Defence expert or patriot, stop declaring war on Pakistan

We must also develop a culture which doesn’t treat any questions asked to the defence forces as sacrilege.

 |  4-minute read |   19-09-2016
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The attack at Uri and its coverage by the electronic media reminded me of stand-up comedian Varun Grover’s act during the India Today Conclave 2016.

Referring to one particular channel, he talked of the poll conducted by that channel on whether Pakistan should be attacked and the dilemma this poll puts the Army Chief into.

The coverage of the attack on the strategically located Army formation on September 18 has sent TRP ratings soaring and many channels and panelists are indulging in chest-thumping display of seasonal patriotism.

Pakistan bashing is back as flavour of the season and good times are back for self-proclaimed defence analysts spreading their half-baked ideas on what the government’s response should be.

One such particularly uneducated analyst went on to suggest that we should attack Pakistan and open another front in Punjab to teach them a lesson.

The twitterati and social media is busy reminding Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his election rhetoric of “Pakistan ko jawab usiki bhasha mein dena chahiye. Ye love letter likhna band karo” - or words to the effect.

Talks of sanctions against Pakistan without realising that there hardly is any formal trade between our two countries and the informal trade carried through locations in West Asia is four times in our favour. So many such suggestions are floating around and nothing that is being talked about is new.

While we must do whatever is feasible to highlight the complicity of Pakistan in terror activities, unfortunately, in this cacophony of feigned indignance one very important aspect has been given almost a total go-by. This is the aspect of the standard of security of our military campuses and defence establishments.

Twenty precious lives of trained soldiers have been lost. Therefore, a question must be asked as to how these terrorists managed to enter the supposedly well-guarded headquarters in a sensitive area.

uri1-embed_091916022045.jpg Uri is surrounded by Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir from three sides. (Photo credit: Reuters)  

Uri is surrounded by Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir from three sides. The distance of the LoC from one of the sides is as little as 5.5km. Reports suggest there was some kind of intelligence report of an action by militants in this area.

Even if these reports were not there, security is supposed to have been perpetually at its highest because of the location and strategic importance of this formation. There must have been a security perimeter patrolled by soldiers and static sentries with alarm systems that the commanding officers are so fond of highlighting during briefings to senior officers during visits and inspections.

Furthermore, had this been a one-off incident, the margin of error could have been pardonable. But unfortunately these incidents keep happening with frighteningly regular frequency. It seems no lessons have been learnt from the incident of Pathankot early this year or Dinannagra last year and Samba a couple of years ago.

The terrorists succeed in finding their way inside our campuses with impunity and carry out their terror activity successfully. Kargil happened in spite of intelligence barring the area where the BSF unit was deployed because they did not vacate their posts.

It is a given that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism and India is its enemy number one. It would leave no stone unturned to inflict injury upon India “by thousand cuts”. They would keep helping terrorists to carry out their activities.

While the option of going to war with them is easy to bandy about by laymen, and is an issue with which to arouse the sentiments of the population specially at the time of elections, it is perhaps not a viable option in the present day strategic scenario that exists in the subcontinent.

As has been said above, all viable options should remain open to deter Pakistan from sponsoring these acts of terror; the Army brass must put their heads together to analyse repeated causes of failure as pointed out above, failing which we will keep shedding tears and repeatedly crying martyr for the very soldier who gave up his life because of criminal negligence of adherence to standard operating procedures.

We must also develop a culture which doesn’t treat any questions asked to the defence forces as sacrilege.

Also read: Uri attack: Martyred soldiers were our children, and the mothers have a question

Writer

Sanjiv Krishan Sood Sanjiv Krishan Sood @sood_2

The writer is a retired additional director general of the Border Security Force.

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