Brig Arun Bajpai
Recently Prime Minister Modi gave an interview in which he spoke almost on all subjects including Pakistan. When asked why cross border terror has not stopped despite surgical strike two years back, he said that it will take more time for Pakistan to mend it ways. The problem with Indian political masters is that for reasons best known to them they keep either a bureaucrat or a policeman as their National Security Advisor. In the current case it is NSA Ajit Doval Sahib a policeman who is all in all . He is even head of Strategic Planning Group where the three Services Chiefs are members along with the Defence Secretary. Needless to say in a country where instead of a military man a police man is planning strategy these flip flops in foreign policies will be common happenings. But then they will definitely hurt future of the country.
Prime Minster Modi took over the command as PM of India in May 2014. From 2014 to 2016 PM Modis approach to Pakistan veered from warm embraces to sudden put downs. He suddenly decided, while returning from Afghanistan to land at Lahore to wish the then Pakistani Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif happy birthday on 25 December 2015. Pakistan read Pakistani army, replied this good gesture by launching a jehadi attack by its sponsored jehadis on Pathankot Air Base in first week of January of 2016. This started the hot cross border exchanges of fire. Whole of 2016 to 2017 was consumed in cross border firings, physical attacks and a surgical strike. During this period Modi Ji rightly said that terrorism and dialogue can not go together. There is no doubt that Indian foreign policy success has been in isolating Pakistan on terror. Nevertheless these efforts did not work out in terms of foreign policy with Pakistan, case in point is that surgical strike was meant to deter Pakistan from cross border jihadi attacks, but that did not happen. Just two months after Surgical Strike , a far more serious jihadi attack was launched by Pakistani Army in Nagrota. Much more serious attack than URI jehadi attack whose counter was surgical strike. However instead of launching another surgical strike India did not retaliate. Similarly there was no response to Pakistani Army sponsored Jaish Mohammed jihadi attack in 2018 in Sunjuwan. So what message has gone across that Indians are afraid and not capable of launching more surgical strikes ? Meanwhile Pakistani Army BAT teams are functioning as usual. Latest being their failed attempt on 30 December 2018. For a strange reason Indian ardour of Surgical Strikes cooled down after one such strike in 2016 and in order to curb cross border violence, India agreed to re implement with Pakistan the 2003 cease fire accord, which Pakistani Army keeps on breaking every second day and we keep on launching protests with Pakistan. After new Pakistani PM , Imran khan took over in 2018, India even agreed to a dialogue with Pakistan but then later called it off.
On Surgical strike , a minor military operation which Indian Army is capable of launching daily , whatever PM Modi ji might say , it was his party which politicised this operation. It was BJP which disclosed it, praised it, then it was used in UP elections. This surgical strike was celebrated in the entire length and breadth of the country in all schools and universities as Surgical Strike Day. Needless to say Modi Jis Pakistan policy lacks consistency. God knows what advice he is getting and from whom , but it lacks coherence. Things happen and experiments take place as if decided on daily basis. Nothing long term. Compare this with Pakistan . In 1971 after loss of half of Pakistan as Bangladesh, thanks to Indian Armed Forces , then PM of Pakistan Bhutto said we will eat grass but will make a nuclear bomb which they did by late eighties. In 1988 Pakistan started proxy war on India with specific aim of bleeding India by thousand cuts . Despite 30 years gone they are unflinchingly at it while we keep on changing our Pakistan policy on drop of a hat.
Time has come in India also for our political masters to realise that they also must now appoint right people at right place. NSA must be from Armed Forces . Chief of Defence Staff system lying sanctioned since 2003 must be put in place. One surgical strike is no deterrent to dissuade Pakistan from cross border terror. Every cross border activity of Pakistani jihadis must be retaliated by a surgical strike by India which must kill Pakistani soldiers , because killing jihadis has no meaning, these jihadis are canon fodders for Pakistan. India must understand that Pakistan read Pakistani Army will never be our friends. So all this friendship talks must be dumped. Agreed that all our surgical strikes will not be successful but then that is part of the game. At times we will have to suffer casualties and attrition. In their hatred for India , Pakistan has already become a colony of China especially after CPEC. So let us be practical. Pakistan must be broken into four independent states starting from Baluchistan and Sind. Earlier our political masters understand this better it will be.
Brig Arun Bajpai