Surgical attacks prove shrewd Modi is the ultimate Chanakya

PM has demonstrated a clever mix of diplomacy and strategic planning in the military strike against Pakistan.

 |  4-minute read |   30-09-2016
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The Uri attack and the payback, all in a span of just 12 days, has proved Narendra Modi to be the ultimate modern-day version of Chanakya. That Uri was avenged even before the completion of the 13th day mourning ceremony of India's 18 slain soldiers demonstrates a new resurgent India under the Prime Minister.

Modi's diplomacy and skillful planning have never been in doubt but his dealings with Pakistan in which he found himself on the backfoot had left some twiddling their thumbs.

But he has put all that to rest now by his diplomacy after the Uri attack, finally capping it with an unexpected surgical strike to destroy Pakistan-backed terror launchpads on the other side of the LoC. Clearly, Pakistan was caught off guard as Modi showed himself busy with the usual and typical non-military response of India after the Uri attack.

India's efforts at isolating Pakistan in the international community by getting external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to tear Pakistan apart with her aggressive speech at the UN and getting Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan to withdraw from the SAARC summit in Islamabad - accusing the country of spreading terrorism - perhaps lulled the neighbouring nation into believing that a strike would be the last thing India would go for.

Or else terrorists won't have been present at the launchpads just within 4km of the Pakistani side of the LoC just a few days after the Uri strike.

Modi's Balochistan masterstroke on Independence Day and now the riposte to Pakistan after Uri are the first two big blows to Pakistan after Kargil and that too on the eve of Pakistani Army chief Raheel Shareef's retirement, a man who claims to have mastered the art of differentiating between the good and the bad terrorist.

Modi's talk about the Pakhtoons too being unhappy with Pakistan shows a deep understanding of the complex Pakistan situation. True, the Taliban, whether it's the main Taliban or the Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP), has risen mainly from the Pakhtoons.

modi-embed_093016042605.jpg Pakistan was caught off guard as Narendra Modi showed himself busy with the usual and typical non-military response of India after the Uri attack. (Photo credit: India Today) 

Both Taliban Pakhtoons or the moderate Pakhtoons like the descendents of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan have never reconciled to the drawing of the Durand Line by the British in 1893. The line was drawn to divide Afghanistan by creating the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and later merged with Pakistan. This was the reason why Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan willed before he died that he should be buried in his native place Jalalabad, the Afghanistan town close to the NWFP border.

Even the Taliban, which has both radical Islamic identity and the Pakhtoon identity running in it side by side, reportedly believes the border of the Pakhtoonwa is till Attock on the Indus river.

The feeling of Punjabi Muslim dominance is felt by the Pakhtoons too except in the Pakistani Army where the Pakhtoons (who comprise the second most important group after Punjabis) have merged with the Punjabi or the Pakistani identity.

In fact, the Durand Line was drawn by the British to save Punjab and Sindh from Pakhtoon attacks. All in all, the Durand Line can be brought into question by magnifying Pakhtoon identity, especially after Pakistani Army operations in NWFP against the TTP that have affected common population too and made 8,00,000 Pakhtoons flee for their lives to Afghanistan and rendered 50,000 homeless.

In fact, if the Pakhtoons of NWFP unite with the backing of Afghanistan on the Durand Line issue and hint at creating a greater Afghanistan, a development which will need much greater level of efforts, then that could be a greater headache for Punjabi Pakistan than even Balochistan.

For Balochis are a sparsely populated people across a vast expanse and therefore militarily controllable for Pakistan, which won't be the case if the Pakhtoons rise in the name of Pakhtoon identity. For Pakhtoons are greater fighters and better equipped.

Plus, such a development presents the difficult and rare prospect on the long run of creating differences within the Pakistan Army in which the Punjabis and Pakhtoons are the major elements. Modi understands these complex dynamics if one tries to catch the thread of his speeches since August 15, 2016.

Key Modi aides say that when PM plans the first step, he knows what will be his fifth or 10th step in whatever he does. It explains that Modi kept the first half of his term for wooing Pakistan to bring it on board, and choose the path of belligerent response in the remaining half of his term if Pakistan failed to fall in line.

He is clearly choosing the second option now after having failed in his first option. It's a wise move as none can accuse him now of jingoism on his handling of Pakistan after his diplomacy at the international level and skillful manoeuvring at the local political level on the issue.

Clearly, now is the time to watch Modi and his response to a rogue Pakistan launching possible terror attacks inside India in retaliation for the Uri riposte, using its bands of "good terrorists".

Also read: 5 signs India's surgical strikes have deeply rocked Pakistan

 

Writer

Uday Mahurkar Uday Mahurkar @udaymahurkar

The writer is a Central Information Commissioner with the Central Information Commission. He is former senior journalist with India Today.

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