India’s fake surgical strike

Published: October 11, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP The writer is an Islamabad-based journalist specialising in diplomatic and security issues

Officials in Pakistan facilitated media men to visit Line of Control (LoC) to asses India’s controversial claim of launching surgical strikes last week and killing score of militants poised to infiltrate into the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) across the de facto border. To show the situation on the ground, the independent journalists including foreigners were taken to the areas, which India claimed to have targeted in the overnight operation. The journalists were allowed to interact with the locals as well. No one noticed traces of the surgical strike nor were bodies of the militants found. The UN mission in the area too found no evidence of any surgical strike. UN Secretary General’s Spokesman Stephen Dujarric has said that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan not directly observed any firing across the LoC related to the latest incident.

Indian Director General Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and the government in New Delhi were claiming that the terrorists were targeted in the Bhimber, Tatapani, Kel and Lipa sectors in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian External Affairs Ministry was endorsing the claim. The Pakistani side rebuffed the surgical strike and said that cease-fire violation has taken place killing two Pakistani soldiers and the cross-border firing was retaliated in befitting manner. Surprisingly, even India itself had no evidence to prove that a surgical strike was launched across the LoC.

One wonders as to why India claims an action that even it had not taken. To think that India wanted to tarnish Pakistan’s image is not seem as accurate as it was logical that the truth had soon to be known to the world. The theory of diverting world attention from the situation in Kashmir is not working in this particular case too, keeping in mind that such a claim would further attract the world attention toward the volatile region having nukes. Though India is feeling tremendous pressure after world’s attentiveness to the situation in Kashmir and the UN wish to send a fact finding mission for investigating human rights violation. Indian forces have committed massive human rights violation in attempt to oppress Kashmiris who has been protesting since July following killing of  Hizbul Mujahidin’s Burhan Wani, popular among youngsters in IHK.

The analyses of the situation after Uri terrorist attack help to understand Indian mindset for making assertion of the counterfeit surgical strike. New Delhi blamed that the Uri attack, occurred just four days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif scheduled address to UNGA, was guided and facilitated from Pakistan. Uri attack killed 19 Indian soldiers in the held Kashmir on September 18. New Delhi established a false impression within India that Pakistan had supported the attack. The blames were followed by hype and unwanted escalations of tensions. Although a full-fledged war is not imminent between the two nuclear South Asian neighbours, yet the post Uri attack scenario is also not affordable for long. The escalation in tensed ties, begin with rhetoric, is damaging to India in several ways. First of all it attracts world attention to the region and to the situation in Kashmir, the long standing dispute between India and Pakistan. Secondly, India is a growing economy and bigger market, the escalation of hostilities is detrimental to its financial health as soon after rhetoric the investment felt shyness. In case of war due to some misunderstanding, the cost for India would be Rs50 billion per day and its fiscal deficit would be much higher. Thirdly, even a few-days-long war would damage infrastructure and could cause massive displacement that would become unaffordable for heavily populated and the poverty ridden country. Such crises could also loosen India’s grip over internal separatists’ movements in Assam, Punjab, Kashmir and others. Moreover, conflict could further divide Indian society as extremist elements like RSS and Shiv Sena would intensify its cruelty against Muslims minority. The recent riots over slaughtering cows are well-known.The tense situation would shatter dreams of India aspiring for regional role. The conflict could encourage terrorism and instability in the region and Afghanistan that could be viewed as immaturity on part of India by the US and other international players.

The escalations have international implications as well. India’s attitude caused postponement of SAARC summit that had to be held in Pakistan in November. Pakistan and India are aspiring for role in other important regional organisations like Shangai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and other forums. Such a situation doesn’t signal positively at international scene. And last but not the least, regional powers and international community including UN, the US,China, Russia and others pressurised India to normalise the situation. It would harm India’s image if it continues its behaviour leading to worsening of the situation. The hype created by rhetoric against Pakistan had made return to normalcy for Prime Minister Modi difficult, due to public anger against Pakistan. The claim of surgical strike at least pacified the people in the country. So the motive behind claiming ‘surgical strike’ is reversing the hype and anger in India that was hindering Modi to talk sense in public.
The question arises as to whether Modi would be in a better position at home and abroad after this immature trick?

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Pk_Paris
    Oct 12, 2016 - 8:04AM

    It is normal human tendency that one listens to what he wants to listen so obviously all in Pakistan listen to whatever ISPR says and belives India’s surgical strike is fake. Similarly Indians listens to their military and belives surgical strike has happened. Both military knows who is taking truth and who is in denial mode.
    Time will tell the truth as in all previous episodes where it was overwhelmingly denied initially but later truth came out. So just chill and time will you the truth.Recommend

  • Mayor
    Oct 12, 2016 - 9:43AM

    It has now been more than 2 weeks and still Pakistanis are trying to prove it is fake. If it is fake why all the discussion? Once Pakistan claimed they shot down a Indian drone, it turned out it was toy drone which can be brought off the shelf from amazon. Hardly any debates or discussions happened in India because it was well known border security don’t use a toy drone. But here we are Pakistan is even addressing diplomats that surgical strikes never happened lol. Isn’t it a proof they are only saying part of the story? Recommend

  • Feroz
    Oct 12, 2016 - 10:24AM

    If burying the head in sand is comfortable and gives peaceful sleep, no reason why anyone should object. Please believe whatever you want since no one really cares.Recommend

  • saleem
    Oct 12, 2016 - 10:33AM

    I had mentioned another possibility in a previous comment. The Bombay stock had a rapid fall and rise as soon as government announced the ‘surgical strikes’ and as later it appeared to be smog. Those who would have planned this announcement can possibly mint billions with very little risk. This angle should be checked by Investigative journalists in India as permission to short the stocks on Bombay stocks is also I think recent phenomenon. Recommend

  • Maz
    Oct 12, 2016 - 1:18PM

    Pakistani Army says “no surgical strikes” – but Pakistani PM holds cabinet meeting to discuss “LOC situation” – because there were “no surgical strikes”. I guess there is a LOT to talk about “routine cross border firing” for Pakistan. Maybe in Pakistan the Pakistani PM routinely talks about “nothing” in cabinet meetings . Recommend

  • Amir
    Oct 12, 2016 - 1:21PM

    let’s assume surgical strike really did happen:

    Pakistan: Not admitting that it happened that the Indian army was able to penetrate the borders. Though there were reports an Indian soldier has been taken into custody. Two Pakistani soldiers died

    India: Yes they penetrated, Pakistan army found them or was waiting for them, most of their soldiers got killed or taken into custody, rest hit the high tail and went back. Things went horribly wrong.

    Thus claiming each other’s version falseRecommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Oct 12, 2016 - 2:09PM

    These Surgical strikes happened more than a week go . if Pak feels its all a fake then why are they all still talking about it . Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 13, 2016 - 1:08PM

    Stop rubbing it in………they know the truth……you know the truth……that should be enough.Recommend

  • Baba
    Oct 13, 2016 - 3:08PM

    @Bunny Rabbit:

    You mean talking about it, makes it real? Since when?Recommend

  • Burhan Hashmi
    Oct 13, 2016 - 10:44PM

    Damle dear, I am looking at my watch.Recommend

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