Early in the morning today, three army personnel were martyred in an encounter with terrorists who had infiltrated and entered Indian territory in the Hajin area of Bandipora district in Jammu and Kashmir. Reportssuggest that one terrorist, presumed to be from the Lashkar-e-Taiba or the LeT, was also killed. Indian Army officers have also recovered arms and ammunitions from the encounter site, indicating a bigger plan in the offing. This is the second time in as many days that terrorists from across the border have attacked army personnel and civilians have been caught in the crossfire.
The lesson to learn here, experts warn, is that the Indian Army, in conjunction with the border forces and the establishment in general,cannot afford a moment of laxity. The LeT terrorists, who often work in association with other Pakistan-based terrorist groups, are serving as proxy warriors for that nation. Despite the surgical strike last year on 29 September, with the casualty figures variously from 35 to 50, the nefarious activities from across the border have not stopped.
The Road Ahead
The country at large is asking one question: what will it take to make Pakistan stop exporting terror? The answers are not so simple. India can pursue the road of diplomacy which it has been doing for the last few decades. India can also ask the international community to boycott Pakistan and can pressurizethe United Nations to declare it as a terrorist state. A third and riskier option is to conduct more surgical strikes on ‘enemy’ positions. The special forces and commandoes of the Indian army will assist in this instance. The final call will, of course, be taken by the ministry of defence and the minister of home affairs.
The international community is reticent in labeling many known terrorists residing in Pakistan as who they actually are and what they stand for. The two countries do not want conflict either.China, remember, has exercised its veto power in blocking any attempts to proscribeMasood Azhar. Dossiers have been sent over to the other side to be rejected time and again. However, many defence experts including noted expertQamar Agha have stated that more surgical strikes are a must if India wishes for peace in its Western frontiers. In an interview with Business Standard today, the expert claimed that all manner of international norms has been breached by Pakistan and that this kind of ‘proxy war’ is unacceptable.
The political establishment currently in power at the centre has taken a hardline approach towards the violence and discord emanating from the other side of the border. Pakistan, however, is unrelenting. It does not accept any responsibility for the fact that the terrorists operate from its territories. Indeed, many experts and committees have noted that Pakistan has actually been accepting these elements and aiding them. In such situation, especially when army personnel and even civilians are being martyred, the third option becomes rather self-obvious. On Sunday,two jawans were martyredand four Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists had been shot down in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Kulgam. This suggests that the groups are working in tandem. The Indian establishment has to come to a decision, and very quickly at that.