Farcical surgical strikes

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

THE Indian ruling elite and military establishment are bewildered by the current wave of zealous uprising in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The Indian Army’s brutal tactics to curb the mutiny are counter-productive. The killing of 18 soldiers in Uri accentuated that violence breed violence. Instead of addressing the causes of the violence in the valley, Premier Modi and hawk cabinet members blamed Pakistan for the Uri attack. They called for punitive measures against Pakistan. Prime Minister Modi categorically stated to ‘isolate’ Pakistan.
Presently, New Delhi is doing its best to coerce Islamabad. Diplomatically, it is endeavouring to convince the international community that ‘Pakistan is a state sponsoring terrorism.’ In addition, it is employing its military muscle to intimidate Pakistan. Premier Modi frequently reiterates to execute “jaw for a tooth” strategy to punish Pakistani armed forces. The Indian hawks openly contemplate to conduct surgical strikes against the targets located on the Pakistani territory. Modi also announced to choke off Pakistan’s rivers by quashing Indus Water Treaty.
Instead of submitting to New Delhi’s diktat, Islamabad continues to apprise the internationally community about the Indian law enforcement agencies barbaric acts in the valley. Consequently, the international human rights organizations have been reprimanding New Delhi on the gross human rights violations and the killings of innocent and unarmed Kashmiris. Simultaneously, the overwhelming Indians also condemned Premier Modi’s inhuman Kashmir policy.
Precisely, these developments frustrated both Modi and his warmongering Hindu fundamentalist cohort. Paradoxically, on September 29, 2016, the Indian officials claimed that their elite troops crossed into Azad Kashmir and killed suspected militants preparing to infiltrate in India to carry out attacks on major cities. Indian DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh announced in a joint press conference of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence: “some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch-pads along the Line of Control. Indian Army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch-pads. Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them.”Ironically, he failed to present credible evidence to back his claims.
Pakistani border forces rejected the claim of the Indian military officials. Pakistani armed forces spokesperson while rubbishing Lt Gen Ranbir claim stated: “The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indians to create false effects.” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi opined: “What we saw on Thursday was cross border shelling, by mortar fire as well as small arms fire. We have captured one Indian soldier who was trying to cross while two Pakistani soldiers were martyred in cross border shelling. But there was no surgical strike inside territory controlled by Pakistan.” The Indian Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore reinforced the Pakistani stance on the surgical strike. He contradicted the use of helicopters in the strike. Nevertheless, he falsified claims of his colleagues and Lt Gen Ranbir Singh.
Actually, Indian military carried out colossal fire across the Line of Control. The Indian media, with typical hawkish relish, had interpreted the six-hour duel between the Indian and Pakistan border forces as ‘surgical strikes’ at terrorist squads. The contradictory statements by the Indian government high-ups also confirmed Pakistan’s claim that India did not conduct surgical strikes. Moreover, it also underscores the recklessness of Premier Modi government.
Although Pakistani border forces have been defending the border bravely, yet observing maximum restraint. It’s because Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state and its leadership is very much cognizant to the devastating repercussions of the war between nuclear weapon states. Secondly, Islamabad is cognizant to the actual ploy of New Delhi, i.e. to divert the international community as well as domestic opinion attention from the war crimes that Indian armed forces have been committing in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
The farcical surgical strike drama, Indian media’s jingoistic rhetoric and above all Premier Modi’s continuous threatening statements may spiral out of control the current across the Line of Control fire between the border forces.It would enrage the Indian public, which compels the government to take vindictive actions against Pakistan. According to the press reports nearly nine Pakistani soldiers were injured and two soldiers were martyred. Pakistani border forces also captured one Indian soldier and killed more than fourteen Indian soldiers. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif categorically stated that Pakistan’s restraint should not be mistaken for weakness. On September 30, 2016, he stated that ‘Pakistan had the capability to carry out surgical strikes inside India.’ Islamabad has been reiterating its policy that “if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, the same will be strongly responded.” Hence, Pakistan Air Force remains on high alert and ready to issue a befitting response to Indian military adventurism.
Prime Minister Modi and his Hindu fundamentalists need to listen their own strategic enclave. India’s former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Arun Prakash, opined that ‘Indian policymakers need to be cognizant that demanding a “jaw for a tooth” strategy will not be easy because Pakistan’s armed forces are “no pushovers.” Perhaps, the Indian hawks are ignoring the fact that Pakistani armed forces are well trained and equipped with advanced conventional and nuclear weapons.
The overt nuclearisation made conventional war a remote possibility between India and Pakistan. Anti-infiltration mechanisms included layers of fencing, barbed wires, lighting, border posts and bunkers are placed on India-Pakistan border. Professional belligerent soldiers monitor both sides of the Line of Control and thereby it is impossible that anybody would sneaks in and destroys targets and return with impunity. To conclude, a trigger-happy warmonger, Premier Modi is only successful in spoiling the peace and prosperity of his own nation. He would not be able to frighten or coerce Pakistanis. Thus, the farcical surgical strikes rhetoric only amplifies war hysteria in India.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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