Dr Kapil K Sharma
Balakot air strikes on early morning of 26th February2019 was just not a simple air strike. This step changed the sub continental Geo strategical Doctrine. A lot is said about these air strikes. As expected Pakistani response was” Nothing Happened”.
My objective to write this article is not to authenticate stand of India or Pakistan. My very objective is to highlight various other findings post Balakot which has changed Indo-sino- Pak strategical Theatre.
Readers must have not forgotten very first announcement of Air strikes was made by Pakistan itself. Which was a big first.Pakistani acknowledgment of it’sairspace violation and that too deep inside in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area is itself a pandemic change in Indo Pak scenario. It was first time India Bombarded Pakistan during Peace time ( Not during War). Remember surgical strikes were done in POK and Pak never acknowledges that.
Point worth noticing is India didn’t face any sort of condemnation from any country in the world. Can you imagine if today a sovereign country bombards other sovereign country what sort of international criticism it faces? Even Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Indonesia and all weather friend China were all quiet. Balakot made sure India can enter Pakistan at free will in case of any other terror attack emanating from Pak soil.
Another development linked with post Balakot went unnoticed was – Just before Pulwama Iranian soldiers at Pak- Iran border were ambushed by Pak based Anti Iranian Militants ( Jaish – ul-Adl) Soon after Balakot Iran which was dormant till then adopted aggressive pasture. Iran openly lamented in international media citing Pak hand behind attacks on its soldiers. In retaliation six Pak soldiers were killed near Pak Iran border. It was unprecedented.
Balakot has made sustaining militancy much more expensive for Pakistan. Continuous scare of Indian attack on Terror camps will force Pakistan to incur more expenditure on security and maintenance of terror training and Launch Pads. Luke warm response of Allies like China, Saudi etc has instilled doubts in Pak think tanks that Pakistan can be abandoned during Global backlash. Shifting terrorist camps close to habituated areas is option left to Pakistan. By doing so it can check India striking again citing civilian casualties. In doing so Pakistan will risk contaminating it’s local population with terror Frankenstein.
Post Balakot Downing of F-16 and Mig 21. A war Hysteria was created. Very few will be knowing the fact that in Pakistan war scare was many times more than India. Almost all Pakistani major cities including Karachi observed Blackouts. Indian attack scare was so high that Pakistan closed its airspace for months together. Those days PSL Pakistani cricket league (Pak version of IPL)was going on. Just because of fear psychosis Pak shifted all Lahore matches to other venues.
Another reason behind closing air space was to save aviation fuel. Due to bad economic conditions Pak was not in a position to procure expansive Aviation fuel hence civilian demand was curtailed.
Indian pressure through other Foreign Nations like USA, Saudi Arabia and UAE was so high that captured Pilot Wing com. Abhinandan was returned to India in 48 hrs. Hights is India didn’t formally made any request. For release. This rendered Pak Domestic audience very demoralised. Pak Media is calling it a Meek Surrender.
Balakot made India think beyond Military and Diplomatic pressure. WATER-” Future wars will be fought for water.” Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries as far as water scarcity is concerned. Pakistan knows it very well. Under Indus Water Treaty India is given full control over three rivers : Ravi, Sutlej and Beas. So far India is not using water of these three rivers to the fullest. Post Balakot India has started working to divert entire water flow towards India. Since treaty allows us hence we are safe even if ICJ(International court of Justice) is approached by Pakistan. ShahpurKandi Dam is one such example. Pakistan is enjoying Indian generosity for years, crop after crop. Post Balakot India has practically started work to divert waters of these three rivers towards India whenever needed.
Balakot has made Pakistan more and more indebted to China. Because ofMasood Azhar China has been cornered which is not at all likable to a country considering itself a super power. International pressure was so great that China was forced to issue a white paper saying 26/11 attack on Mumbai was a terror activity. I don’t remember when was other times China issued White Paper pertaining to other country.
Pakistan has a doctrine ” Bleed India through thousand cuts”. Pak got so obsessed with this doctrine it failed to recognise the fact that Pak itself is haemorrhaging.
Pakistan has gone Bankrupt. 13 IMF bailouts in 72 years summarise all. Balakot should act as an eye opener for Pak to change its age old policy.
Billawal Bhutto main opposition leader of PPP openly criticized Pak state policy of harbouring terrorist groups like Jaish, LET, etc. This is not common that Pak mainstream political party criticizes Islamic Militant organisations. Credit must go to post Balakot narrative built all-over. Even Imran Khan during his latest Iran visit admitted openly that Pakistan has remained breeding ground of Jihadis in past.
OIC ( Organisation of Islamic Nations) has always remained the best bastion for anti India propaganda by Pakistan. Post Balakot Pakistan was dumped by OIC just to accommodate presence of Indian Minister of External affairs Sushma Swaraj. Who could have imagined this a few years back?
Pressure by India on IMF and FATF (Financial Action Task Force) are one of the reasons behind delayed IMF bail out and Pak on verge of being blacklisted by FATF. India up the ante post Balakot and results arethere to be observed by everyone.
(The author is ex consultant as ASCOMS & Hospital)
Dr Kapil K Sharma