At a time when the entire world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan is continuing with its diabolical agenda of supporting terror through attacks on Indian soil.
Between India and Pakistan, the only side that has remained consistent with its policy is Islamabad, which has never diverted from its support to terror.
While India has successfully carried out punitive action whenever a big incident has taken place — 2016 surgical strike and 2019 Balakot air strikes — the need of the hour is to have a consistent and sustained policy against Pakistan.
This policy shouldn’t be just military-driven but must be multifaceted and involve diplomatic and economic measures too.
Make Pakistan feel the pain
On 1 April, five Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists managed to sneak into Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir’s Keran sector along the Line of Control. While the five terrorists were killed in an operation – India paid a heavy price.
Five personnel from the Special Forces were killed in action.
This loss teaches India that the surgical strike and the Balakot operation have only had a temporary effect on the deep state of Pakistan. It springs back after some time to inflict fresh pain on India.
Then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had once told a group of journalists (I was one of them) over dinner at his place soon after taking the charge of the ministry.
“Why should we feel the pain always? Pakistan should feel the pain that it inflicts on us. A person who slaps will understand the pain he inflicts only when he is slapped back,” he had said in an informal discussion on military affairs and Pakistan.
A task remains
Subsequent Indian governments have shown that they lack a holistic policy against Pakistan and the Narendra Modi government is no exception.
India’s Pakistan policy currently remains dependent on media interest and headline-catching ability.
The Modi government has failed to have a sustained approach against Pakistan. It came in 2014 with a lot of talk and high expectations.
Even while many would credit the sword of the FATF hanging over Pakistan and US President Donald Trump’s Twitter tirade against Islamabad to India’s multifaceted approach, the fact is that it was not.
And if it indeed was, then it is a failure because Pakistan has again found favour with the US thanks to the Taliban peace initiative.
The speech by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in 2014 when he warned Pakistan it would lose Balochistan if another Mumbai-like attack happened was brilliant. He spoke on the need for India to come from a defensive position to a defensive-offensive strategy.
Criticising the UPA’s reaction to 2008 Mumbai attacks, Doval said it was “weak and misplaced.”
The Modi government did live up to the expectations when it carried out the surgical strikes. But nothing happened after that and then came the Pulwama attack ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2019.
Every single person in the defence and security community knew that the Modi government will not take it lying down. The only question was how and when was the government going to retaliate.
And hence the Balakot strike did not come as a surprise. But nothing came out of it much either.
With a strong power like China backing it, along with the tacit support of the US, Pakistan continues with its business as usual approach.
It is also business as usual for India. Pakistan-sponsored terrorists killed five soldiers and one CRPF jawan in Kashmir in the last one week. The saga continues.
Views are personal.