J & K – Woeful Strategic Bankruptcy

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(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

Stating the obvious, since partition in 1947, there is woeful strategic bankruptcy in resolving the J & K issue. Political gerrymandering, sensationalized by visual media, contra national security interests, is on grand display 24 x 365 with utter disregard to nation’s morale and pride.

And, the responsibility and accountability for the “self goals” squarely goes to the credit of Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Ghandy. None should have doubts on such a script or course.

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Nehru for stopping the armed forces offensive after they had regained the initiative and momentum against Pakistan raiders and all set to drive them out of what is today known as Pakistan Occupied Territory. Also, for taking the issue to the United Nations.

Next, Lal Bahadur Shastri, in 1965, too must share part of the blame for handing back the captured territory that included the key pass – Hajji Pir Pass – and straightening the Uri Bulge without forcing a comprehensive negotiated settlement of J & K issue.

Finally, Indira Ghandy for releasing over 90,000 Pakistan prisoners of war without forcing Zulfiqar Bhutto to agree to the ‘final’ settlement of Kashmir issue.

Seizing and exploiting opportunities is the acme of statesmanship and strong leadership. By such criteria, the three Congress Party stalwarts and the Congress Party have been a total disaster for the nation. Does Sonia and Rahul Ghandy admit the past failures or blunders of their ICONS.

Having been associated whilst in uniform with J & K since 1962 let me review the crisis envelopment faced by the nation today.

At the political level, there is had never been a credible policy or higher directions for the security forces that includes the armed forces and all other wings of the State. Such a glaring void mercilessly exposes the vicious politics played by all leaders and political parties.

De facto, the latest outbreak of political war in the Parliament and outside utterly exposes lack of national unity on a matter of key national security interest.

“Peace Talks” is an illusion or a mirage considering former President Zia’s “proxy war” to bleed India to slow death – “OPERATION TOPAC”. Let none of the leaders suffer from illusions.

I just cannot but help pointing out that all “peace overtures, Track II, NSA, flag meetings and DGMO level talks” have failed to produce enduring and sustainable peace.

Failure to learn from the lessons of the past 70 years clearly exposes political and intellectual bankruptcy.

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“Fools learn from their own experience; wise learn from others experience” may be viewed as appropriate by majority. But, let me further add an adjunct to it – IDIOTS refuse to learn from their own experiences.

How can otherwise anyone explain the political leaders demand to conduct peace talks with Pakistan and the separatist leaders? In retrospect, they are fooling themselves only.

In such a background context and content, only “Idiots” would expect Pakistan Armed Forces to retract from their strategic adversarial posture based on “1000-years Jihad through Proxy War to Bleed India’.

Rajanath Singh, Home Minister, invocation of “bullet for bullet” is no policy. Someone should advise him that at best, it is only a reactive tactical action and not proactive strategy to his Central Para Military Forces.

Similarly, the latest refrain and threat of launching “surgical strikes” is also a reactive military strategy. With the Pakistan Army live and alert to the possibility of “Commando type surgical strikes” across the Line of Control, it may not be wise decision to undertake such a high risk venture.

Let me highlight that the policy or higher directions by Modi and the BJP must focus on political ways and means to counter the present menace. Why dither on taking courageous political decisions?

No talks with a gun of terrorism and daily cross border exchanges pointing to your back. Also no talks until stone pelting stops by Pak sponsored and inspired mobs. Let all political leaders unite on the above key issue.

Next, impose “President’s Rule” without further prevarication and procrastination. Alongside, replace N Vohra, the present Governor, with Lt General ( Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, former Corps Commander in the valley, who has a clear vision to counter the terrorist-cum-separatist turmoil.

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Simultaneously, separate and isolate the separatist leaders from their sympathizers in the valley and Pakistan sponsors and confine them to a remote island in the Andaman Island Territory sans communication with outside world. At least, it would minimize the costs to the tax payer on account of providing security to them separately.

Next, send all Pakistani origin terrorists kept in jails in the valley to high-security detention centre in remote uninhabited Andaman Islands and keep them like what the USA does to the terrorists in Guantanamo detention cell in chains.

At the political level, give a free hand to security forces to employ all combat systems available with them in a “PRO ACTIVE” mode.

And, military or counter terrorist strategy – strategic, operational art and tactical levels – must empower the commanders and troops at the grass roots level to strike decisively across the LoC to deter misadventures, deter and dissuade terrorist infiltrations and kill terrorists without fear and remorse.

Why the “headless chicken” cacophony in the visual media over the latest Pakistan missile employment in Rajauri sector that killed a young Captain and three soldiers?

Who stopped or denied the local commanders from employing not only the anti tank missiles to blow up Pakistani posts?

Also, who stopped them from launching counter mortar and medium artillery counter bombardment or suppressive fires against hostile mortars and guns?

What about employment of artillery guns in direct firing mode against Pakistani posts in mountains and tanks in the semi plain areas in Samba-Jammu-Akhnoor Sectors?

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Most important is the employment of highly skilled snipers suitably deployed in ‘nests’ targeting Pakistan personnel on the other side of LoC If effectively employed, it would provide maximum pay-offs.

Why are the local commanders hesitant and restrained to use fire power available to them? Are there any restrictions from higher echelons? After all, there is enough practice ammunition that is usually available which can be utilized to produce the desired end result.

Furthermore, Pakistan Armed Forces are also under seizing from within. They cannot for ever go on waging war on all fronts that includes Afghanistan-Baluchistan-FATA areas-Karachi and other towns.

Rajanath Sing must also allow he local police forces-CPMFs-army units operating in the towns and Srinagar to strike back not only with rubber bullets but also with real bullets against stone-pelters.

Indian Security Forces – armed forces and CMPFs – have far greater “punishment withstanding” capability than the Pakistan war machine. Let none of the political cadres and the peaceniks have any reservations on such a score.

Stating the obvious, lack of strategic clarity at political level – political war blame games – and political will are the root causes for the present crisis escalation.

The current crisis situation provides an opportunity to Modi and the BJP to seize the initiative and force the momentum to strike hard at the enemy of the nation. If they too fail, then Gods cannot even save the nation.

If the above politico-military-CPMFs policies and strategies fail to produce the end result that may take some time, then the inevitability of “War” to teach Pakistan a lesson and to force them to retract from their heinous activities in the valley.

In sum, it is not time for peace talks initiatives; but time for proactive escalation of conflict and costs to Pakistan. Only when Pakistan relents, peace talks could be renewed. Such a flexible responses at political and security forces level will only provide scope for sanity to prevail.

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