Beyond surgical strikes
Considering that Pakistan-based terrorists attacked the 46 Rashtriya Rifles camp in Baramulla late on Sunday night and almost simultaneously Pakistan’s forces violated ceasefire in Shahpur along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch, it is clear that Islamabad is itching for yet another war with India. Coming on top of Pathankot and Uri attacks, this is the third ceasefire violation in the past 16 hours and the 8th ceasefire violation since surgical strikes.
Last year, 16 civilians were killed and 71 others injured in 405 incidents of cross-border firing by Pakistan. For New Delhi, it is now time to say enough is enough and take some decisive action, though a full-fledged war should still be averted. The ‘surgical strikes’, which took Pakistan unawares on Wednesday, should be taken to their logical conclusion. The trigger for the surgical strikes was the September 18th raid by Pakistan-based terrorists on the Indian Army base at Uri that left 19 Indian soldiers dead in one of the deadliest attacks.
The latest attacks add insult to injury. Reports suggest that the attack on a camp of Rashtriya Rifles and an adjacent Border Security Force camp started around 10.30 p.m. on Sunday, and heavy firing continued till midnight. The terrorists, who had gained entry into the 46 RR camp through the BSF camp, fired indiscriminately and lobbed grenades as well. In the exchange of fire, two terrorists were killed and two managed to escape.
The Indian Army recovered GPS, wire cutters and some other items from Baramulla attack site, though it is not clear to which outfit the terrorists belonged. Asserting that the terrorists responsible for the attack on army and the BSF camps in Baramulla fled the spot using the dark and heavy civilian population as a shield, the police on Monday claimed that the security forces could not retaliate in a heavy manner fearing civilian casualties.
One BSF jawan was martyred in the attack. Another BSF jawan was injured. Pakistan’s forces also violated ceasefire in Shahpur on Monday. Heavy mortar shelling and firing was reported from the Pakistani side in Poonch. The latest attacks come after Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks Hafiz Saeed, reacting to India’s ‘surgical strikes’, warned India on Friday of a “befitting response” to its military operation in PoK, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now know what is meant by ‘surgical strikes’.
“We will tell you what real surgical strike... is and you will get the deserved response soon,” Hafiz Saeed said in a public address in Faisalabad in Lahore on Friday. The attacks at Baramulla and Poonch have taken place though National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua spoke over phone to ease tension between the two countries. On Monday, Doval reportedly briefed the Prime Minister about the preparedness of the security forces and the army troops.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju asserted that Indian security forces were capable of dealing with the situation. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that he had faith in the Army to give a befitting reply. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who chaired a high-level security meeting at which Army Chief Dalbir Singh, Air Force Chief Arup Raha and Navy Chief Sunil Lanba were present, should take a call on the next course of action keeping in mind national sentiments.
Today the nation is united in supporting Prime Minister Modi’s line of action, which broke with India’s strategic restraint doctrine. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir`s Baramulla following the attack. Even as Rajnath Singh and Ajit Doval are reviewing the security measures so as to avoid any untoward incident, the Multi-Agency Centre has warned of two suspicious boats coming from Pakistan to India.
New Delhi needs to maintain a hawk eye on Pakistan to prevent infiltration and sneak attacks. No doubt India responded appropriately following the Uri attacks, carrying out surgical strikes along the LoC and smashing as many as seven terror launch pads. The nation must now carry out its unfinished agenda of dismantling the entire terror apparatus along LoC.