By killing our two soldiers 250 meters inside LoC and mutilating their bodies, Pakistan has once again proved that it is not only a terrorist State but also a rogue one. Recent attack on cash van of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, killing five brave policemen and two civilians, has further strengthened this belief. There is no doubt that India has made its intentions clear by giving a befitting reply immediately. It was never as urgent as it is today for India to strike at the root of Shopian-Pulwama-Bijbehara — Kulgam, the notorious quadrilateral of terrorist hotbed with all the force at its command.
It seems this is the type of LoC revenge he had in mind when Army Chief said, “Action first, talk later.” Within 48 hours, army launched Operation Clean Up — a joint cordon and search operation by RR, CRPF and local police in twenty odd villages. Such an operation has been launched after a gap of 17 years, one wishes that the tactics was
applied earlier which could have saved many precious lives of the security forces as well as those of the locals. In view of the street and terrorist violence going out of control, army may be compelled to use it more often.
Pakistan army is one major reason for it to behave in an erratic and irrational manner. It has had a long period, from 1947 to 1958, characterized by trappings of parliamentary government, but it has essentially ruled by the military. Military rule in Pakistan has subjected its leadership to many epithets ranging from “Tweedle Khan” to the “Butchers of Bengal”, recent happenings are likely to add one more, “Butchers of Balochistan”.
All armies resemble each other to some extent, but why is it that Pakistan army which was the outcome of the partition of Indian army in 1947, is so different from the Indian army. The bitterness of having to create almost a new army as against the comparative advantage India had in this regard continued and manifested itself as pride- later over a period of time becoming partly responsible for assuming special status and role in society and the country’s political affairs.
By far the most important theory which has large acceptance in Pakistan itself, is that the political activity of the army is due to political vacuum. Initially, the failure of the civilians to keep a balance between the diverse forces working in the political system led the military into intervention by default. Now it has become almost a habit for all Pakistanis to accept the superiority of army in every field.
The present PM is not in a position to play his role effectively, partly because of the Panama corruption charges, in such a scenario the army playing a more important role appears normal. One important factor in politics and its relationship with army is the dominance of Punjabi Muslims. The idea of martial race which the British strongly believed in, led to their recruiting a large number Punjabis in sepoy ranks initially and later spreading to the officer corps as well. By WWII, the largest single category in the Indian army was Punjabi Muslims just as they were the single largest category recruited to the Indian army during WWI.
The new Pakistan army had more than 60 per cent Punjabi Muslims in the officer and other ranks, with second largest coming from NWFP. The other provinces were ignored and are still ignored to date. These factors must be analysed in the light of fact that ever since its creation, Pakistan has been searching for an identity of its own and this is what is responsible for its many ideological shifts. Pakistan sees itself as an Islamic state, though a moderate one, and that the rank and file in army are committed to Islam to varying degrees. Many senior Pakistani army officers feel that Islam naturally supports the idea of military profession. This has given a unique status of superiority to the army man and to retain that image it must have a say in the governance of the nation.
Has the present increase in offensive by Pakistan security forces got something to do with the appointment of Gen Bajwa as the new Chief and army’s effort to control a beleaguered Nawaz Sharif? Yes, a lot. In any case, the new chief is keen to take advantage of the melting snow and push as many terrorists in India as possible. Those who thought Bajwa’s low profile and apolitical stand will help India have been proved wrong because his approach towards India is exactly the same. Popularity of the army chief in Pakistan is directly proportional to his hatred and hardened stand against India, as was proved in the case of Gen Raheel Sharif. Nawaz Sharif has had the dubious distinction of not being able to control any of the army chiefs including the three appointed by him. So, there is no hope that Modi will be able to ask Nawaz to keep his army in check. Bajwa , like other chiefs is keen to prove that he hates India no less than any of his predecessors.
India must get rid of the tag of a Soft State. Let our adversaries and the world know by our actions that India can take hard decisions to protect its interests. There is a need of upgrading the numbers and equipment and weapon systems of the security forces deployed in the valley. Admittedly, we are deployed in the East against China and also have the challenges of handling many urgent internal security threat situations, yet the present situation demands more number of security personnel.
Let the strength of army be increased by at least two more Corps without worrying about the foreign pressures and financial considerations. These measures cannot replace the urgent need of dialogue with all political parties in J&K and other stake-holders willing to join the process. Initiative must be taken by the PM who must address the problem himself as the Mehbooba Mufti government has immense faith in him.
There cannot be any other task of higher priority than this. This is a classic case where measured bold responses by the government without undue worry of the media and our image as a democracy being sullied, can pay us rich dividends. However, we must remember that only escalation of violence can never result in a lasting solution. Diplomatic and economic pressures are necessary. International pressure from
Diplomatic and economic pressures are necessary. International pressure from US in present scenario can work. Let’s hope that President Trump is serious in tackling terrorism after US has given more than 25 million dollars to Pakistan as military and civil aid only in the last decade. Perhaps, it is time that we must hit Pakistan where it hurts the most by openly supporting the Balochistan movement for freedom from the cruel Pakistan rulers.
Modi must address the vitiated atmosphere in the country by reining the hyper-nationalists in the name of Hindu Rashtra, cow vigilantism, beef -eating etc. Provocative statements by the self-styled patriots cannot do any good to the situation. And of course, no one can afford to treat the Kashmiri students studying in different parts of the country badly. Centre and State governments must realize that the house is already on fire and they must wake up in time to join hands and handle it rather than finding faults with each other. Future generations will never forgive BJP if the present leadership fails to salvage Kashmir.