Islamabad in a bind

FPJ BureauUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 12:16 PM IST
article-image

With the surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads along the line of control in Kashmir, chances of India and Pakistan getting down to diplomatic exchanges any time soon appears remote. After much dithering, New Delhi has called Islamabad’s bluff of a nuclear strike if the LOC is breached. The powerful military establishment at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, the terrorists as well as their masters have hardened their animus towards India. The elected political leadership’s voice in Pakistan has invariably been rendered inconsequential when it comes to dealing with India.

With the current standoff showing no signs of abating, the National Security Advisor of India told his Pakistani counterpart on Monday that tackling terrorism assumes priority. Herein lies the real test for Modi. The surgical strikes by the Indian Army on terrorist launching pads avenging the Uri attack has unnerved Pakistan. There is an intense debate here if India should make public the proof of its surgical strike in POK. Opinion is sharply divided. One section believes India should put the evidence on the table while several senior BJP leaders were stoutly against it. If Pakistan is making efforts to mislead the international community it is bound to fall flat sooner than later.

GHQ has refused to accept that India had carried out any surgical strike at the “place of its choosing and time” across the LOC which has only added a new dimension to the prevailing situation. Even during the Kargil conflict India assiduously maintained the sanctity of the LOC. Islamabad has resorted to rapid fire attempts at infiltrating into India not only along the LOC but also at some locations on the international border. On Sunday alone there were no less than five ceasefire violations.

Modi appears keen to steer the country away from war mongering which is bound to have disastrous consequences for both the neighbours. This became evident from his speech in Kozhikode on the beach in Kerala and the mann ki baat on September 25. He refused to fall for destructive and unbridled jingosim. This was contrary to those in the BJP demanding a “jaw for a tooth” to avenge the Uri attack. The strategic message is that no escalation is being contemplated.

Pakistan’s woes are multiplying within and without. Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif’s term is coming to an end at the end of next month. Already there is a battle for succession in the army, the public and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Uri terrorist attack brought to the fore India’s readiness to violate the LOC. The matter was left to the Army to decide the best course of action.

Islamabad has not budged from using non-state actors as instruments of coercion. It has become imperative for New Delhi to enlarge its capacity to deal with Uri-type attacks. Escalation of tension leading to a possible war remains a possibility, particularly in the border areas which are the worst affected.

The complex and protracted Kashmir issue has bedevilled relations between India and Pakistan. It’s time the political leadership in this country displayed boldness of vision in dealing with the problem. It assumes importance as New Delhi needs to exploit the new found space for limited military action in tackling Pakistan’s penchant for proxy war. Close attention will have to be paid to the emerging contours and implications of the new dynamics. It will be naive on anyone’s part to imagine that Pakistan is going to mend its ways. India must be prepared for terror strikes in J&K, the country’s heartland, as well as Indian facilities and assets abroad, particularly in Afghanistan.

Union Home minister Rajnath Singh has given indications if infiltrations continue, more surgical strikes across the LOC cannot be ruled out. The security environment is being closely watched. India’s calculation has factored in the role of China being an all weather friend of Pakistan.

There are several challenges that Modi faces. As the head of government the strategic strike option has sent an unambiguous signal to Pakistan that “enough is enough.” Then there is also the Balochistan gambit announced by the Prime Minister during his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. India desperately needs to overcome the tag of being a soft state.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Daily Horoscope for Saturday, June 25, 2022, for all zodiac signs by astrologer Vinayak Vishwas...

Daily Horoscope for Saturday, June 25, 2022, for all zodiac signs by astrologer Vinayak Vishwas...

Mumbai: Husband gets 1-year jail, Rs 10,000 fine for abusing second wife

Mumbai: Husband gets 1-year jail, Rs 10,000 fine for abusing second wife

Mumbai: Extortion case accused denied bail; next proceeding to be held before Sep 30

Mumbai: Extortion case accused denied bail; next proceeding to be held before Sep 30

Mumbai: BMC releases draft voters' list

Mumbai: BMC releases draft voters' list

Tapan Kumar Deka appointed IB chief; Samant Kumar Goel gets one year extension as RAW chief

Tapan Kumar Deka appointed IB chief; Samant Kumar Goel gets one year extension as RAW chief