Is a war on the cards or will India inflict Pakistan with a ‘thousand cuts’
New Delhi, Oct 3: India has taken an aggressive approach in the wake of the unending escalation of violence by Pakistan. Sushma Swaraj's tough talk at the United Nations was followed by a stern message by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The PM while stating that India favour peace, however added that it would not be at the cost of self-respect. The jawans will retaliate, he also added. This was followed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying that something big had happened at the border.
BSF sources confirmed to OneIndia that they had inflicted heavy damage on Pakistan's assets following heavy artillery shelling.
The question on everyone's mind is whether India would go in for a full-fledged war or would there be measured strikes to subdue the enemy. Army chief, General Bipin Rawat had said recently that there was need for more surgical strikes on Pakistan.
This brings us to the policy that India has on Pakistan. Is a full fledged war feasible and will the Indian economy be able to sustain it at this juncture?
The thousand cuts:
Pakistan's policy towards India is that of a thousand cuts. It would not be wrong to say that Pakistan has any intention of changing this policy. India has opted for various options when it came to dealing with Pakistan. Among these have been speaking on the world stage on Pakistan sponsored terror, suspending talks and also increasing deployment along the border.
While increasing deployment along the border does help, the fact is that it does cost a lot of money too. Take for instance Operation Parakram. The mobilisation following the attack on Parliament cost the country Rs 1,000 crore. The cost of such an operation today would be much more than Rs 1,000 crore today.
In the aftermath of the Pathankot attack, India had said that it would cause Pakistan pain.
There was however no immediate retaliation and India decided that it would continue talking with Pakistan. Talks did take place at the NSA level, but the sincerity of Pakistan was always doubted. Pakistan tried to confuse and mislead and one such instance was when Pakistan's NSA informed India that 10 terrorists had crossed over into Gujarat. Those 10 terrorists have not been found till date.
This was meant to look like a good will gesture by Pakistan, but it turned out to be a blatant lie. The fact remains that Pakistan has not dismantled the terror infrastructure of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad responsible for the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, Parliament and Pathankot strikes.
India has always had a measured response when it came to Pakistan. The big action that one got to see recently were the surgical strikes in the aftermath of the Uri attack. It did damage a considerable amount of terror infrastructure, but the need for more has arisen as 25 terror launchpads hosting 300 terrorists across the border have come up.
The Pakistan army:
The big problem lies with the Pakistan army and its unwillingness to resolve the Kashmir issue. Successive governments in Pakistan have offered to resolve this issue, but the Pakistan army has always played spoilsport. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered his hand of friendship, he got the Kargil war in return. Similarly when Modi made the surprise visit to Pakistan and met with Nawaz Sharif, what followed seven days later was the Pathankot attack.
Security analysts say that with the current dispensation under Imran Khan the last thing to expect is a resolution. From day one it was clear that he was a puppet of the Pakistan army and even within Pakistan, there are allegations that the army had rigged the elections for him.
It was also probably for the first time in Pakistan the choice to appoint an ISI chief was not given to the PM. Normally the army chief sends out three names and the PM is supposed to pick one. This time Imran Khan had no choice as the army chief sent out just one name.
What option does India have?
India has exercised various options in the past. One of the most explored options was suspension of talks. In the existing situation, this does not appear to be an option as there is heavy escalation of tensions along the border.
The other would be to maintain an offensive-defence along the Line of Control. This would limit infiltration to a large extent. However India could only hope that Pakistan would realise that deploying terrorists along the border is a futile exercise.
The other option would be a series of surgical strikes, which would help push the enemy backwards. Sustained heavy artillery firing is another option. Basically the idea would be to keep the heat on at all times, so as to not give the enemy time to re-group.
The last option is a full-fledged war. There are many concerns around a full-fledged war. First it would take a toll on the economy. Second with both nations be nuclear states, it is not always the safest option. The mood in Delhi is clear and that there would be severe retaliation. None are thinking about a war, but in the days to come one would get to witness a series of sustained strikes in a bid to push the enemy backwards and keep the heat on.