The question that is being asked by my civilian friends is whether there’s going to be a war with Pakistan in the near future. Or will Pakistan be able to continue with its nefarious design of causing casualties both on our borders as well as hinterland. This is a valid question which begets a serious thought.
Let’s take a look at the events which have taken place in the last year and a half which’ve led us to the situation we’re in today. After the Uri attacks our govt launched surgical strikes on Pakistani launch pads in Sep 2016 and killed many terrorists waiting to infiltrate into India. We hoped that it’ll be enough to teach a lesson to Pakistani establishment so that they refrain from supporting and sending terrorists into our country. It was never meant to be a long term solution. But it didn’t give us the desired results even in the short term. Just a month later in Oct 16, terrorists attacked the camp of 46 Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla in which one officer was killed. Two terrorists were also killed in the ensuing firefight. In another attack in Nov 16, terrorists opened fire on personnel in an army base in Nagrota. In this attack seven soldiers lost their lives. Three terrorists were also killed in this encounter. In May 17 terrorists killed Lieutenant Umar Fayaz who had gone to attend a family wedding in Kulgam. In yet another attack, in Jul 17 terrorists attacked Amarnath yatris in which eight innocent civilians including six women were killed. On the borders too, their Border Action Teams have been continuously attacking our soldiers and posts. This has been accompanied with fire assaults which apart from targeting our posts were also aimed at villages near the border. Just last week, Captain Kundu and three soldiers were martyred in Rajouri when their post was attacked with an Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM). And now we have an attack on the Sunjawan camp near Jammu where terrorists entered the family quarters and killed six soldiers who ironically hailed from the Kashmir valley.
This is not to say that after the surgical strikes we’ve been quietly enduring Pakistan’s misdemeanors. We too have launched fire assaults on their posts and have killed many of their soldiers. In this year alone we’ve killed 20 of their soldiers across the border. However, this may not be enough. I’d like to believe that our retaliation has not been commensurate with their provocation. As the Sunjawan attack shows, our response hasn’t deterred them from attacking us with impunity. We’ve now reached a situation which demands a serious response. Anything less would not be enough to deter Pakistan. This doesn’t imply that the surgical strikes or fire assaults were not serious in nature. They were, but their scope and aim was limited. If launched again today, they may not be enough to achieve the objective that we now desire. What we now need is something which will break their will of causing repeated damage through direct or indirect means. If we don’t act now, Pakistan will get further emboldened and will keep inflicting more damage upon us. They have to be stopped. There can be little doubt about that.
Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us if we see some action on our borders in the coming months. This action may not be on a large scale but it would surely be much bigger than the surgical strikes. It is also likely to include physical capture of some territory which we may use to bargain with Pakistan. For the moment we do not need to escalate things further. Pakistan on its own is galloping towards its jehadi destruction of its own volition. We don’t need to destroy them. They themselves are doing our job for us. Our further course of action will depend upon Pakistan’s response. In all probability they’ll understand the seriousness of our intent and will not escalate the issue militarily. I say this on account of two reasons. The first is that unlike us, Pakistan doesn’t have the money to fight a war. As I had brought out earlier in my earlier video and blog post Four Steps to Handle Pakistan, Pakistan is on the verge of defaulting on its debt payments. According to reports they have less than 20 billion dollars in their foreign reserve. If they pick a fight with us they’ll be doomed.
The second reason why I believe that escalation is unlikely is that China would be extremely wary of such a thing happening. The Chinese have invested nearly 50 billion dollars in Pakistan on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which could come under threat if things go out of hand. As it is, the Chinese projects are facing problems with the Baloch and other locals who believe that China is trying to exploit their resources. If there was a war between India and Pakistan it would further complicate matters. Hence, it is unlikely that they would support Pakistan on this issue.
As things stand today, America too would not come out to help Pakistan in such a scenario. On the contrary, America would be only too happy to see Pakistan being taught a lesson. Donald Trump has clearly told Pakistan that they shouldn’t expect US aid to be given to them if they do not act against terror.
So what exactly are the possibilities? We can expect a short and swift operation to begin with, during which we will capture some territory. This is quite possibly going to be an operation involving the army only, though heavy artillery and rockets will surely be used. Air force is unlikely to be used as it would imply that we wish to escalate matters, an impression we may not like to give, for now at least. However, both air force as well as navy will have to be prepared to respond if Pakistan retaliates disproportionately. And they will respond to regain its losses, for sure. In all likelihood, because of the reasons mentioned above, they’d respond rationally. We should expect them to retaliate at the locations where we attack. Their local action wouldn’t succeed as we’d be adequately prepared for their response. Pakistan would then start making all kinds of noises in international forums and media against the Indian attack. Whether we give the territory back to Pakistan or not will then depend upon the PM, Mr Narendra Modi and the diplomatic parleys of the wily National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. It’ll also depend upon what kind of assurances Pakistan gives for not supporting terrorist activities and whether we want to believe them or not.
This may not be the solution to the problems we have with Pakistan but for now this is what which looks likely. At this point, I must add that this is my analysis of the situation and in no-way reflects the thought process of govt of India.
So, tighten your seat belts as the ride could get a bit bumpy by the beginning of summer.