Pakistan: What next after surgical strikes?

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Indian Military lived up to the mandate given by PM Modi and his government to protect India against infiltration early today (September 29) morning in a stunning surgical strike 3 Kms inside LOC with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. It destroyed 7 terror launch pads and eliminated 2 soldiers and about 38 terrorists who were getting ready to cross over to India. (source)

Indians have been angry with Pakistan for its terror war against India through attacks like 26/11, Patahnkot and Uri -just to name a few.  They expressed their anger and hope that their Government would match words by deeds (Read).

As the details of the daring operation started coming out Indians took to social media pouring out their joy and expressing their pride in their defense forces. In equal measure, they are expressing their happiness about having a real Prime Minister and his capable government who walk their talk.

For a while, Modi Government gave an impression to the world that it was banking on diplomatic efforts and  communication campaigns to deal with Pakistan. It described Pakistan as ‘Ivy League of terror’ and ‘following a toxic curriculum’ (Read ), and ‘exporter of terror’. It invited Pakistan Government ‘for a race in poverty reduction and development instead of violence’. It ordered reviews of Indus Water Treaty and MFN status of Pakistan. It pulled out of SAARC meeting in Pakistan. It started conducting naval exercises in Arabian Sea. All this, while Pakistan continued to violate ceasefire and to gather next batches of terrorists for crossing over to India. Pakistan may have thought it could continue and get away with its duplicity.

Even the world powers thought India will not escalate the situation beyond rhetoric.

May be not. Calls from John Kerry Secretary of State and Susan Rice, NSA of US to their counter parts in India may have been about these surgical strikes. It is possible that Modi Government kept USA in loop over the developments on ground.

There are reasons to believe that today’s surgical strike isn’t one-off event. Ever since assuming power in 2014, the Modi Government has been following a long term plan. On one level, the plan consists of offers to talk with Pakistan. Modi’s  impromptu visit to Pakistan was at this level.

At another level, India continued its diplomatic efforts to isolate and encircle Pakistan. Modi Government’s consistent efforts in documenting Pakistan’s role in various terror attack and pacts with Afghanistan are a part of this.  It is trying to contain China, Pakistan’s staunch ally,  through counterweights of US, Japan, and Vietnam at the same time showing willingness to make some concessions to it. It is trying to consolidate its friendship with Russia. It is using its trade and arms purchase power to extract help from various countries.

While doing all above and more, Modi Government has worked on our defense preparedness. It sorted out One Rank One Pension issue which was a big issue for our armed forces. When PM Modi told Arnab Goswami of Time Now that ‘our job is to talk (with Pakistan) the defense forces’ job is to protect our country on our borders’ it wasn’t rhetoric. He had articulated his doctrine in dealing with Pakistan. Not many got it right. Not many get it right even now.

Today’s surgical strike is just an element of this new doctrine.

PM Modi recently asked Pakistan in his Kozikode speech ” Is PoK is with you now? Is Bangladesh with you now? Sindh is with you. Balochistan is with you. But are things right there? Your leaders are making you fools in the name of Kashmir.”

He asked Pakistanis to think about which country got independence in 1947. PM Modi says one day the time will come when Pakistan citizens will take to the streets against terrorism. (Read )

It is unlikely that Paksitan will learn a lesson and stop terror. So does this ‘new doctrine’ include ‘an all out war’ with Pakistan? Probably not.

What next after the surgical strikes?

In Pakistan, its powerful army gets a chance to overthrow Sharif Government calling it ‘incompetent’ in dealing with India. There might be a military coup in Pakistan.

In appealing to people of Pakistan Modi is helping Pakistan’s endgame along. Pakistan is an unnatural and unstable state which can’t take care of its own people. It is propped up by external forces which are being used by Military and  Terror armies to draw sustenance. Pakistan’s so called ‘Islamic Identity’ hasn’t worked -it lost the then East Bengal, Baluchistan is raring to go, and Sindh wants to go too (Read )

One can expect protests in Baluchistan and Sindh to grow. There will be more efforts to contrast Pakistan’s lack of development with India’s progress and growing stature. There will be efforts to overcome Pakistani’s indoctrination of ‘Hate India’.  One can expect more unrest among common Pakistanis all over that country.

Modi’s  diplomatic efforts will be for exposing the illegitimacy of Pakistan. Like he reached out to Pakistani people, his communications will be addressed to citizens of world to build public pressure on their respective governments to stop helping a terrorist state. A military coup will turn world’s public opinion more against Pakistan.

PM Modi is likely to use trade diplomacy and economic means to persuade world powers. There may be efforts to show CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) to be unviable because of internal unrest and there may be an offer of a package deal with China.  A well governed India will be positioned as an attractive partner to China. Indian Navy’s overseeing of Arabian Sea will also be leveraged.

America’s real politic revolves around trade and arms trade. Everything else is mere posturing. So does many western powers’ and Russia’s. India’s defense requirements are huge and an economically strong India can pay. Contrast this with Pakistan which needs American aid to buy a batch F-16 fighter aircrafts.

Muslim countries of Gulf which didn’t help Muslim refugees from Syria are unlikely to help Pakistan much more, give that their economies need rebuilding after the reverse oil shock (of falling prices)

Like Uri was seized as a tipping point with respect to international opinion for our surgical strikes, there will come a tipping point in average Pakistani’s opinion about their own government and India. There may be some covert strikes in Pakistan. One of the goals of such strikes will be to safeguard nuclear weapons from terrorists and rogue elements. World powers will surely have stakes here.

As this author said before, Pakistan’s endgame has begun. PM Modi will hasten it slowly (as they say one should). It keeps collateral damage low and improves chances of success. We should build on our strengths, learn strategic thinking, and have patience to achieve our goals. Let us support the Prime Minister by doing our part.

This article was first published by here