Hence news reports of the daring cross-LoC operation by the Indian army that killed at least twenty suspected terrorists across three terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in response to the Uri attack which martyred eighteen of our soldiers comes as a big relief to those who believe that taking the bull by its horn is the best approach in such instances.
Appeals by the international community for exercising restraint in such situations has for long had India banking on dialogues and requests through diplomatic channels with Pakistan to put a halt to such hostilities. Yet, frequent incursions and daring attacks on army camps which bear the signature trademark of terror operators from across the border continue to be a cause of concern for India.
Pakistan's state-sponsored terrorism has been taking its toll on the Indian defence establishments with intermittent raids by groups of militants on sensitive areas along the border causing heavy casualties. The 'Pathankot saga' and the 'Gurdaspur audacity' still weigh heavily on every Indian's mind.
But all said and done, the very fact that Pakistan-based militants can so easily hit at hard targets such as army bases indicates an abysmal failure of the government to come to terms with the problems of cross-border terrorism and deal with it sternly. As has been the case in every other case in the recent past, the Uri attack also points to glaring lapses in security.
Operation Neptune Spear which we remember as the Abbottabad raid in Pakistan by the elite troops of the United States is an indicator of America's intolerance for 'enemies of the state' going unpunished for waging war against their nation. Incidents in the past have also shown that similar acts of 'revenge' characterized the tenure of many other Presidents immaterial of their party affiliations.
Compare it to the stands on similar issues by Indian governments over the years.
Let us not go very far, just the last two decades or so! The in and out of power BJP were constantly deriding the United Progressive Alliance government's policy of trying to talk peace with Pakistan, and Narendra Modi as the face of the party then was overheard saying that were it up to him, he 'would use force to respond to the 26/11 attack on Mumbai and other terror operations emanating from Pakistan'.
However, in spite of that historic mandate in May 2014, the Modi-ensemble is yet to tame the lion in its own den, so to speak. The spate of terror attacks have only shown a steady rise since Modi assumed office. It has taken Modi, as the premier of the country, that many years to realize that there is a lot of difference between rhetoric and governance.
Manohar Parrikar cut a very sorry figure addressing the media the other day after the Uri 'massacre'. Admitting that 'something may have gone wrong', and that he would 'take steps to ensure that it never goes wrong again', the Defence Minister looked far from sure about what he was talking. False bravado on the face of aggressiveness, especially the type exhibited by Pakistan, makes Indian political leaders put up a brave face. The comments on 'knee-jerk reactions' by the Union Defence Minister was one such response and it did sound as hollow as it was meant to be!
As has been rightly said, instead of grandstanding on Pakistan the government should be concentrating on the real work of protecting India, her borders and the lives of her people.
In fact the troops were not even in their battle fatigues when heavily armed infiltrators from across the border launched one of the deadliest terror attacks on the unsuspecting soldiers at Uri. Many were still sleeping at the army camp.
India needs to act now! If the enemy is to be neutralized by immediate retaliation, so be it!
Of course the policy of strategic restrain employed by Modi and governments before him is the most prudent decision that could be taken considering that a war in nuclear South Asia is a terrifying prospect.
Hence the diplomatic approach opted for now by India appears to be quite reasonable enough. This is also the right time for India to pursue this matter in right earnest and describing Pakistan as a state supporting terror groups, India's decision to diplomatically isolate Pakistan at every international forum could further expose the duplicity of Pakistan in the matter of terror operations.
There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that by lending a flavour of radicalism to religious perceptions in the area, fundamentalists have been able to hold sway in Pakistan. In the bargain, the country has virtually turned into an international hotbed of terror operations, so much so that Pakistan is today synonymous with Islamic fundamentalism.
Of the firm opinion that Muslims are required to strictly adhere to the religious practices and moral codes prescribed in the Quran as the inerrant and literal word of God; Pakistan has however exploited this belief to misguide and coerce youth from both sides of the border to attack Indian interests.
Moreover Pakistan's role in 'destabilizing' the neighbourhood in the sub-continent has come in for severe condemnation with voices in the region growing in pitch to isolate Pakistan.
What is more! The US, purportedly a strong ally of Pakistan, has found much to its discomfort that there is enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the war on terror. From harbouring Osama Bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, Islamabad has always aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.
With Pakistan at the nadir of its cordial relationships with its allies and internal strives within the country tearing it asunder, the nervousness that pervades the Pakistani establishment is quite evident.
India could not have been better placed to demand its pound of flesh - literally speaking!
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indian Currents.
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