SITREP

Let Pakistan cry: Parrikar is spot on. Use terrorists to neutralise terrorists

The defence minister has a job at hand - keeping India safe - against all odds and whatever the cost.

 |  SITREP  |  4-minute read |   28-05-2015
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"If any country, why Pakistan, is planning something against my country, I will take proactive steps. Of course, not in the public domain. But what I have to do, I will do it. Whether it is diplomatic, whether it is pressure tactics or whether it is using the… woh usko bolte hain na Marathi mein kaante se kaanta nikaalte hain… Hindi mein bhi rahega… you have to neutralise terrorist through terrorist only."

- Manohar Parrikar, Union defence minister

The job of a defence minister is to keep the country safe from external aggression and external threats. The threat in the present day context is hybrid in nature - partly from an army and partly from non-state actors trained, armed, funded and launched by the adversary's army.

It should come as no surprise that Pakistan, separatists and like-minded people are up in arms. Why should India lose precious lives of soldiers or civilians to combat terrorists trained, armed and launched by the Pakistani state? For decades, strategic community has bemoaned India's reactive policy of addressing terror either at the doorstep or inside our country. As part of offensive defence - why not neutralise the threat at the source? Parrikar wisely did not elaborate. But in national interest, it is the best policy to eliminate danger as far away from our borders as possible, without using own men and material.

India has the resources and Pakistan has the right environment. If Pakistan does not crack down on India-centric terror expressing its inability to do so - considering it is fighting a do-or-die battle in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa area - then it is India's responsibility to neutralise the threat as best as possible. Unlike the US operations to kill Osama Bin Laden, or Israel's role in the famous Entebbe hostage rescue operation, India does not have to use its special forces for the operations.

These are situations best handled by experts. Whether disgruntled elements within the terrorist groups do the job or the right minded people in the security establishment of the adversary's country - political or parliamentary oversight should be restricted to clearing the end result. Terror must be neutralised at its source without losing precious lives of own soldiers and assets. Parrikar is spot on when he says loss of officers like Col MN Rai and others who fell fighting terrorists - is a cost too high to pay. He has ordered the army to ensure it inflicts maximum damage to the perpetrators of terror with no cost to self in terms of life. At the same time avoid collateral damage. Parrikar is also spot on when he says India does not keep a 1.3 million strong army to preach peace. This is a professional army trained to kill those who harm India.

India has since 1947 been at the receiving end of Pakistan sponsored terror and military aggression. Months after partition, Mohammed Ali Jinnah launched tribal warriors to forcibly annex Jammu and Kashmir in 1947. They were soon followed by the Pakistan Army. Pakistan lost every war it fought against India - 1947, 1965, in 1971 Pakistan was partitioned and Bangladesh was born. Pakistan army surrendered at Dhaka. Pakistan once again lost both in Siachen (Operation Meghdoot) and in Kargil (Operation Vijay) in 1999.

Since the early 1980s, Pakistan has also been training and arming terrorists to fight the security forces both in Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir. India is well aware of Pakistan's evil designs - from lone wolf attacks in Jammu and Kashmir to large-scale repeated terror strikes in Mumbai in 1993, 2006, 26/11, Javeri Bazar to coordinated terror attacks through the Indian Mujahideen in Ahmedabad and Surat, Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore and elsewhere. Pakistan army and ISI have also been indicted for launching terror attacks on the Indian embassy and mission in Kabul and Herat. On the day of the historic swearing in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then Afghan President Hamid Karzai told me that Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attack on the Indian mission in Herat.

Pakistan will cry and so will pro-Pakistan voices, but in my opinion they should be treated with the contempt they deserve. After all Parrikar has a job at hand - keeping India safe - against all odds and whatever the cost.

Writer

Gaurav C Sawant Gaurav C Sawant @gauravcsawant

Executive Editor, India Today TV. Author Dateline Kargil (Macmillan).

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