August 7, 2015

Why India needs to punish Pakistan, hit them hard

The Pakistani terrorist caught alive during the National highway 1 A operation is smoking gun evidence of Pakistan continuing to aid, abet and sponsor terror in India. The Global Positioning system recovered from the three Pakistani terrorists killed in Gurdaspur offensive indicates the terrorists started from Shakargarh in Pakistan, crossed the Ravi river, in spate and went to the national highway before branching off towards Gurdaspur.
Pakistan initially did not accept 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab was a Pakistani, Rawalpindi is unlikely to accept Usman alias Naved Khan is Pakistani or from a village in Faislabad not far from the Professor of terror Hafiz Mohammed Saeed’s headquarters in Murdke.
The Line of Control (LoC) south of Pir Panjal is hotting up with increased exchanges from Poonch sector to the International Border. Join the dots – Pakistan is clearly upping the ante. Why? Few people understand Pakistan better than Ajit Doval, the national security advisor and former director of Intelligence Bureau. Delivering the Lalit Doshi Memorial lecture in Mumbai on August 5, 2015 Doval said our weakness is a provocation to the enemy to attack us. He also went on to say India has traditionally punched below its weight. Ajit Doval’s solution is India should increase its weight and punch proportionately to deter the adversary. In the past he has been quoted as saying another Mumbai and Pakistan could lose Balochistan.
Are these terror attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur testing the will of the Narendra Modi government and the resolve of his national security advisor? Are these probe missions to check how and if at all India will respond to Pakistan sponsored terror? Is the Narendra Modi government any different from the Manmohan Singh or other past governments when it comes to responding to Pakistan’s constant provocations? Because all along India has said Pakistan should not test our patience and we reserve the right to respond at a place and time of our choosing? Is the current leadership of different mettle?
My sources in the Border Security Force and the army, deployed along the international border and the army say the response since May 2014 is certainly far more pronounced. For every one shell from Pakistan there are five fired and each for effect. If Pakistani shelling kills Indian civilians, the message for Pakistan is your civilians are not more precious and punitive response follows. This has been described as a dangerous escalation but both the army and BSF insist has had the desired effect.
But infiltration still continues unabated. The planned policy of razing the Pakistani post that pushes infiltrators or provides them cover fire is still not being implemented though both military and civilian casualties are said to be higher on the other side of the LoC and IB. Are punitive strikes a deterrent? If so why is there no drop in the level of infiltration attempts? On the contrary, terrorists aided by Pakistan army have opened a new front – moving into Punjab and fomenting more trouble in the state.
Now India is raising the issue of Pakistan sponsored terror at multiple levels internationally. New Delhi is systematically moving to legally and diplomatically expose Pakistan’s role in exporting trouble to India. Ajit Doval’s team is also trying to block availability of funds to terrorist organisations, a task easier said than done.
So what is it that India must do at this stage? Because rhetoric of punishing Pakistan and not following it up with action will only make the Mil-Jihad complex treat India with more contempt. Prime Minister Modi can ill afford that. India must inflict pain beyond the borders in mainland Pakistan. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar told me during Aajtak Manthan guns aimed at India can be turned around. If India does have a plan it must be put into action without delay. India along with friends in the region must also ensure Pakistan’s game plan in Afghanistan does not succeed. The US and China may not agree with India but it is essential for India to protect our national interests first. Pakistan on the edge along the Durand Line is never good news for Rawalpindi.
Good people to people contact between India and Pakistan always makes the Pindi-Muridke combine very uncomfortable. While it is not time to resume bilateral cricketing ties India must ensure people to people cultural and business relations remain on an even keel. With the world looking at India and Pakistan, it is a good idea to go ahead with the National Security Advisor level talks. India has proposed August 23 and 24 as dates for talks. Pakistan is yet to respond. India must make use of this opportunity to put all evidence in public domain. On the broadcast several guests said India should produce the Pakistani terrorist caught in Udhampur on display and let him speak to Sartaj Aziz in New Delhi.   
India must continue to build credible evidence of Pakistan sponsoring terror in India and put it out in public domain for the world to see. A strong Pakistan is never in India’s interest but a jelly state clearly would mean Pakistani mil-Jihad leadership has more on its internal plate to handle than focus on India. While India is punishing Pakistan along the LoC and IB, few people know better than Ajit Doval how to inflict pain on terror perpetrators in Pakistan. Ajit Doval talks of raising costs for Pakistan, so that terror is not a viable option of Pakistan’s state policy. Now is the time for action.


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