This stream of thoughts was shared by me on Twitter last night in the immediate aftermath of the Pulwama Attack. Putting them here for archival purposes.
Firstly, what happened and how it happened is by now well known. So I won’t talk about it. In addition, it continues to be my belief that it is Pakis that are behind it. Thoughts on that are embedded in THIS blog post.
Let me concentrate instead on some thoughts that have been wracking my head for the past few hours.
Firstly, and strictly a personal opinion, this is partly a manifestation of the planned US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Logistics & efforts from that end can now safely and easily be diverted to the 1000 year war that Bhutto promised before he was hanged.
Coming to timing, it couldn’t have been better, or worse, for that matter, depending on the glasses you wear while observing it – General elections on the horizon, Governor’s rule in Kashmir .. and more importantly, the Saudi Crown Prince about to land up in the sub continent. What sort of messaging might be going on, I’ll leave it for you to decipher.
Btw, on a not so unrelated note, next month is the 19th anniversary of the Chittishingpura massacre that happened on the eve of US President Bill Clinton’s visit to the sub continent.
That there is a definite, even if unintended, political angle to this is undeniable. All one needs to do is go thru the TL’s of some ‘celebrity’ journos and politicos. Of course, there are folks saying this was done solely for political purposes.
With the surgical strikes, including the recent bollywood movie, behind them, there seems to be absolutely no way that this govt won’t react. And given the magnitude of the attack, a similar surgical strike which the Pakis can easily deny, won’t cut it. In any case, this is something they must already be guarding against. Hence, I would personally rule out another surgical strike in which own soldiers will go across this time.
How and what shape might the reprisal take, I’ll leave to the CCS that meets soon.
But one thing is for sure – quite a LOT of folks won’t get much sleep tonight, on both sides of the LoC and within the hinterland.
Just as the attack, the response too needs to be ‘spectacular’, and one that is equally visible to the whole world. Herein lies the difference between the
#PulwamaAttack and the Uri Attack – visuals of the attack itself.
Incidentally, just as the Uri attack itself, the reprisal in the form of the surgical strikes too was away from the ‘limelight’ until formally announced by the Indian Army. Hence, the Brown Pants of the Paki Fauj could so easily just dismiss the same.
This is what makes the job of the CCS that meets soon, a bit more complicated – An attack that was SEEN by the whole world deserves a response that is equally visible.
Now come the big questions – WHEN and HOW?
Firstly, let me talk about the ‘When’.
With the Saudi Prince very nearly on his way, would the GOI wait for his visit to culminate before doing anything and putting India – Saudi relations in an awkward place?
It is a very serious question indeed, given the recent uptick in the relationship. But in any case, his visit to both the countries will still be overshadowed by the incident.
On that note, why do I get a feeling that phone lines between New Delhi and Riyadh will be quite busy tonight. However small, but what might be the odds of the visit of the Saudi Prince being rescheduled in light of this attack, I wonder..
But the fact remains, that time is running out for the govt even as I type this. By that, I mean that time is running out politically as the elections come closer and closer.
Already, a narrative is building up, on twitter atleast, against the Govt and its security policies. So, the question of WHEN is a critical one for the govt, lest a response be spun as a political gimmick to win an election.
I mean that in all seriousness. My opinion is bolstered by the fact that more than just a few folks actually call Kargil as Vajpayee’s Re-Election War.
Now coming to the question of HOW.
A reprisal can take many forms – Diplomatic, Economic, or Military. I guess, whatever happens, a military response is a given, along with a Diplomatic one.
What form might the military response take, needs to be seen.
Like I said earlier, this time a Surgical Strike won’t cut it. The response simply HAS to be big, and more importantly, visible to all. In fact a highly visible response needn’t be that big since a very visible slap on the face of the Paki Fauj too will suffice.
Despite being in the news for all the wrong reasons, the Indian Air Force still remains leagues ahead of the PAF, as does the Indian missile force when compared to what the Pakis can bring to bear of their own.
Just got this on my mentions tab.
All I’ll offer is that Pakis are bluffing. The facade of irrationality will work only till such time someone gets ready to call their bluff. The moment you do so, you’ll find others joining you.
Talking of Paki bluff, how many of you remember PAF’s ‘valourous’ CAP sorties over Lahore and Islamabad as the Mumbai attacks raged in Nov 2008? Chests puffed, Pakis cheered them on, just because the IAF permitted them to fly unmolested.
Your army is as strong as you want it to be.
No enemy can stand in front of it.
Here’s a bet – within 24 hours atleast one ‘prominent’ Paki will remind the whole world that Pakis are a nuclear power.
That bombast is what has worked so far, but ONLY because no one has called them out on that.
I had tweeted this nearly four years ago. This decade is still not done, btw.
I am not saying this will precipitate another war. Far from it. All I am saying is that the sheer audacity and timing of it all means that there will be something coming their way soon enough.
Oh, btw, forget about the Kartarpur Corridor It will remain yet another election issue against the govt, just as I mentioned some months ago in THIS blog post.
Let me end this blog post with a prayer for the martyred CRPF boys and a hope that the Nation gives it back to the perpetrators in a form not seen for a long time.
Om Shanti ..