The government’s strategic aim behind the publicly acknowledged Sept 29 strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) was not to humiliate or embarrass the Pakistan Army, but to get it to change course from using terrorism as a low risk instrument of state policy.
Disclosing some of the thinking that went behind this policy shift after Uri attack, a top-level official said India was clear from Day 1 that humiliating the Pakistan Army was not in India’s interest.
“No army accepts humiliation. We wanted Pakistan to understand that there is a cost involved in pursuing covert war against India. We also called it a counter-terrorism operation,” said the official.
Two weeks after the strikes, New Delhi feels it has been able to get this message across given the debate in Pakistan.
Top echelons of the government believe that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been able to find his feet again. The thinking here is Sharif has always understood that Kashmir could never be won by violence, especially after Kargil.
The view in South Block is that the strikes may just have helped the Pakistan PM find his feet again in his dealings with the Pakistan Army. The strikes by itself, an official said, stood out from all previous operations because it was carried out simultaneously across different sectors of LoC and all teams returned at designated time as well.”Such precision and coordination has never happened before,” said the official. The sheer scope of the strikes and the fact that Indian commandos managed to go in and come out without any major casualty was a strong message to the Pakistan Army, said the official.But having done that, the official added, India has no intent to escalate matters though it will remain prepared for any retaliation.
Pakistan Army’s corps commanders are said to be quite upset by these strikes. At the same time, the official said, the Pakistan Foreign Office has expressed deep concern over the fallout of the Uri attack.The cancellation of Saarc Summit, the lack of response from other capitals to its own efforts at building international pressure on India over Kashmir is being seen as a direct result of the failure of Rawalpindi’s tactics until now. On the other hand, the official pointed out, not a single country came out against India’s cross-LoC strikes.
Instead, there were voices of support asking Pakistan to act against terror groups operating from its soil. On the question of evidence, the official said, India has sufficient, credible evidence but it does not want to escalate matters by putting them out in public or create any sort of a precedent for special operation.
“Evidence to who? And who gives evidence? Only someone who is charged. Why should we even consider,” said the official.
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