Aug 28, 2006

Let Us Flex Our Muscles At Least Now

The Pakistani army using tanks, artillery, helicopter gunships and fighter jets hunted down Baloch nationalist Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and killed him and others. Musharraf was true to his word on using any type of force to crush the Baloch rebellion and Uncle Sam just looked the other way when Musharraf used brute force to kill his fellow countrymen. No questions asked about the human rights of these people who are/were fighting for a fair share of the revenues generated by their province Balochistan. Uncle Sam’s silence on this brutal killing was expected - after all they need the Pakistani army to hunt down Al Qaeda terrorists a little toward the north on the Pak-Afghan border.

In all these years of Pakistan backed jihad in our part of J&K and elsewhere in India, we have never used brute force like helicopter gunships, fighter jets or tanks to hunt down and kill LeT, JeM, HM, etc terrorists who camp at higher reaches in the mountain ranges of the Himalayas after training at terrorist camps in PoK and other areas of Pakistan. If I recall correctly we even hesitated at first to use fighter jets to bomb Pakistanis and jihadis perched on Kargil peaks during Kargil incursion by the Pakistanis. Praveen Swami wrote recently how we are not able to destroy LeT camps in our J&K, as we cannot afford to spare additional troops.

.…Terror groups such as the Lashkar appear to be conserving their resources in well-established bases such as the Bandipora mountains of north Kashmir. Ever since 1999-2000, the Lashkar started developing fortified hideouts in the Patwan and Chatarnar forests, which served as receiving stations for terrorists who crossed the LoC. Protected by an elaborate system of lookouts, Lashkar operatives proceeded to establish weapon caches and communications centres.

Most important of all, the Bandipora base served as a centre from which operatives and explosives could be despatched for high-profile operations, such as the 2004 attack on the Prime Minister, the New Delhi serial bombings last Diwali, the assassination of State Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone - and, of course, the operation targeting the Chief Minister. While local Lashkar cadre facilitated the operation of the Bandipora-based strike squads, they did not involve themselves directly in executing the attack.

…Sources told Frontline that, at a June 20 briefing organised for United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Northern Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Deepak Kapoor, argued that the core problem was the lack of will among the 31,000 men of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) who have been committed to the State capital.

At a subsequent meeting with National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan though, police and intelligence personnel hit back. Officials argued that it was impossible to secure Srinagar unless the Lashkar's mountain bases were destroyed. Local operatives working for the Lashkar had repeatedly been arrested since 2002, Narayanan was told, but their commanders in Bandipora continued to operate with relative impunity because of the Army's unwillingness to flush terrorists out of the forests.

Targeting the Lashkar's north Kashmir fortress - or similar strongholds such as the Yaripora-Shopian mountain in southern Kashmir and the Harwan forests in central Kashmir - is not, however, a simple project. Since at least 2000-01, military strategists have considered the prospect of a pincer action against the Bandipora forests, involving simultaneously pushing troops south from the Bod Kol river near Gurez and north through Patwan and Chatarnar.

However, such action has been deterred by the twin prospects that the estimated 50-75 Pakistani terrorists hidden in the Bandipora forests might evade a large military operation - or, in the alternate, that an offensive push against well-defended positions could result in casualties not commensurate with the potential dividends. An offensive of this scale and the task of ensuring that the forests remain free of terrorists could require an additional Army division, a politically contentious move in the midst of a peace process.

Just what solutions will be found are impossible to predict but solutions are needed if the peace process in the State is not to remain mired in an impasse. Continued killings have worked to undermine the legitimacy of the peace process among audiences in and outside of Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, renewed summer infiltration across the LoC have put paid to hopes that cross-border terrorism would gradually wither away. What some mistook as the end of the storm, it seems likely, was just a lull. [Frontline/The Hindu]

It is very clear that in order to secure Srinagar these camps should be destroyed without losing anymore time so there will be no more grenade attacks on innocent tourists who are the bread and butter of many Kashmiris. I am no military expert but still common sense tell me that to cut down on our casualties, brute force of the Indian Air Force is the best option to destroy these camps. It’s downright ridiculous that we just watched meekly as Lashkar went on building these fortified camps from 1999. Just what was the government thinking about? How not to violate the human rights of these jihadis and still destroy the camps or how to handle human rights lectures/admonitions from the West (read Uncle Sam)? Agreed we don’t have the guts to destroy jihadi camps in PoK and Pakistan because we fear a nuclear response from Pakistan but these camps are right in our territory and still we get fidgety in ordering strikes on these jihadi camps. Today the major constituents of the jihadi groups are Pakistanis, Afghans and professional jihadis from various Islamic countries and not Kashmiris. So we don’t have to be guilty of killing “our own misguided people”. These jihadis are eager to die for Islam so they can enjoy the company of 72 virgins in paradise. When this is the case why is the Indian government taking so long to send them to paradise?

Let us not forget that Islamists are neo-fascists who believe in the supremacy of their religion. These deranged people will show no mercy to any infidel in their quest of Islamic Utopia. When that’s the case let us too not show them any mercy and blow their camps to smithereens. As Praveen Swami wrote, what is clear, though, is that even successful counter-terrorism operations… …could prove of only limited use until means are found to evict terrorists from the forest fortresses.

This is an opportunity for us to send a strong message to jihadi Islamists holed up in J&K and other parts of India waiting to commit the next terrorist outrage. So, borrowing from the neocon lexicon, lets shock and awe them. Let us stop being a meek and submitting country.

Our government should remember that after about 59 years of independence we have been able to create a booming economy which is the toast of the world but it will be of no use if the people who are the backbone of this promising economy are sitting ducks for Pakistan backed jihadis to blow up whenever they feel like.


Apollo said...

It is in our own interest to keep the conflict low key. if we use gunships and fighter planes to bomb terrorists hiding in our own territory then we automatically draw the attention of the world media who we all know are leftists and not well disposed towards India. they will do the same here what they did to Israel in south lebanon.unleash a propoganda offensive full of lies, half-truths and distortions.

RS said...

You very well know what type of human rights violations take place in China and the western media highlight this issue from time to time. Still how many Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on China because of this?

My friend, the West love money like anything. They will invest anywhere where they find the next el dorado and we are the next.