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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2907

Paralysis Again After Surgical Strike

By Tukoji R. Pandit - Syndicate Features

The euphoria over the successful surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan and chest thumping over it now appear meaningless as India has failed since then to take retaliatory steps following increased attacks by Pakistanis on multi-targets in India. India’s other ‘enemy’, China, has hardened its stance on issues of vital concern to India. Russia has signaled that India no longer enjoys a pre-eminent position in its South Asia policy formulations. To all these developments the Indian response has been feeble, if at all.

The government and its supporters have denounced those who demand ‘evidence’ of the surgical strike by the Indian armed forces but India has looked as paralyzed as it did prior to the late September surgical strike. Attacks on Indian territory from the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) are more frequent, and there is scare among villagers in areas close to Pakistan.

Within 10 days after the surgical strike, there have been attacks on army camps and police posts. Casualties on the other side have been largely confined to the intruding terrorists and a few soldiers, which is as it always was.

The government asserts that it has put a new life in Indian diplomacy but it has watched rather helplessly as the efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally have not met the kind of success expected. Pakistan has not been ‘isolated’ enough for it to feel any pain, which was India’s aim. Pakistan is by now used to being named and shamed. It does not mean that most countries have shut their doors on Pakistan completely.

After the surgical strike Pakistan was expected to think twice before launching terror attacks on targets in India. It was claimed that Pakistan has realised that the cost of continuing with terror attacks on India will escalate beyond its means. The only ‘cost’ it has paid, at least thus far, is in the form of some embarrassment or maybe frustration over the continued ‘silence’ of the international community to lend their ears to all the Pakistani fiction dished out in the name of ‘atrocities’ by India in Kashmir.

If the trend of more frequent attacks by Pakistani terrorists on Indian army and police posts continues, the ruling party runs the risk of losing the gains from the surgical strike. The people of India are explicitly given to understand that after the surgical strike (contested by Pakistan) the western neighbour will not be in a position to carry on with the export of terror to India, at least on the scale it has all these years. That has not happened while the popular mood still demands a quick retaliatory move—not willing to wait for the ‘time and place of our choosing’.

There has been an unexpected diversion from the heated debate on the surgical strike. Expect Rahul Gandhi to say something that draws wide criticism and goes to the advantage to Narendra Modi with some help from comments in the social and the mainstream media. The Congress vice president may have uttered words that deserved condemnation but it must be said that the manner in which the ruling party has hit back does not show it good light either. It appears that the ruling party wants to demonstrate that it can outdo Rahul Gandhi in hitting below the belt.

His party members and leaders do not seem to have heeded Narendra Modi’s advice to refrain from chest thumping about the surgical strike. The home and defence ministers were in competition for using boastful and jingoist language.

Posters lauding Modi and the BJP after the surgical strike have appeared in UP and elsewhere. This is a clear attempt to milk it for political gains, a questionable tactic.

It is dangerous to drag into politics the army, which has an enviable tradition of being a disciplined, thoroughly professional and apolitical force. Indian army obeys the command of the civilian government but its motivation to repel the adversary comes from within.

Because of the acknowledged supremacy of the civilian government, the army will have to await the government nod to respond to the fresh irritations by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC). The government doesn’t seem to have asked the armed forces to cross the LoC in pursuit of the terrorists. The public mood would not be welcoming this ‘strategic restraint’. Experts might favour this policy of caution, though.

It is not the government sudden reversion to the ‘do nothing’ policy about Pakistan’s incursions that has baffled the public. China has taken what can certainly be called an anti-India line in the on-going ‘cold war’ with India. It has stopped the flow of water into one the tributaries of the river Brahmaputra.

Indian dynamic diplomacy has made no dent in China’s anti-India policy. A bigger failure has been the shift in Russia’s policy on South Asia. Inch by inch India’s oldest ally is moving towards Pakistan while India is left twiddling its thumb. As Russia’s biggest arms importer, India should be able to have some leverage on Russia. But where is it?

- Asian Tribune -

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