By Yogindra Mohan: ┬áThe recent attack on Uri army camp by Pakistan supported terrorists has once again exposed IndiaÔÇÖs utter lack of preparedness militarily, strategically and politically to effectively respond to and put an end once for all to such attacks on our security establishment. Every time our security men are martyred, we let our blood boil. We as a nation seek revenge. We as Indians shower choicest abuses on our ruling political leadership. We collectively suggest total annihilation of our neighbour if necessary by nuking it. The government of the day, irrespective of which party is in power at the time of the attack, suddenly displays a sagely greatness bordering on godliness. The same politicians who while in opposition would pretend they would not be satisfied unless Pakistan is removed from the face of the earth, would preach tolerance, invoke rules of international diplomacy and then proclaim it would not let the ÔÇ£blood of martyrs flow in vainÔÇØ. When the public demands more, the government of the day, again irrespective of which party or a number of parties are in power, will douse the embers promising retaliation and revenge at a time of its choice. This auspicious occasion has not come so far since 1948 when the Indian and Pak forces first exchanged fire in Jammu and Kashmir. This is exactly, what the Modi government has repeated nauseatingly this time. Only, it let the Director-General of Military Operations, an officer of Lieutenant General rank to do the dirty job.
This response is not entirely nonsensical. One has to admit this makes a lot of sense especially in the international arena where India will be lauded for its restraint and tolerance. But, this does not satisfy the people of India anymore. The Pak army has played this game with increasing intensity for decades and the Indian inability to stop this has only encouraged it. It is by now clear that there is no way the Pak army establishment or the severely debilitated civilian establishment in that country will ever put an end to it unless and until both are incapacitated- the Pak army by making it toothless and the civilian and political establishment by making it irrelevant in their own country. However, there is little likelihood of this happening any time soon or even in the next few decades.
In a way the rise of Pakistan after the 1971 Bangladesh war can be attributed to India. The urgency shown by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to sign the Shimla Accord with the then cornered Pakistani establishment was the biggest blunder India made. The release of over 90000 prisoners of war without getting anything in return that could ensure Pakistan will not dare to so much as throw a glance at its borders with India was to prove foolhardy step in the decades to come. Then basking in the warm and soothing sunshine of our friendship with the then USSR, we ignored the alarming manner in which the USA equipped the Pak army and gave billions of dollars in charity for Pakistan to survive economically and fund its atomic research. Then China stepped in to help Pakistan develop nuclear capability. We failed there too. China went on to get certain areas in POK as a gift from Pakistan in the garb of developing the area but the dragon surreptitiously enhanced its military capability in that area to the detriment of India.
When Pakistan began using Punjab youth to try and dismember India, we did not respond suitably. India just limited itself to curbing extremism within its troubled border state for almost two decades before peace and order were restored in Punjab. Had India acted then to nip the Pak evil in the bud, things could have been under control now. Having failed to achieve the desired results in Punjab, Pakistan shifted focus of anti-India activities to Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian establishmentÔÇÖs lack of a clear policy on the Kashmir issue let the political scene in the state to be dominated by opportunists like the Abdullah clan and to a lesser extent by the Muftis. The decades of rule by self serving weak governments in J and K only served to alienate the general public there. This in turn necessitated an undesirably long and large presence of the Indian Army in the state. While, there is no doubt that the Indian army is the only force standing between J and K and Pakistan annexing it, it is also a fact that this has damaged the image of our security men and has increased the chasm between the Indian state and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Coming back to Uri attack, our list of possible retaliatory measures is severely limited.
The Modi government finds itself in the dock with people mocking the Prime Minister for his utterances of Pak while in opposition and now. Clearly, after raising the expectations of the Indian people in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the country feels betrayed by the governmentÔÇÖs apparent lack of a clear roadmap for teaching Pakistan a lesson. Clearly, we have reached a state where either we let Pakistan keep doing what it is doing for decades without fear of any repercussions from us or risk a nuclear confrontation.
The Pak threat of use of nuclear power will need to be tackled and accounted for in our response. Indian cannot let this threat force it to keep yielding the second cheek for Pakis to slap us after a resounding slap on one cheek.
Our biggest strength in this gloomy atmosphere is the fact that the Pakistani people in general want peace with India. It is only the Pak Generals and politicians who want to keep the cauldron boiling hot. This is no small advantage. If India could use this as a platform to build on, peace could be ensured in between the two countries though that at the moment it remains a distant dream.