The day of 27th September 2016 will be marked as one of the most historic days in the history of India, as this date marks an occurrence which India did for the first time. India, in the past, has neither attacked any other country nor has it coveted any sort of territory. Everything that resulted was in response to an incident that took place on 18th September that shook the minds of the citizens of our country.
The tension prevailing between India & Pakistan escalated when on September 18, the Uri Army Base in Jammu & Kashmir was attacked, which led to the subsequent surgical strikes by India on the other side of the Line of Control, which is a de-facto border.
Pakistan has always been known for harbouring terrorists in various camps situated all across the territories of its nation. This incident completely transformed sparks into fire, which was ignited when a militant leader was killed in Jammu & Kashmir in July.
On 19th of September, after the Army Camp in Uri was attacked, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the National Security Advisor, Mr. Ajit Doval, to probe into the Uri attack, identify the perpetrators and explore all the options at hand, including the possible role of military . On 21st of September, the Uri residents made a huge contribution to the whole plan as they caught two guides, who helped the Army base attackers. On the very same day, Pakistan officially denied any sort of role in the attacks in Uri. The Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, was also summoned and was handed over a letter stating the involvement of a terrorist group behind the Uri attacks, being harboured in Pakistan. This day also witnessed Mr. Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, raking up and talking extensively about the Kashmir issue during his speech at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly. This was the time when thoughts of opting for a military operation became more concrete.
On 22nd September, Lt General Ranbir Singh, the Director General of Military Operations, briefed the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, the Defence Minister, Mr. Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor, Mr. Ajit Doval, and the Army Chief, on the conduction of certain military operations on the other side of the Line of Control and also, about the positions of the Pakistani army. On 23rd September, all the options put forth by Mr. Doval in consultations with the three service chiefs were being considered, and after Modi met the Defence Minister, Mr. Doval ultimately authorized the surgical strikes.
After this decision of conducting a military operation beyond the Line of Control was taken, all the top notch people directly connected with the operation, for example, Mr. Doval, the Army Chief, etc. discarded their mobile phones. All the communication was done through highly secured communication lines only. This was done keeping in mind the activation of all the Pakistani Radars across the Line of Control. Indian authorities constantly monitored and scrutinized the movements of the political leadership in Pakistan, Pakistani army personnels, the X-Corps which are based in Rawalpindi and are also the in charge for the Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and the Gilgit based commanders. On 24th September, Modi attended several meetings and also addressed a rally at Kozhikode, wherein he said, “Will neither Forgive nor Forget Uri.” Meanwhile, the Indian Army gets ready. The Northern Army Commander picked the strike team from 1, 3, and 4 Parachute Battalions. All the Nitro programme satellites were activated to monitor the possible targets. Provided the fact that the Pakistani Radars across the Line of Control were activated, conducting an operation through helicopters was not considered to be a feasible idea.
On 27th September, the D-Day, at around 10 pm, all the villages near the border in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir were evacuated. From 11 pm onwards, the strike teams started moving to the locations. The intention was to co-ordinate the attacks, hence, some teams which had distant targets left a bit earlier.
Sentries which were there at the launch pads were neutralised with the help of snipers before the strike teams went inside. One of the Indian soldiers, while coming back, stepped on a land mine and was badly injured. Apart from him, everyone else was successful in reaching back to the base at around 9 am, and there was hardly any retaliatory firing from the side of Pakistan.
The strike teams were successful in razing down 6 launch pads, and gunning down approximately 45 terrorists at various locations, and it was very evident that the Uri attacks were avenged.
After the operation, a Cabinet Committee Meet on Security was called by the Prime Minister, and the Director General of the Military Operations, Lt General Ranbir Singh informed his Pakistani Counterpart about the strike. At around 12:30 pm, the DGMO Lt General Ranbir Singh addressed the Media at a press-conference. He said, “The launch pads were targeted after a week of surveillance. Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them.”
The whole operation seems to be like a very well-planned and a sizeable in-scale operation. But still, there are a lot of theories lingering about which claim that there hasn’t been any strikes at all. If Pakistan contends that there hasn’t been any strike, people may also hope the fact that they may not retaliate, because of a very simple reason that you don’t retaliate against an incident that has never occurred. Even, the United Nations has also said that its mission which is dedicated towards maintaining the cease fire between India and Pakistan “has not directly observed” any firing on the Line of Control. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon said that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) “has not observed any firing across the LoC related to the latest incident.” Still, in lieu of all these theories, I still believe the fact that India did conduct surgical strikes across the border and I appreciate the evidence on the side of India”.
This incident brings along a moment for the Prime Minister to tell all the Pakistanis about the change that has come in the functionality in India and they must very well recognize that change. It is quite sure that as the general Indian public is well aware of the strikes now, it is definitely going to help in assuaging the domestic Indian anger against the Pakistani harboured terrorism. India seems to have taken a lot of tremendously important steps to minimize and decrease the military tensions and escalation between the two nuclear power nations. This is supported by the fact that India only targeted non-military facilities and communicating the necessary information about the surgical strikes to the Pakistani Government first, before it talked about it in front of the press.
There is another angle to this whole incident in terms of foreign policy. This can be put as one of the remarkable events leading to the turnaround of Modi’s policy towards Pakistan. The symptoms were shown during his speech on 15th August, wherein he talked about the human rights violations by Pakistan in Balochistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
The speech given by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, at the United Nations General Aseembly, was strongly responded by Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India, during her speech at the UN. Her speech clearly put Pakistani harboured terrorism as a global threat and challenge. Pakistan has been continuously pressurized by the diplomatic actions of the Republic of India. Now, the future course of action completely depends on the approach of Pakistan towards this incident. The Pakistani army has a very vital role to play in the administration. It is at a position where it is very likely that it its interests are staked and it loses its position in the international political arena. But again, this argument is completely nullified by the fact that Pakistan still gets an abundance of economic funding from the People’s Republic of China. Provided the fact that there has been a tremendous investment by China in Pakistan as a part of several initiatives such as One Belt, One Road initiative, etc., it is very likely that Pakistan wouldn’t have to worry about the international pressure and reaction with such a strong and an indispensable Chinese support.
Whatever may be the actions, and whatever may be their reactions, at the end of the day, it is us with whom the power lies. If we, as general public, are able to channelize this responsibility into something positive, then the day is not far, when there will be harmony between the two nations.