On 18th September 2016, at 5.30 am four terrorists from Pakistan attacked an Indian Army Brigade headquarters in Uri, a town near the Line of Control. Overall 18 personnel were killed and the terrorists were gunned down in a battle that lasted six hours. The soldiers belonged to 10 Dogra and 6 Bihar reguments. The Indian forces recovered a map with markings in Pashtun on the Plan of Action, Four AK-47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers along with lots of ammunition with Pakistani markings.
Per intercepts by Indian forces, 3 fidayeen attacks had been planned. One, in Uri, another in Poonch where the terrorists were engaged and killed and third would have been on Srinagar highway.
Is this Terrorism or War?
In 1965, Pakistan planned Operation Gibraltar against India. Why Gibraltar one may ask? After all what does this Spanish town have anything to do with Pakistan or India? Well, in 711, Arab forces launched their attacks from what was then known as Jabal (or Gibraltar) against Spain to establish the Islamic rule there.
The plan for the 1965 war was based on a report by some PoK based Jehadis, per whom the Kashmiris were so angry against India that all that Pakistan Army needed to do was to simply enter Indian side of Kashmir and they would be received with garlands and if they had an extra set of guns and ammunition, the Kashmiri youth will fight along with them against India. So the Pakistani jawans carried two guns and extra ammunition along with them!
Initially, advance troops from Pakistan Army’s Azad Kashmir Regular Force were sent in India disguised as locals to foment trouble. The idea was to create insurgency and violence and make it look as if it was all internal to India. The operation didn’t work well – because the Kashmiris who were imagined to be welcoming turned out to be hostile and India attacked Pakistan.
In Kargil too, General Musharraf assumed that if the Pakistani Army dressed as tribals could occupy the higher peaks and ranges and then attack, India will not do anything. Of course, they kept denying that it was Pakistan Army which was involved, a lie which was busted by the interception of Musharraf’s call to his Lieutenant – Lt Gen. Aziz – from the hotel in China!
As you can see in the analysis of Kargil war by the top Pakistan journalists, the assumptions for Kargil were just as fantastic as were that of the 1965 war. Of course, the reality was totally different. Something that the panelists roundly criticize, for good reason!
What are the central features of all the wars that Pakistan has fought since 1948? Let us look into them:
- Strong belief that Kashmiris on the Indian side are rabidly anti-India. So, whatever is planned via Kashmir will succeed.
- Send regular Pakistani Army soldiers disguised as tribals or locals and feign ignorance or keep repeating that it was not Pakistan itself but an “internal disturbance”.
- When cornered by the world, simply push complete deniability. Even when the all the records are against their story.
- Keep attacking.
Now look at the Mumbai attacks of 26-11 and other attacks in India – the Parliament attack and others including the latest in Uri. What do you see? That Jehadis are recruited and trained by Army – mostly by officers who are now designated as “retired”, but with full backing of the regular force itself – and then pushed to infiltrate into India. In case of latest attacks, these Jehadis are even given logistical support via satellite phones and GPS.
Looking at the situation of how Pakistan waged the wars until Kargil and how the terror attacks were waged – do you see ANY difference? Think again – are they terror attacks or Waging of War by Pakistan against India.
Apparently deniability comes cheap in the world. And it is something that can hit us in our face with numerous deaths, mocking us ever so cockily, and yet challenging us to do…. well, nothing.
How do you handle and break down such a bully?
In his own way.
Deniability comes cheap in the world. It is obvious. If you can buy enough intellectuals and paint an articulate picture, and have enough of atrocity literature, you can make Hamas sympathizers look like doves or Kashmir Jehadis as kids of humble schoolmasters! Deniability is a great weapon in covert wars. However, a bully is not broken down by “covert wars”. After all everyone knows it is Pakistan which has unleashed the terror monster in India and the rest of the world, and yet it does it with impunity against India. Doesn’t it?
When you attack someone in a ruthless manner – remember Captain Saurabh Kalia? – and mock that person right on his face while lying straight through your teeth – that is done for many reasons. The main one being to break down the self-image of your enemy and make him feel impotent! What can be worse than that?
That is how a bully works. And that is how he is broken down as well. Now is the time to hit back in the same vein. What can be done by India? Well, for one follow the Israeli way of covert war by using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents.
Measures that India can take Against Pakistan1
Swift and High Profile Hits: Quite like Israel does in Iran, it is time that India takes out the terror suspects themselves in quick succession. So people like Syed Salahuddin, Hafeez Sayed and Dawood Ibrahim should be eliminated in swift hits across the country. The time to expect Pakistan to help bring these terrorists to justice is over. In fact, Pakistan has just dropped all charges against the 26-11 accused because there are “no proofs”.
Basically the time for going the normal legal justice route is far over. It is time to go for it unilaterally. Infiltrate the country’s mafia and send hit men to get these guys out in a coordinated attack.2
Escalate the Balochistan Support All the Way: It is time to ratchet up the whole Balochistan struggle many notches. This will be the death blow to Pakistan in many ways. One, because it takes away 43% (134,051 mi²/307,374 mi²) of the whole Pakistan land. Two, it takes away the natural resources like gold and copper as something that can add to the economy. Three, it takes away Gwadar, the major port which the Chinese are counting on to provide them the access to Middle East. But most importantly, it takes away the overall geographical advantage that Pakistan has from its geo-location. That is something it has always milked but it can easily be neutralized by bringing its importance down and propping Balochistan up. For this a few things need to be done:
- Financially and politically support the Balochi movement
- Give Indian passports to the main Balochi activists
- Raise Balochistan freedom issue at every global forum
- Create politically astute, educated and aware Balochi leaders who can not just run the freedom movement but also manage their nation when it is free
- Help Balochis with intelligence inputs on how Pakistan is working against them
- Work with Iran and Afghanistan to create more pressure on the Western border of Pakistan to help the Balochi struggle
Hit areas near Kahuta: Kahuta is just 70 miles inside Pakistan from the J&K border of India. As Colonel Anil A Athale (retd), says it is something that can and should be done using artillery.
Its much vaunted nuclear assets at Kahuta are less than 70 odd kms from Balnoi in the Poonch sector of J&K. This is well within extended artillery range. Lack of strategic depth for Pakistan ought to lead to the need for peace with India.
If we look on the Google map, it becomes more clear as to where Kahuta is and what kind of vulnerability it has.
Currently India has Pinaka – the Multi-Launcher Rocket System (MLRS) – which can fire upto 60 km with its Mark II rockets. That would bring the hits from artillery close to Kahuta. Enough to negate the air defense that Pakistan may have created against a possible Indian air force attack.
Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 65 km for mark-II, and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds, neutralizing a target area of 3.9 km².
Although Russians have offered upto 70 km range artillery systems, but the Indian scientists have been working on the 100+ km systems. If we are anywhere close to that kind of capability then we can wreck quite a lot of havoc in and around Kahuta from the border.4
Attack the Electricity and Gas grids: Hacking and cyber warfare is becoming quite sophisticated. And India does have a strong base in the computing arena. In a special drive to recruit highly skilled hacking unit, Indian forces need to develop capabilities to bring down systems in Pakistan that may be vulnerable.
Given how connected all the energy systems – natural gas, water, electricity, nuclear – are in countries, it is quite possible to bring down several critical grids and systems by hackers in a coordinated way. Hacking does provide abundant defense of deniability.
Admittedly, Pakistan is not as networked as US is in terms of energy systems, but it is still possible to bring its economy to its knees with the right intervention.5
Interject in the markets: Pakistan’s trading markets also have a substantial networked element. The security is ostensibly not as robust as that in say the US. Recently, as much as 53% market hubs have been targets of attacks by hacking. If something similar happened in Pakistan, then its markets can be impacted in a big way. Last time when Pakistan’s markets tanked the country’s economy went into a tizzy!
What if markets in Pakistan get hacked and tank along with the hacking of all energy systems as the economy comes to a halt?6
Use Stuxnet type intervention to Close Nuke Plants and Get a Handle on Pak’s Nukes: The time is now come to actively work to close down Pakistan’s nuclear plants and also find ways to get a handle on the nuclear devices. Lets talk about the latter first. There is a definite threat for even the more advanced countries that their nukes and other weaponry can be hacked and misused. Like this report says.
The benefits to an attacker using cyber exploits are potentially spectacular. Should the United States find itself in a full-scale conflict with a peer adversary, attacks would be expected to include denial of service, data corruption, supply chain corruption, traitorous insiders, kinetic and related non-kinetic attacks at all altitudes from underwater to space. U.S. guns, missiles, and bombs may not fire, or may be directed against our own troops.
Heck, even the Brits are worried about their weaponry being hacked. Surely someone can find ways to contain Pakistan’s nuke warheads if needed!
On the other hand, it is also important to work to close the existing Nuclear plants which have been working overtime to create more nukes. US brought down the whole nuclear plant in Iran with the use of Stuxnet, billed as the world’s first digital weapon. It is critical that India also invests in ways to establish such a way to close down nuke plants of a country which is far more dangerous and rogue than Iran! While the world keeps thinking that Pakistan’s nukes are only for India, they miss one point completely – while Iranmay
get nukes andmay
target Israel, PakistanCAN
hit Israel with Nuclear warheads TODAY! See the pic below. Quite simply7
Create Cultural Infrastructure for Sharing Pakistan’s Truth: India has a very big leverage in Pakistan with most of the population watching the Indian TV serials and Bollywood movies. Just as Hollywood remains a way to create a cultural soft power, so should Bollywood and TV shows be for India. Subjects and content that is on the continuum of Direct to Subtle should be encouraged in India. Even the ads and movie music is created in India via the infrastructure here. That needs to be leveraged as well. Some movies have started coming up in Pakistan in the last few years which are a competition to Bollywood. Work needs to be done to manage that competition as well. The Truth of what Pakistan does in terms of terror and how it subjugates its own population – like in Gilgit, Baltistan and Balochistan – needs to be brought out completely. Movies with stories on those subjects need to be created and released globally.
Conclusion: Break down the Bully for it to stop
Bully only knows how to go on and on if the victims play meek. Pakistan has from day one – since the day it sent the tribals to Kashmir in a bid to ransack, rape, pillage and kill and annex Kashmir by force to the Uri attack – has used terror as the way to underscore its strength. To expect it to behave logically and rationally is out of question. In fact, it thrives on perpetuating terror and then creating a narrative that blames others for it. It snubs everyone who asks legitimate questions and hits those who want to talk (remember Vajpayee?). They have a success formula going for terror. And till this date – from the genesis of its creation via the Direct Action Day, when Jinnah invoked the Battle of Badr, to effect over 30,000 deaths within a couple of months – this formula of Terror, Deniability, Accusation and Playing Victim has succeeded. So, why would Pakistan ever stop this formula?
The only way to stop this formula from repeating is to make the use of it so expensive that it leads to self destruction! Break Pakistan apart and take away every aspect of it that lets it use terror as a justifiable means for enforcing its ideology and existence. It is time to make the Bully a Beggar.