The Big News
1. Indian Army Wants SIx Months to END Terror Infrastructure in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
India’s armed forces have told the political executive that only a sustained six-month campaign will seriously damage the terror infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
Top military officers, speaking off record, told ETthat after India went public with its surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) last week, the armed forces brass had told the government that off and on strikes will not damage terrorists’ capabilities, and a medium-term plan is needed.
Armed forces’ seniormost strategists have also told the government that the country should be prepared for repercussions in Kashmir — there was a terrorist attack on a Border Security Force-Army camp in Baramulla on Sunday — as well as terrorist attacks elsewhere.
Good opportunity for action
Armed forces’ strategists also said a determined campaign is needed to target launch pads for such attacks.
A top army officer said: “We have to look at a sustained campaign. The terror network is on the back foot, but to really achieve something, we have to look at a medium-term plan, a six-month campaign. A one-off event will not deter them.”
India’s generals are of the view that Pakistan-based and sponsored terror handlers will attempt to push in more terrorists in the coming weeks to seek ‘revenge’ for India’s surgical strikes.
Therefore, more terrorist launch pads are likely to come up in PoK. These need to be neutralised, India’s military brass feels. Armed forces’ top officers have also told the government that the declared strike across LoC means India will have to up its game on Kashmir security, both beefing up the manning of the border as well as smarter political approaches in the Valley that include “credible healing touches”.
The brass feels demoralisation among groups in the Valley that help terrorists presents a good opportunity for further action. “We have the opportunity right now. Everyone is geared up and we have a much stronger hold on LoC than the other side.
This is the time to make an actual difference that will deter cross-border terror support,” another top army officer said. India’s military and intelligence assessment is that PoK hosts over 40 terror training camps.
These are located deep inside PoK. There are also around 50 launch pads, hosting more than 200 terrorists, close to LoC on the PoK side. These sites are protected by the Pakistan Army.
2. Will talk only on terror, says Delhi, amid reports that India, Pakistan NSAs have spoken
INDIA has never said no to a dialogue with Pakistan but it will be about stopping terrorism rather than on Jammu and Kashmir, a top official in the government told The Indian Express today amid reports from Islamabad that “contact has been established” between the National Security Advisors of both India and Pakistan.
According to a Press Trust of India report, India’s NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua spoke over the phone — the first such chat after the Uri attack and the surgical strikes — and discussed ways to reduce tension, said Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on Foreign Affairs to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
When asked about the phone call, the top official neither confirmed nor denied these reports.
The political and security establishment here are waiting to see how Pakistan responds to the strikes which, according to New Delhi, inflicted heavy casualties on Pakistan. Islamabad denies the strikes, saying it was a case of cross-border firing.
Sources said that going public with the strikes has given New Delhi new — and more — room to manoeuvre in its interaction with Islamabad. It has also somewhat levelled the playing field, the official said, because Pakistan has been told that “every Uri will see some kind of a reaction along the border”.
That’s why India is unlikely to scale down, any time soon, its “talk-only-terror” stand.
When asked if India would respond positively to Pakistan if it offers to have peace talks, the top official responded by pointing to a TV screen which was showing last night’s attack in Baramulla saying: “Is this their offer of peace talks?”