The counter-terrorist strikes undertaken by the Indian Army inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are the most significant series of operations in the recent past. The strikes came about in the aftermath of a terrorist attack by four militants on an Army camp at Uri. The attack was clearly undertaken by the terrorists with support of state agencies in Pakistan, which can be assessed on the basis of the nature of operation.
The terrorists were carrying weapons with under-barrel grenade launchers with incendiary capability. This is usually not a weapon of choice of terrorists, unless it is specifically related to the nature of target.
In this case, the target was possibly available to the terrorists for a short duration, since an additional Army unit was deployed there temporarily. An assessment of the target as well as selection of an appropriate weapon is a specialised function of a military establishment, as was witnessed in Uri.
In light of the incident at Uri and the nature of support from the Pakistani establishment, a strike at the terrorist infrastructure across the LoC presented obvious challenges. This included building up for a strike on multiple terrorist launch pads across the LoC. While these are from a few hundred to a couple of kilometres beyond the LoC, yet gaining precise intelligence in the face of Pakistani regular forces immediately behind them is dangerous.
Also, given that the surgical strike took place shortly after the attack at Uri, the preparedness of the Pakistani forces was likely to be high.
The process of coordinating multiple and simultaneous strikes is very challenging, especially when this is conducted at large distances from each other. In addition, the capability to come unscathed after the same speaks volumes about the Army’s professional capability.
The strike is unique as it is possibly the first time that India has officially claimed and accepted having conducted it across the LoC. This was not only announced through a joint press conference of the Army and the external affairs senior representatives, but also officially conveyed to the Pakistani Army Director of Military Operations.
This might well prove to be a master stroke by India, since its target was clearly the terrorists, an action which is likely to have international sympathy and approval.
Since the target of the strike were terrorists, the Pakistani Army is robbed of its locus standi to undertake a formal and official counterstrike.
It also sets in motion a precedence that could well be repeated in future to retaliate against terrorist strikes emanating from across the LoC. Despite the obfuscation being attempted by the Pakistani Army, in their bid to deny the action as a face-saver, the action is likely to humiliate them in public perception.
Having achieved this objective, India does not have to undertake punitive diplomatic actions like recall of its ambassador, thereby retaining the high moral ground.
Lastly, India has indicated the cost of such misadventures across the spectrum of options. From diplomatic, economic and military losses that have been inflicted, Pakistan will be forced to consider the costs that they will have to bear in case of such incidents.
Further, this is only likely to increase in the coming days. This is critical because terrorist strikes can only be controlled when the cost-benefit ratio of undertaking them becomes redundant.
Domestically, the biggest achievement of the action is in boosting the national and security forces' morale, which was repeatedly being affected negatively due to terrorist strikes.
India has proved that it has military capability to strike at targets across the LoC, which will have a cautionary effect on terrorist handlers and terrorists.
Furthermore, India has indicated that a change is imminent in terms of the manner in which the country is likely to react to such incidents in future.
Watch video: How India carried out military operation in PoK