Jammu and Kashmir witnessed two dreaded attacks in quick succession. Both were meant to coincide with the death anniversaries of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat apart from the growing adventurism by Pakistan to step up the heat in the Valley.
As expected there was a rhetoric and counter-rhetoric both India and Pakistan. While India warned of the most stringent action, Pakistan said any such move would be strongly countered.
Post every attack, there is always talk about whether there was intelligence or not. While there was specific intelligence on the Pathankot attack, in the case of Sunjuwan, it was general in nature. Prior to the Sunjuwan attack, the intelligence bureau had flashed a message across the police stations of Kashmir warning about a strike on an Army camp. It did not say where the attack would take place, but did add that all military installations were vulnerable.
Prior to the Pathankot attack, National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval had briefed the National Security Guard and the three military chiefs that the air base was vulnerable to a strike. The pin-pointed intelligence was given on the basis of specific inputs and intercepts. He had also told his counterpart in Pakistan, Nasir Januja to ensure that the Jaish-e-Mohammad should be stopped.
However it appears as though the intelligence fell on deaf ears. The Jaish terrorists managed to scale the base by cutting concertina wires. The Jaish carried out a similar operation in Sunjuwan too. A similar operation was also carried out at Lethopora and Uri.
Counter-terror officials say that it always hurt when intelligence is passed on and the same is not acted upon. It is absolutely necessary to make intelligence actionable failing which we will witness such strikes. It can be demoralising for both the Military and the Intelligence. Moreover making intelligence actionable is the key to fighting terror rather than going on a rhetoric post an attack, officials explain.
In the past two years the number of attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have been on the rise. While a good number in the top command have been wiped out, the foot soldiers are very much active. There are an estimated 300 terrorists who still roam the Valley, an IB report states.
A top official in Delhi explains that when intelligence is passed on, the reaction on the other side must be quick. It cannot be lethargic in nature and the reaction must be real time. Intelligence is very often provided real time and if the reaction time is slow, then battle is lost, the officer explained.
To fight the war against terror, there are several factors that need to be taken into account. Intelligence, security, counter-terror and diplomacy all go hand in hand in such a battle. Terror groups would look to derail peace talks. Not acting on intelligence saw the terrorists scale both Pathankot and Uri and on both occasions, attempts at diplomacy were being made which unfortunately derailed as a result of these attacks, the officer also explained.
Such terror strikes also kill continuity. If the two nations are in the process of talks and there is a terror attack, then the discussions always begin with the latest incident. It does not move past that the officer also explained.