India’s strategic paradigm shift
The DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, was laconic like a good prosecutor in a court of law. In a 6-point statement – neither he nor the ministry of external affairs spokesperson ,Vikas Swarup took questions – he first laid the facts that constituted the background. Then he described the mid-night to dawn Thursday commando raid across the LoC between Pakistan and India in Kupwara and Poonch. The four locations across were Bimber, Lipa, Tatta Pani, and Kel. A paradigm shift this, one thought.
But, no, is it not the case that occasionally when the threshold of pain for politically controlled Indian Army gets crossed, they in turn pass on some of that pain to the other side. Hasn’t it been the long standing dynamic of the almost eternal Indo-Pak military rivalry? So what changed this time?
What changed this time is the name calling of Narendra (Jumla) Modi that had been going on for some time now – since Pathankot and then Uri. The PM, Modi needed badly to show that his middle name is not earned. So between 12:30 AM and 4:30 in the morning, paracommandos winged up in helicopters to the LoC, crossed it and killed approximately 38 terrorists and their handlers. In the process, two Pakistan army soldiers were also killed.
As the word of the operation spread in Delhi, the ecosphere of the security-related professionals began gingerly talking about how this specific group of terrorists was lodged at four locations, what are called launch-pads. They were under the intense gaze of the multiple intelligence agencies of the country and they were being tracked – physically, electronically and other ‘national technical means.’ And there is a paradigm shift, in terms of strategic communication.
For the first time Indian authorities went to town to tell the world what they have done. Immediately, in Islamabad and Rawalpindi the bells started tolling. PM Mian Nawaz Sharif went on the radio and announced that “naked aggression of Indian forces along the LoC, he (Sharif) said Pakistan can thwart any evil design to undermine the sovereignty of Pakistan.” Readers, please note the word ‘along’ which cancels out ‘across!’ But by then the Pakistan army had realised that despite two of their own laying down their lives, Indian operations were well under their threshold of pain.
General Raheel Sharif would really like to grow roses, some would think, after November when retires. Why get into a situation when he has to undertake a whole and holistic operation of mobilising the armed forces of his country and then go to fight a war that at best will be costly. At worst, it could lead up to a 1971 like situation.