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Raging Pulwama

Raging Pulwama

Only three days after the dastardly attack on the CRPF convoy which killed 44 soldiers, Indian forces comprising personnel of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, two battalions of the CRPF and the Special Operation Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police sprung into action with the information of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants hiding in the area. Pinglena area of South Kashmir's Pulwama district saw open fire between JeM militants and Indian forces leaving 3 terrorists dead and also a loss of at least 4 soldiers. One of the terrorists killed in the 12-hour encounter was a close aide of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar while the other, Ghazi Rasheed, was an Afghan bomb specialist alleged to have trained the Pulwama perpetrator Adil Ahmad Dar. India got its hands on a dreaded terrorist in Kamran, JeM's chief operational commander and Azhar's aide who was primarily known for radicalising and training terrorists in Kashmir Valley. The entire nation mourned the death of our brave men who were killed in the convoy attack. As PM gave the nod to the army for retribution, all political parties united on India's determination to fight terrorism. A short-lived unanimous assertion of the political spectrum in the wake of the horrific incident cited India's commitment to its national security – breached and toyed with by the Pakistan-supported terror outfit. India, in its attempt to tackle this breach effectively, took steps to isolate Pakistan besides urging it to eradicate terror groups from its soil. India hiked the basic customs duty on all goods imported from Pakistan to 200 per cent. It also received condolences from nations across the globe for the loss it endured. India also urged the international community to consider JeM leader Masood Azhar as a UN-designated terrorist. The diplomatic retaliation from India should bring aboard strong support from the international community in cornering Pakistan over its alleged support to terror outfits. It can be deciphered how the Pulwama incident was not a spontaneous show from Adil's video released by JeM. But it also cites the careful planning and infiltration of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) specialists to train locals in making and using IEDs. The plot and the support to carry out the attack under the nose of intelligence points out the lapses on Indian state's part. India had information prior to the attack which could have been utilised to prevent the attack by securing the convoy or doing reconnaissance before sending out such a large convoy. However, none of the safeguards was considered. The security protocols that were re-examined after the Cabinet meeting urged the deployment of modern technology – drones, mine-protected vehicles, explosive detectors and jammers – which will be beneficial in future transportations of personnel. The pertinent question is why not before. Why wait till something happens and then act. It is not like that part of the Valley has not had any history of incidents. If safeguards were in place, we may not have lost the 44 jawans. Retribution is a strong feeling brewing in the hearts of every Indian but before that, there should be proper acceptance of the fact that it is also our laxity that let the terror outfits capitalise on our lacunae. The Ministry of Home Affairs has now approved a plan to charter flights to transport Central Armed Police Forces personnel deployed in the Valley. Still, what is lost is lost, and all that remains is the undying sense of vengeance gripping the common Indian. The Valley was shut down amidst protests while the Indian forces carried out tactical search operations to track down JeM militants. Having failed on the preventive side, India has come strong on the retributive aspect both on diplomatic as well as military fronts. No one would have imagined that from the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor, the bilateral relationship would take such a turn as it has. It is just like it has been every time with Pakistan barely making any inroads in mending ties despite the Imran Khan government assuming power and claiming to be the 'naya Pakistan' with a pro-India stance. While India takes precision airstrikes or surgical alternatives into consideration, it should aptly take into account the security and intelligence lapses. Pakistan's precarious economy should leave it in a tight spot in the wake of international condemnation towards it for being a breeding ground to terror outfits such as JeM. In this case, it is Pakistan which is walking a thin rope while India must strive to do whatever there is to do in its capacity to have Pakistan act on it instead of sheltering these terrorists.

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