gen Billy Mitchell who said “Nothing can stop the attack of aircraft except other aircraft” and right now we simply do not have the right stuff to engage Pakistan. But it is possible to carry out covert strike deep inside Pakistan held Indian Territory. It can now be said we chose the time and the place to hit Pakistan and we chose well by ensuring we had all the political and diplomatic support.
Sun Tzu said “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare” and Pakistan is a country which truly qualifies this statement. Since partition we have been attacked relentlessly and we have shown nothing but restraint and forgiveness. It is clearly understood even after this surgical strike, which was effective in sending our clear intent, it will still not deter Pakistan from making further misadventures and we can expect more attacks as we already have on Monday 3rd of October a day after we celebrated the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. One thing is clear as the sound of a bell that Reverberations of our Surgical Strike across the LoC will be felt for a long time in Pakistan
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