Let the lesser state know

(The basic argument made in the previous post (Hindustan Times) is fleshed out with brief analyses of the diplomatic initiatives in the past ten days in this piece published in the ‘Open’ magazine, 30 September 2016 at http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/comment/let-the-lesser-state-know. Incidentally the Uri Brigade commander, Brig K. Somashankar, has been removed from his post.)
The midnight attack on terror camps in PoK alone won’t bring Pakistan to heel. We have a lot more to do

A WEEK AFTER the terrorist attack on the Uri Brigade encampments by four jihadi-terrorists that killed 18 troops and wounded some fifty others of the Bihar and Dogra Regiments, and the spiralling of public expectations about imminent and singular retaliation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Bharatiya Janata Party conclave in Kozhikode on 24 September called, anti-climactically, for “a thousand year war” with Pakistan on poverty, disease and illiteracy (albeit, in a thundering tone), sounding verily like a pumped-up political Mother Teresa—all sinew, grace and forgiveness. Not exactly the dislocating measure the BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav had promised when he signalled a “Pakistani jaw” for an Indian “tooth”.

Modi recognised that when the policy cupboard is bare of options, it is best to do nothing, and in this, emulate Atal Bihari Vajpayee (after the 13 December 2001 attack on Parliament) and Manmohan Singh (post-26 November 2008 strike on Mumbai). So he has reacted as a leader of a ‘responsible’ nation with excessive restraint—the hallmark of Indian policy, launched a diplomatic campaign to ‘isolate’ Pakistan, and otherwise red-flagged India’s impotence. The fact that the Prime Minister has been brought this to pass owes centrally to the Indian military’s characteristic laxity and complacency that allowed the terrorist penetration and precipitated the crisis in the first place, bringing the perennial problems of unpreparedness and incapacity to mount a hard- hitting counter once again into the public eye.

Also, evident was the not-so-subtle pressure from the United States, the country’s preferred ‘strategic partner’ in the new century, to be reasonable in dealing with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, which it does not tolerate itself. Recall the September 2001 visit by the US Deputy Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage to Islamabad in the wake of the 9/11 outrage when he warned General Pervez Musharraf to support the war America was going to unleash on the Taliban in Afghanistan, failing which, to face a Pakistan bombed back to the ‘stone age’. Musharraf duly complied.

But to be fair to previous prime ministers, they decided on doing nothing only after finding out from the Indian military that it could do nothing. Even as the terrorist intruders were being mopped up on Parliament grounds, an emergency meeting was called by Vajpayee to explore retaliation. In his inimitable way, he asked the then Army chief and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Sundararajan Padmanabhan: “Aap kuchh kar sakte hain? (Can you do something?)” There was studied silence accompanied by a slow shaking of his head from side-to-side by Padmanabhan. I have often wondered how this response was ‘minuted’ by the Cabinet Secretary. Seven years later, with Kasab and Company storming five-star hotels on the Mumbai shoreline, the Indian military was, as on the earlier occasion, all at sea. Manmohan Singh questioned the Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major about launching sorties against the Pakistan army-run Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps and logistics hubs in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), only to be told that the Indian Air-Force did not—just then— have the target coordinates for surgical strikes.

Eight years on, come the attacks on the Pathankot air base this January, and several months later, the attack on the Uri camp, we see the same actors reprising their familiar roles. The Government seemed surprised and acted flustered, the armed services revealed their by-now-patent incapacity to prevent jihadis from sauntering into the Uri camp and shooting Indian soldiers or to retaliate meaningfully. And Modi talked soberly of mobilising international public opinion to pressure Islamabad. India, however, has yet to come to grips with Pakistan’s ongoing asymmetric warfare. With small-scale conflicts seen as diverting it from preparing for ‘proper’ wars, preferably only with Pakistan and then with imported armaments, and resource scarcity hindering the procurement of exorbitantly-priced foreign hardware to fight this war with, the Indian military finds itself unable to prosecute any type of war well, whether it is asymmetric-covert, conventional, or ‘hybrid’ with nuclear overtones.

Moreover, because the Government does not believe in integrating the military or its efforts, there is no centralised authority such as chief of defence staff, nor a single comprehensive operational plan, leaving the three armed services free to tackle terrorism in their separate, lackadaisical, ways. Thus, Army units, time and again, do basic things wrong, like not establishing an impermeable perimeter security to protect their own camps for a start, and the Air Force is always operationally unready, at the point of decision, to launch instantaneous retaliatory raids (even as retired IAF grandees write op-eds extolling aerial strikes as the best means of punitive action against Pakistan).

Post-Uri, one thing is clear: it is Pakistan that is focused, has proved itself adept at conducting a low cost covert war that, to use a tired phrase, ‘bleeds India by a thousand cuts’, and that India has no counter. And it pre-empts Indian retaliation by putting frontline Army divisions on alert, closes off the air space in northern Pakistan and PoK for exclusive military use, sequesters long sections of the Lahore-Islamabad super highway for emergency combat aircraft operations and, aware that New Delhi is easily rattled by nuclear threats, openly flaunts the possibility of using its short-range nuclear missiles in case India sends its armour trundling across the border. In fact, the situation is so unbalanced and favouring the lesser state, Pakistan enjoys both the psychological and seemingly also the material edge. Whence, the spectacle of politicians and ex-soldiers on Pakistan TV programmes jeering at the Indian military’s risk-averse attitude and taunting Indian soldiers for “fearing death”.

The Indian Government, as always, is as confused as the Indian military about how to handle Pakistan’s relentless needling and equally uncertain about how to react. There is apparently no understanding of the nature of the conflict Pakistan has imposed on India. The evidence of this is in the usual harrumphing from official quarters about retribution being visited on Pakistan at a time and place of New Delhi’s choosing. Or, in the ideas mooted by retired military brass, such as former Army Chief General Bikram Singh, who has damned “our traditional laissez faire policy of inaction and passivity”, called for a “befitting response”, and recommended that an appropriate retaliatory scheme be chosen from among a number of “comprehensive plans for all possible contingencies” he claims the military has drafted. But, he calls for the punitive military action to take place only after the “precautionary defensive measures” adopted by the Pakistan military to thwart Indian retaliation are removed. In other words, he advises waiting out the Pakistanis!

Considering that the Pakistan military is more organisationally nimble and in a higher state of readiness and can be fielded faster than its Indian counterpart, this is useless counsel and, in any case, misses the point. Unless retaliation for terrorist acts is immediate and automatic, it loses its value. The standard operating procedure (SOP) should be that such actions are launched on first information of a terrorist strike followed by an official statement declaring that this action is limited and strictly in response to the preceding terrorist provocation, and that any military riposte to it would be escalatory for which Pakistan would bear the burden. This would offer justification, be a warning, and inhibit Pakistan from taking steps that could lead to spiralling of conflict. Such a clearly articulated Indian policy will be acceptable to the international community as well. However, if India waits for the mythical ‘right time’ to react, it may be a long wait, and the advantage of hitting back instantly would evaporate because, in the intervening time, the causality link between the terrorist incident and the retaliatory action will be lost.

It is precisely the absence of ready capability for a reflexive response, predicated on—and this is important—strike platforms at the ready and geared for instantaneous action and clued by continually updated operational plans and information regarding prioritised target sets and target coordinates, that is at the heart of India’s troubles and, visibly, Pakistan’s success. Such a system of instant and certain retribution kicking in automatically and every time there’s a terrorist provocation would at once establish the norm. Is such a system hard to obtain? Not at all, but curiously nobody in the Indian Government and military has thought of setting it up. So, each terrorist event is a revelation, treated de novo, requires the same bureaucratic head-banging to conceive and plan options, all of which take time. Soon it becomes yesterday’s concern, with the whole process petering out due to the flagging concern of all the parties involved, until the next terrorist event when this rigmarole is repeated.

Most of these terrorist moves would be ‘throttled in the cradle’ as it were if the intelligence agencies and the armed services did their jobs. The 26/11 attack happened in Mumbai because of loose maritime security; Pathankot occurred owing to base security being reduced to a joke, and now Uri because there was no policing of the approaches to the camp. In each case, it is the lack of perimeter security that facilitated the terrorist mayhem.

Let’s consider the Uri episode in slight detail. Uri is a salient, bordered on its three sides by the Line of Control (LoC)—some 6 km at the shortest distance, which is preferred by jihadis for infiltration purposes, and around 14 km in the other two directions. The 27 km of front in this sector is manned by a single Indian Army battalion with two Border Security Force (BSF) battalions in support. The Army and BSF camps are supposedly in adjoining locations. But the institutional tension between the Army and the paramilitary and their desire to minimise interaction led to a virtual ‘no man’s land’ being created between the Army and BSF camps. It is this vacant, unpoliced seam stretching to the LoC that the four terrorists exploited on 18 September to reach the Mess serving the Dogra and Bihari troops. It is the same seam two other jihadis used a few days after the Uri attack, but were apprehended because this time there was proper patrolling. There is, however, no explanation why, despite the awareness of the vulnerabilities of the Uri camp sites, the Army and BSF unit commanders failed to take the elementary precaution of providing overlapping coverage, why no armed watch was mounted in this space, and why the outer tier had no monitoring with raised sand-bagged positions, prefab posts, and roving patrols 24/7, given that Jammu and Kashmir, and especially the areas along the LoC, constitute an active (covert) war zone.

A former Kashmir-based Corps commander blames the Army’s flawed practice of concentrating the technical means for detecting irregular movements such as thermal imagers, on the LoC rather than deploying some of them rearwards to protect military facilities and installations. There’s also the fact that a good proportion of these imagers are, at any given moment in time, offline because they are broken down or undergoing servicing and repairs. Further, as a recent official report has observed, advanced technology surveillance sensors, like thermal imagers and ‘laser walls’ installed on the LoC to spot violations on the border in real time, do not always work as advertised, owing to the difficult terrain. In other words, for fail-proof physical security against terrorists, there’s no alternative to alert manpower, perimeter policing, and attentive patrolling on land and water. But such security regimen will work only when unit commanders are held accountable for lapses rather than, as happened in Pathankot, where the commander of the air base was merely transferred, not cashiered. But imaginative moves to fight terrorists, such as the placement in the mid-1990s of a unit of the powerful Marine Commando on the Wular Lake by the Navy Chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat that deterred jihadis from crossing this water body to reach the Srinagar Valley, are missing.

A good solution to sharpen the military instincts and lift spirits may be to empower and incentivise (with proper career-furthering rewards) the commanders of forward deployed units to react to terrorist bedlam by planning and executing reciprocal actions across the LoC with deliberate speed and lethality. This works. On 28 July 2011, in response to Pakistani troops sneaking into a prefab LoC post in the 15 Corps sector and beheading two Indian jawans, a revenge operation was planned, timed for the Eid holidays. Aware that large numbers of Pakistani army officers and men go on leave on this festive occasion, a 20-strong team of five officers, several JCOs, and a bunch of jawans, crossed the LoC and ambushed a truck carrying these Pakistani military-men to their homes. Five enemy heads were taken as trophy. It created a hubbub on the Pakistani side with the Pakistan DGMO (Director General Military Operations) calling his Indian opposite number to complain but meeting with a denial because the Indian DGMO was not in the loop. The message, however, struck home. Pakistanis have not repeated such an atrocity since.

Even though effective, this is still success only at the tactical level. For more enduring impact a two-pronged strategy needs to be pursued. One prong is to put the country’s Special Forces (SF)—which are penny-packeted as Northern Army reserve and wasted in small time missions across the LoC to blow up a bridge here, a culvert there—to more strategic uses deep inside PoK (to hinder progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, for instance). Indeed, it was a typical shallow (2 km) cross-LoC Indian SF operation to take out a couple of terrorist camps that was staged by the Army on the night of 28 September, perhaps as a face-saving gesture. It killed some 38 jihadis but did not address the core concern of a capability void.

For telling effect, SF actions need to be integrated with RAW’s activities inside Pakistan, as part of a sustained covert war or kuttayuddha . In fact, I have long maintained that as shared legatees of Chanakya’s philosophy and the Arthashastra, it is ironic that Pakistan is a better practitioner of kuttayuddha than India. The other prong is full-court diplomatic pressure in regional and international forums. This two-pronged strategy is premised on the belief that (1) responding to terrorism by ordering field armies into action (as happened with Operation Parakram in 2001) is inapt and a wasteful use of the military, and is to be avoided at all cost, and (2) no matter what, Pakistan will persist with its policy of waging asymmetric warfare against India, the best antidote to which may be to pay Islamabad back in the same coin.

Fortunately, there’s no dearth of faultlines to exploit— Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan in PoK being the most obvious, the discontented Muhajir community, Sindhi nationalism, and support for Kabul’s territorial claims by de-recognising the Durand Line as the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, being the other possibilities. The CPEC is an obvious economic target also strategically to discomfit China. Reviving the disbanded CITX (Counter Intelligence Team-X) inside the external intelligence agency, RAW, to more effectively use the resources cultivated within Pakistan, fits in with such strategy. The above covert strategy should hereafter remain the constant in India-Pakistan relations, its talons partially drawn in during periods when Islamabad moderates its policies.

The fact is, diplomatic and other responses hove into view this time around once it became plain the BJP Government had no credible military response-options. But attempts to isolate Pakistan, or to declare it as a state sponsoring terrorism aren’t working because it is not in the US’s and China’s interests to do so. That has left New Delhi scraping the barrel. Ditching SAARC and replacing it with a SAARC-minus Pakistan organisation has some merit. But it will signal a move away from South Asian solidarity. The ramifications of this move will be felt in the long term as China will increasingly dominate Pakistan’s space, which, strategically speaking, will end up hurting Indian interests by consolidating the Chinese presence more fully on this country’s western flank as well. Modi should have thought of what this will end up meaning for India.

Withdrawal of the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status likewise is a gesture that may cost India more. India enjoys a balance of payments edge in the minuscule bilateral trade of some $3 billion plus with Pakistan. But it will lose twice as much with the loss of the so-called ‘switch trade’ involving all manner of goods from tyres to cosmetics that happens with ships bound for Dubai anchoring off Karachi and offloading some of their cargo.

The other punitive measure being contemplated is not to abrogate the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT), which Washington will not countenance, but to implement its provisions that permit India to more fully harvest the river system, westwards, something Pakistan has feared will reduce the water flow available to it.

The IWT allows India to use 1.34 million acre-feet (MAF) of the Indus waters for irrigation purposes, of which only some 0.792 MAF are presently utilised. India is also permitted to build hydropower projects and ‘run of the river’ storage facilities for 3.6 MAF on the Chenab River, whose main waters are otherwise for exclusive Pakistani use. Further, India has so far not majorly exploited the waters of the three eastern rivers IWT allotted to India (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) for agriculture, and as much as 3 MAF of water flows into Pakistan and, absent infrastructure there, is completely wasted as a run-off to the sea. Should India, operating within the ambit of the IWT, speed the construction of the requisite infrastructure—big dams, smaller storage facilities, and hydropower stations on the Chenab, and on the eastern rivers, to meet India’s burgeoning energy and water needs—it will psychologically subdue Pakistan. The Indus is Pakistan’s lifeline, and any perceived loss of this water may render Islamabad more amenable than any threat from ‘Cold Start’, intervention in Balochistan, loss of SAARC, or rattling of nuclear sabres.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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14 Responses to Let the lesser state know

  1. Email responses from two former naval chiefs —
    Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat (Retd): “Thank you for your prescient writings in HT and Open. I guess many will not like it!”
    and, from
    Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd): “Bharat, For once, I agree with most of what you’ve said –
    including your critique of the military.”

  2. Mr Karnad,

    I am not sure if withdrawing MFN will affect Indian exports. Pakistan does not give MFN to India hence it is under no obligation to give same tarrif treatment to India as it gives to other nations. By withdrawing MFN India will be able to increase tarrifs for Pakistan Imports where it wants.

    I also see resetting IWT as putting pressure on the west to heed India’s concerns on Pakistan. I cannot imagine any other country especially not any western country would have continued with such a treaty under repeated terror acts by Pakistan.

    In this we are victims of our own rhetoric and wanting to be seen as ‘good boys’ not western pressures.

    Western and Chinese double standards on terror have to be called out.

  3. govt to ask army, navy, airforce to be in a constant state of readiness for an immediate strike , after big terror attack, Terror attacks are happening for 30 years, \Why didn’t the govts of the day asked army, airforce, navy to hv a ready plan for a counter attack. |IT IS STUPID TO SAY THE IA, IAF, NAVY ARER inept.

    It was the fault of vajpayee , UPA govts which didnot ask them to hv a ready contingency retaliation plan .

    NOW MODI HAS ASKED FOR A RESPONSE & army readily gave it back to the pakis, they are even ashamed to admit that they are being hit.

    Give the devil his due, Modi has rewritten the rules of engagement for future indian govts, whether you like it or not. No future indian gov can “feign” army, IAF, Navy didn’t hv this or that,

    SF is here for eons, Vajpayee, UPA could hv used them repeatedly & killed 100s of pigs, they didn’t hv the spine & now Modi has the spine & brain to give a hard kick at the paki army balls,

    Modi has silenced all his deceitful critics by completely isolating PAK from SAARC & denying them the supporting word from any major power.
    What is even more potent is the casual way in which he let the DGMO to announce the strike to PAKI counterpart, without beating war drums,

    This single act exposes the fact that it was the cowardice of the previous govts which prevented them from taking this step, not the lack of capability of IA, IAF, Navy.

    SO IN FUTURE ALL INDIAN GOVTS will be forced to take action, PAK knows it will have no international support & recruits for LET will divindle knowing that they will be smashed before they ever have a chance to shoot a bullet.

    Also we can gradually increase the tempo by adding short range missiles along with SF & later drones + fighters,

    Pak will have no option but continue to deny it.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      I wish you are correct, but only time will tell. I can see you are very excited/agitated, and your words are those of “sound and fury”. But please try to avoid SMS type language usage in a serious forum.

  4. BY KILLING 50 PIGS EVERY WEEK AT LOW KEY OPS, WE need not care about whether chinese will allows UN sanctions on HAFIZ OR US WILL PRESS PAK TO ACT,

    IN FUTURE WE SHOULD RELEASE VIDEOS immediately after the op , once it becomes routine, no one in international media will care for this, Who is writing about recurring drone hits on terro pigs on pak soil by US? no one cares,

    Pak will hv no option, because their nuke pue bluff has been called once for all by inscrutable modi. MANOHAR PARRIKAR RUBBING IT IN MAKES IT EVEN MORE BITTER FOR THEM.


    This much needed indian psychological advantage will crack pak facade of infallibility , 7 BOOST THE MORALE OF INDIAN ARMY. It will also significantly reduce terror casualties on indian side, with 100s of pigs crushed across LOC. they wont hv any strength to hit in india.

    Also letting the youngest minister in cabinet to say, ” that we crossed no border at all, because as per legal framework whole of J&K belongs to india, so pak should have no business retaliating” is even more telling.

    For eons egged on by Aman ki thamasha guys we were ready to cede POK, siachen and what else not to pak, behaving as if we have no defence forces at all.

    NOw the casual indian claim that pak army has no business in POK will make pak realize that its all of J&K or nothing ” approach is fraught with the possibility of loosing whatever they have in their hands now,

    Also “blood & Water can not flow together ” claim on IWT will make agrarian punjabi pak to sit uo & take notice of the “stakes” involved in letting ISI & PAK army to play their “fake” patriot” games,

    Right now pak punjab has the densest irrigation canals in the world enjoying the bounty of Indus continuously for 50 years.

    India’s reported to move to build dams in Kabul river in afganistahn which provides 40% of indus flows & india’s IWT scrap claim will let them kick PAK fauj balls hard & ask them to shut their terror shop

  5. Shail says:

    Ever been on the LoC?
    Ever tried to fight with old and obsolete eqpt? Or with patrolled at night without Night Vision Eqpt? Or lcursed infrastructure which doesnt exist because they werent sanctioned ( by Govt IFAs and objected by Auditors)?
    So as per you we shouldnt buy from abroad….but we cant make it on our own either … so what exactly do you propose we do?
    Ever thought of implications of Bureaucratic Control vs Civilian Control on Natl Security? Curiously I dont ever see you blaming the DefSec, Secy DPB and their ilk for Lack of Capability? As per the AoB and ToB rules of GoI, ..they are responsible for Defence of the Nation and Capability Building (and its Lack thereof)
    Why hasnt a CDS been appointed? The recommendation dates back to 1999 ? Should the military do it on its own perhaps?
    Why didnt we have capability when DRDO has been here for a million years?
    Why are tactical commanders always politically and organisationally restrained ?
    Why was the infamous Gujral Doctrine never overruled or objected to by Brown Noses ? Hasnt that been the greatest disservice ever..especially in light of “Kuta Yuddha” option (or Lack of it?)
    I notice a constant pattern in all your articles ..
    1. Lack of On Ground and specialist Knowledge
    2. Tidbits of tantalising “inside info” tailored to prove your point, conveniently ignoring the bits which could constitute a balanced view.
    3. A repetitive pattern of Blaming the Military and its Leadership..sometimes with innuendo, slander and always with dripping Acid.
    4. Complete lack of complaint and criticism about the Bureaucracy – which points to your real Masters.
    5. Suggestions for use of Hard Power, with complete dis-regard for consequences, second and Third order effects.
    A Small suggestion…Countries following your proposed doctrine- see the way the Paki’s are handling FATA (since you are so enamoured of their nimbleness and strategic sagacity)…Is it succeeding? What about Balochistan? Perhaps China in Xinjiang, lots of other examples in history.. did it work?

    • Have principally held the bureaucrats and the civil-servant-driven apparatus of govt in India responsible for most of the country’s present ills, including in the defence sphere. Do look up my previous posts, and all my books for detailed analysis and treatment of this subject. However, I have not shied away from criticizing the Indian military which, I fear, has begun to absorb and reflect the values, sloth, inefficiency, and corruption of the politicized government at-large but, for some reason, seems to be above criticism.

  6. Avtar Singh says:

    …rot starts from the head

    china and pak have had focused heads for many decades

    India has been lumbered with rotting heads for many decades
    blame all and sundry as much as you like..

    But this new man has a gargantuan mountain to climb,
    scratch that…
    forget the mountain his task is equivalent to reaching alpha centauri
    the turn around required will at best take decades and he has had a mere two years

    When the scene is set at the top all the actors will fall in line and play their part,

    Carping is easy but just think of the previous rotten heads that could still be stinking up the joint..
    You moaners need to be grateful for small mercies…. by this I mean,
    if in the next 3 years there has been no scam where some disgusting waste of space has lined pockets at the expense of the Indian taxpayer be grateful

    Considering the last nearly 70 years this is the best India can hope for….
    You never know your luck you might get much more..

    But history has shown it could have been just another rotten head stinking up the place.

    Having said that I appreciate you have to write and the media has to broadcast

  7. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    The 2nd and 3rd order effects were essentially already going down and without the 1st order effects you will have nothing in hand:

    1) Economy – The pet refrain of all nouveau riche of Indian economy. Here is the checklist presented for items that were boasted about not so long ago.

    epaper.livemint.com/epaper/viewer.aspx – Front Page of October 3, 2016.
    Stalled projects today need Rs. 21000 crore plus mostly in private sector. That is why RBI needs to be reined in. But present govt. won’t do that.

    This one reminds you of Jayanti Tax right?

    2) Paki retaliation for Hot Pursuit is still going on in Baramullah. And it is the same form of retaliation that was already happening ie. terrorism.

    3) Foreign affairs – This one is the favourite of all cognoscenti. Really, you want to argue on this? Would you need anybody from outside India to mess that up? During the last 20 years, chinese have shifted focus from Taiwan Straits while Indians achieved what?

    4) Military preparedness and related issue of getting bogged down in COIN – Already happening. No money for COIN, patrolling etc. and meantime all money reserved for FMS purchases of Rafale, P-8I, M-777, Chinook and there is more to follow despite sting operation on Scorpene subs.

    The journey towards this state of affairs was apparent since long. But people who worry about being safe on 2nd and 3rd item on the agenda abdicating on the 1st will end up with nothing in hand eventually.

    The Surplus in Oil account was applied towards :
    1) mil capital imports (by govt.),
    2) consumer largesse (Kejri, doesn’t matter whose B-team he is, has by now given the taste of more of these to follow) and
    3) business decisions like Reliance Jio (cannot contest that but now country has to give some defence business to this group too, may be manufacturing cabins and such like).

    Parth, see the eye of the fish forget the rest.

  8. andy says:

    Doesn’t the Indian Army know fully well that in the prevailing charged environment, especially in Kashmir and so close to the LOC,its installations are logical and legitimate targets for terrorist action and have to be defended as any other military outpost based on a clear cut and detailed operational plan?That the terrorists could just walk in and open fire must be pretty galling but hopefully the lessons have been learnt.If they haven’t been learnt, especially after the Pathankot and now Uri terrorist attacks then India is in deep trouble.If the men in uniform can be targeted with such impunity, what guarantees civilian security?

    Another problem, not of the armys making ,is why were troops in Uri lacking in suitable detection equipment, proper protective perimeter fencing and were forced to stay in tents instead of hardened shelters?One does not have to look far for reasons for this state of affairs and where that responsibility lies.Over decades the Government’s in power have manipulated capital allotments for new equipment to meet unexpected expenses that may have arisen. With the active connivance of the MOD (Finance) all bureaucratic measures are put to good use to delay or derail the procurement process, resulting in vast amounts remaining unspent. Therefore basic things like bullet proof vests for example are procured inadequately, resulting in the troops being equipment deficient.

    Today, it is no secret that the entire security set up is manned by cops and ex Intelligence officers, who with due respect to them, are fairly clueless about what the armed forces are and are meant to be.

    Systematic eroding of the Army/Air Force/Navy’s own leadership has today created a situation where frankly half the senior appointments are actually suspect.The beauraucratic and political interference in armed forces senior level appointments has to cease.Merit has to be the sole criteria. Only then the principle of accountability can be enforced.

    • andy says:

      The Baramulla terror strike today only confirms what I had red flagged in your last post,surgical strikes are not going to deter pakistan, these terrorist foot soldiers are just so much cannon fodder for the ISI and pak army, the loss of 40 or 50 such elements amounts to nothing for them.India is going to be drawn into a cesspool of action and counter action by a shameless failed state that has nothing going for it either economically or otherwise.Its going to be a never-ending rigmarole.

  9. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Probably the best thing that Modi can do for IA is to arm IA with a lot more of the BFSR and EO?IR systems and earmark a few LCAs for delivery of Gruthma 1000 kg.

    Modi has done a few things right, even if belatedly and deserves some space on this one issue. At the same time our establishment too must understand that unless they have the coordinates for all known camps all the time, and Prompt Local Strike via LCA+Gruthma, there is no way to implement their, big talk. After such things are available there will be little to stop the automaticity of response. Even if the IA is unable to contain the terror strikes (which will come with elaborate Paki planning), the leadership is still afforded the chance to up the cost/risk profile for the Pakis. And our establishment must open up the whole border for such punitive strikes.

    Lal Bahadur Shastri ji, opened up the whole border for for a real war. Doing that for a terror strike should be easier and not difficult. Americans will always say that this or that action by India increases the tension but they will always come around to understand that this part of cross-border hot pursuit or Precision striking is not going to go away. Americans are responsible for making Pakistan and agreeing to precision strikes across the LOC/IB should be made acceptable to them, esp. given that holding of ground is not needed.

  10. &^%$#@! says:

    India needs to target terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, in addition to ISI officers known to be involved in terrorist activities. Taking out a bounty on their heads (say USD 10 million in whatever currency including bullion and payable anywhere) would IMHO also be necessary. Precious lives of Indian soldiers cannot be wasted just because of GoI inaction and callousness. Of course, there does exist a distinct possibility that the targeted criminals will spill the names of prominent Indians who have abetted their activities in some way or the other. In such an eventuality the GoI should “throw the book at” and hunt down such individuals whoever they are and wherever they may be. Is the Goi up to the task?

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