Proof, evidence or details of surgical strikes: what Indian politicians want?
India’s pre-emptive strike across the LoC on several terrorist launch-pads following Uri attack suggests tactical departure from its over-glorified restrained approach. The one-off attack on the terrorist bases can hardly be termed as a strategic change, but the long awaited shift is certainly aimed at getting free from indecision and inaction over Pakistan’s policy to bleed India through thousand cuts. It also created the “halo effect” of quick-strike success.
The question remains whether it is an ad-hoc reaction to Uri attack or part of larger strategy to deter Pakistan so that it can stop backing terrorist group acting against India, both formally and informally.
Therefore, pre-emptive strike has to be part of a prudent strategy, and it appears government is exploring for one. And foremost among it would be to counter the propaganda war of Pakistan army, and of course some of our own politicians, who appears to have more faith in Pakistan army than our own army.
The kind of propaganda unleashed by the Pakistan army after India declared its military operation in Pakistan occupied Kashmir is worthy of praise! Flying pro-Pakistan national and international journalist for landscape/scenic tourism around the border areas to prove that no strategical strike has ever taken place is laudable, even if out rightly paradoxically. The curated tour had its impact, though only at media level and no country has officially challenged or countered India’s narratives.
However, the biggest impact of the news was felt in India. Few politicians, a handful of them, in a circuitous manner echoed Pakistan army’s line- in other words, demanded government to establish the fact that it had carried out the surgical strike-the tailpiece being to counter the Pakistani narrative.
India wasn’t surprise as would have any other democracy in the world; clearly, because these are the same people who have taken similar antagonistic stand on everything current NDA government does. However, this time they have crossed the limits, and have not only challenged the government but have harmed India’s global stand and its reputation.
Political calculations have taken over national interest. Apparently, this whole drama over substantiating the DGMO claims has two major impacts- first; it sent a mixed signal to Indians about army’s capacities and capabilities, it at the same time created fractions within society on the government’s intentions and determination to fight Pakistan’s evil design. Secondly, it has given Pakistan army the desired breathing space it desperately needed in this crucial time, it has directed all its media to focus on the contradiction India’s political class is displaying shamelessly.
India news channel has simply fallen in the trap. It is ceaselessly covering the issues which deserved zero or minimal coverage, without considering the ramification. This is exactly what Pakistan army and the political class in India wanted- an injudicious debate over a meaningless issue.
The matter of the fact is even the political class don’t know what exactly they want. Do they want evidence, which are basically suggestive in nature? That for me or for most of the citizens of India is simply the press conference of the DGMO, Indian Army. The value of the words, that too of Indian army officials, who are normally very meticulous with style and locution, is evidence itself.
Second is proof, a proof is conclusive in nature. Given the political appetite of the politicians, who are demanding the proof, it would be unwise to believe that the proof would satiate their demand. A demand born out of malicious intent can never be fulfilled.
Most importantly, it can compromise Indian methods, equipment of the Special Forces and also the humint across the Line of Control, as suggested by national security analyst Nitin Gokhale and other experts. It will also open the gate of frequent politicization of every military operations India conduct. At security level, public disclosure might push Pakistan to escalate the violence, which I suppose Indian army would be perfectly ready for.
Third is detail. Details are elaborate comprehensive information about an event. A descriptive detail can be as perilous as proof. It would require all the information to clearly and successfully portray the series of events during the military operations.
The only option the government has to substantiate its claims is to bring out a narrative detail with name of the locations, number of targets, and possible fatalities. It must however, does it at a time of its choosing, and not under the political pressure from its opponents. The aim must be to bridge the gap those frivolous demands have created in the minds of people, and not to appease any politicians.