Indian “Surgical Strike” claims at the highest military level, followed by several unanswered questions on its authentication, not only unveiled Indian desires of subversive regional dreams but also exposed Indian army’s operational strength.
Defence experts believe, a surgical strike always categorised as a targeted precision hit at enemy territory, without or minimal collateral damage and self-fatalities on the ground. The surgical strike, a swift operation that involves air strike, air-dropping of special troops/commandos, sudden ground offensive with artillery or smart missile strikes. But these operations require sophisticated intelligence gathering, platforms to conduct collections, and surveillance of target sites and objectives.
Apparently, on patterns of so-called Myanmar adventure on June 9th – 2015, India has self-claimed a surgical strike inside Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Pakistan administered Kashmir) on September 29, 2016, with no regional or international confirmation. Pakistan has forcefully rejected Indian claims and explained this as a move to divert global attention from ongoing Indian brutalities in (Indian) occupied Kashmir, where, according to International media, occupation forces murdered more than 100 and injured thousands using pallet guns and direct firing. Pakistan believes continuous unprovoked ceasefire violation at Line of Control (LoC) was painted as a surgical strike to satisfy Indian public sentiments, after Delhi’s jingoism at Uri incident.
Sometimes, these surgical operations being successful in absence of opponent’s inability to respond but if we go by the book, in Pakistan’s case, is it really possible?
Indian military under “Pro-Active Conventional War Strategy” for “swift multiple offensives into enemy territory” initiated operations “parakram (power)”, “vijayee bhava (be victorious)”, “Sudarshan shakti (stunning power)” since 2004 but got limited success. After years of efforts, Indian military got some achievement in shaping a comprehensive doctrine with limited mobilization time and sudden strike capability called “Cold Start Doctrine” with “Surgical Strike” options.
Delhi always tried to practically test these options in the region but India also knows well, where Pakistan’s “red line” starts, as crossing-over any temporary or permanent borderline means an act of war. Pakistan Army’s doctrine of “offensive defence,” seeks to respond to any Indian aggression with the counter-attack. Though materially, India is superior to Pakistan, fighting a war, is more a matter of strategy and tactics than just a magnanimous size of the conventional arsenal. After more than a decade of fighting counter-terrorism war in rocky and mountainous regions, Pakistani battle-hardened military fully equipped, trained and well versed to fight in any condition and with any kind of enemy. A recent example is Russian endorsement of Pakistan’s capability under “friendship – 2016” exercises, an army capable of doing most delicate operations with superiority.
Delhi’s history suggests, India not fully possess, what shows to the world but excellent at mocking and imitation, so it’s smart diplomatic tactics and well placed attention-grabber campaign always an edge over Pakistan.
According to the ancient Indian political philosopher “Chanakya”, “there are four ways of dealing with a disobedient rival, talks, material offers, division, and punishment”.
Indian acts are apparent throughout the course of history, Delhi’s invasion in 1965, though forcefully repulsed by Pakistani nation but Indian clandestine dream to split Pakistan was always on priority. Keeping Chanakya ambitions in mind, Indian establishment created Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in 1968 and Army Special Forces for quick and secret operations. The specific aim was to subvert the people of the region and prepare grounds for invasions, the creation of Bangladesh was a clear evidence of it, now admitted by India.
Indian premier Narendra Modi said, “Indian soldiers had fought alongside Mukti Jodhas (Bengali fighters) as well, for the creation of Bangladesh”, he acknowledged while speaking at Dhaka University on June 07, 2015.
Not only this, Indian devastating regional policies also manifest under July 1987 – Sri Lanka-India doubtful accord. Delhi pushed “Operation Pawan” with first heli-born assault through para commandos and Sikh light infantry on Jaffna university, a catastrophe that leads to full-fledged Sri Lankan civil war. Sri Lankan’s realized later that Indians dodged them by supporting government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) concurrently.
Since 1990, India has been dubbing Pakistan as a country indulging in cross-border terrorism solely because of its support towards Kashmir cause. Today, Kashmir issue is in headlines, primarily because Pakistan becomes more proactive, particularly after Indian blatant human rights violations which killed hundreds and injured thousands but never comes up to resolve this nuclear flash point “the K, factor”, so Delhi’s escalation to end her frustration is understandable.
Indian history of contravening the bindings of International law and showing dual face to the world is visible in case of Kashmir while as a state policy, India initiated cross-border interventions almost in the entire region. Indian inheritance of spread terrorism, false flag operations, psychological warfare and espionage, to destabilise and topple neighbouring governments, and cudgel them into accepting India’s domination. At the international arena, Dehli always stood firm against terrorism and adhere the policy of non-interference into other states.
Suppressing freedom movements within and fueling liberation movements beyond Indian borders spread into decades. The shocking example is Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir region, a disputed territory since the partition of sub-continent, which profusely bleeds at the hands of India.
Indian support to foreign exile leaders, like former East-Pakistani (Bengali) leadership of Mukti-Bahini, Dalai Lama of Chinese Tibet, Brahumdagh Bugti of Balochistan province of Pakistan, are few examples, how India add fuel to already erupted fire.
Theory of realism says, “International organizations and law have no power or force; they exist only as long as states accept them”. This phenomenon is noticeable under US overlapping United Nation’s role and pre-emptive strike policy after September 9/11 – 2001. India is trying to follow the same US footsteps, in case of occupied Kashmir, or surgical strikes options, especially after US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, a covert operation against Osama Bin Laden (OBL) and attack on Pakistani military at Salala in Mohmand Agency in 2011.
Military buildup, political gimmicks, diplomatic stunts, and concealed intelligence operations like so-called surgical strikes, suggests that Delhi reached far-ahead of Chanakya legacy to suppress weaker in the region, encircling Pakistan and become eye to eye with China, especially under US “pivot to Asia policy” – a regional re-alignment efforts.
But, India after series of failed adventures, lack of coordination, the absence of highly manoeuvrable, refined and asymmetrical military capability, ruinous military planning, deteriorating artillery, air power, the absence of war-like exercises, raised several queries, where Indian army stands right now? And whether such a force can carry surgical strike or not?
Now, the question arises that whether, Indian acts of escalation through surgical strike or options of triggering full-fledged war – could ever be supportive for peace in South Asia? Obviously never. Pakistan-India tensions could only lead to an uncontrollable escalation, conventional war, deliberate or accidental nuclear conflict and this would be terrible for the entire region.
Politician, the diplomat and the longest-serving first lady of the United States, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it”.
Being nuclear neighbours, both Pakistan and India has to immediately resolve Kashmir issue rather floating jingoistic postures. A result oriented Islamabad-Delhi dialogue process, civil and military contacts, stepping-up realistic counter-terrorism efforts and end interference in each other’s affairs. The US, China and Russia, as major powers, have the role in South Asian peacebuilding while Pakistan and India should have to put their energies in strengthening regional alliances like South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) or Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) rather marching towards a destructive future.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.
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Faisal Raza Khan, a senior journalist, famous for his research based innovative work, while Foreign policy, defence, strategic issues and climate change are his main areas of interest.