International experts and analysts believe India lacks the intelligence and capabilities needed to execute targeted strikes or wage a limited war in Pakistani territory.
Most experts say successive Indian governments have been unable to build such capabilities. Media chatter is resonating across India on why the air force should carry out surgical air strikes against Pakistan. But many believe it would not be easy as Pakistan has robust air defence systems. There are also doubts about whether India has built capabilities or possesses measures for unconventional deterrence.
Defence analyst Ajai Shukla is also of the view that India has only escalated rhetoric against Pakistan but not created sufficient military capabilities and planning structure needed to tackle its arch rival. Now, the government appears to have become a prisoner of its own bluster. “The danger of being trapped in your own rhetoric is that you can be forced into an aggressive response and then be ill-equipped to handle the escalation,” Shukla says.
Indian officials have also cautioned against any adventurism following the military asking the govt to consider ‘surgical strikes’, covert military operations or hot pursuits inside Pakistani territory, adding that Pakistan is no Myanmar, where Indian Para-SF troops conducted a transborder raid to take out militants in June 2015. “The government has to take into account that any strike inside Pakistan can escalate into an all-out war. Pakistan, of course, often threatens first-use of tactical nuclear weapons if it is attacked by India,” an official said.
India and Pakistan are facing a war-like situation after militants attacked an army base in Indian-occupied Kashmir on Sunday, killing 18 soldiers. India has blamed the attack on a Pakistan-based group, despite denials from Islamabad. It accuses Pakistan of supporting ‘militant’ attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule only in part.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently raised the stakes in their decades-old feud by expressing support for separatists within Pakistan. Pakistan denies any role in cross-border terrorism, and has called on the United Nations and the international community to investigate atrocities it alleges have been committed by the security forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
This article originally appeared on BBC.