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Balakot strikes – A success or a failure?

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Abhishek Mishra
Abhishek Mishra
Strategic analyst and political commentator with two decades of experience in Security & Investigations industry currently leading a multinational at S Asia

India has been fighting an unconventional war for over three decades. On 14th  February 2019, Kashmir was bombed again. 40 brave paramilitary troops were killed in a ghastly act by terrorists. It was not the first-time valley was wounded. After 1971 surrender, Pakistan changed her war tactics with India. They targeted civilian population of Indian border states “psychologically” winning their hearts and minds by arousing their religious beliefs and fanning hatred towards the kafir Hindus. After considerable success in the brainwash, civilians were armed with weapons to target military and political establishments of India compelling us to act against our own thus rendering our military proficiency irrelevant. Our military has been responding and winning tactical battles on ground but due to lack of strategic planning at the very top, the war has continued. For more than three decades, we had limited answer to war in a modern avatar unleased on us. Aftermath Balakot, this changed with PM Modi and his team having provided the strategic direction to the Indian military which like always responded, this time silencing the enemy guns for a long time.

In 2002, we had eight major terrorist strikes in the country while in 2008 we had eleven. After Modi was sworn in as the PM, we were stuck by major terrorist strikes at least 10 times in less than two years finally leading to Uri attack in 2016. However, the location of all these terrorist activities were limited to Kashmir indicating that our perennial enemy had advised terrorist sleeper cells operating in India to sleep till Mr. Modi is at the helm of the affairs.  When Uri happened, the threshold of the PM was breached even at Kashmir.  Indian armed forces had recently avenged the deaths of her soldiers by crossing international border into Myanmar. Within 10 days of Uri attack, Indian armed forces hit back by crossing five kilometers of the international border pounding militants at six launchpads for more than 4 hours.

The Indian special forces stuck hard and stuck deep inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy and returned without any causalities to the Indian side. At ground level, India attacked the terrorist and their infrastructure but in the mind games India had stuck a psychological blow to those supporting the terrorists. The bullets were wrapped with India’s message that she will not shy away from a conventional military response to an unconventional war. In our avenge, the unconventional warfare’s biggest weapon “psychology “was hit the hardest. The success of surgical strike is not measured by counting the dead but, in the fear such strikes generate in the enemy discouraging them from repeating such acts again. A nervous Pakistan out rightly denied the Indian strikes.

Post the surgical strikes, the Indian strategy delivered results with only six such major terrorist incidents reported in next three years (2016-2019). However, as the nation high on Josh was celebrating her partial success due to paradigm shift in her strategy, Pulwama happened. By then, the writing was on the wall, India under PM Modi will hit deeper and harder.  The terrorists were testing the patience of a country and more importantly of a determined PM in an election year. India responded by killing over 200 terrorists in a 21-minute operation involving 20 Indian Mirage aircrafts by spicing a madrassa over a hill-top at Balakot sixty kilometers deep inside Pakistani territory.

The airborne  Pakistani fighters were hoodwinked to Bhilwara by Indian Jaquars. What was planned by the terrorists as a farewell gift to PM Modi in the elections, turned out to play a significant part in the resounding victory of PM Modi in May 2019. Post Balakot, in last two years, there has been no major terrorist attack at Kashmir or at any other parts of India.  As a nation before PM Modi arrived, we were battered by more than a dozen terrorist strikes every year. It has changed in Modi 2.0. Balakot strikes has cemented the fear in minds of the enemy. India has started winning the psychology of the unconventional war.  

Army generals do not have the luxury of wallowing in their sorrows. Post Pulwama, PM Modi displayed the same grit of a soldier who decided to avenge and change the rules of engagement than let a nation’s memory taper away after days of tears and emotional farewell to her brave soldiers. The answer to an unconventional war leashed by a weaker opponent lies in the threat of a conventional war by the stronger force. An attempt to cut us into thousand pieces shall be thwarted by our threats to kill you and if not understood well, we will kill you.

First with Uri surgical strike and later with Balakot, India has delivered a strong message loudly that it will not tolerate terrorist strikes in her country. The astounding success of our operations can be gauged by the fact that the terrorists and their masters are taking India’s message seriously. 26 months aftermath Pulwama, Kashmir has no major terrorist strike. Like rest of India, the bombs are slowly falling silent in the valley.  Uri Surgical strike and Balakot air strikes are a big strategic success for a nation that had lost over twenty thousand civilians in three decades of unconventional war. Well done our soldiers and well done our PM Modi- together only two of you could have done it!

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Abhishek Mishra
Abhishek Mishra
Strategic analyst and political commentator with two decades of experience in Security & Investigations industry currently leading a multinational at S Asia
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