Council for Strategic Affairs

Council for Strategic Affairs

Pulwama is the New Pearl Harbor!

The dastardly malicious terrorist attack in Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir killing 42 CRPF soldiers is the latest calculated act of war by the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) of the Jihadistan, aka Pakistan, to provoke civilian unrest in India prior to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Attempt to disrupt India’s democracy is a brutal assault on the heart of democracy!
On February 14, around 42 CRPF personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district in a Jihadi terror attack orchestrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a semi-military outfit nurtured by Pakistan. The CRPF convoy comprised of 78 buses in which around 2,500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar. Around 42 martyred soldiers were in a bus, into which the terrorist rammed his vehicle with over 100 kg explosives. It was the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in Jammu & Kashmir. This is a well-planned and calculated military operation orchestrated by the ISI, an intelligence agency of Jihadistan and not of a lone wolf Aadil Ahmed.
Pulwama terrorist attack is a game changer for the psyche of the Indian nation! Time has come for the Government of India to take proper military and police action against the terrorists, their backers and the terror infra-structure in the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir. India must show her resolve as a hard state and not as a “lamb state” and take the challenge head-on. We must not be thwarted in our duty and dharma to protect our nation state from Pakistani onslaught owing to pressure from USA and UK, the historical backers of Pakistan. Being a rentier state, Pakistan has new sugar daddies including Saudi Arabia and China that will continue to blindly support the Jihadistan. Nothing must come in the way of action that is the need of the time now! Political leadership of India must show a firm resolve to decimate terrorism instead of looking towards the UNSC to declare certain individuals as terrorists. Any territory that harbors terrorists wanted in India must become a lawful target for military action and total annihilation.

Government of India should declare immediately a state of internal and external emergency in the state of Jammu and Kashmir owing to the law and order situation created post Pulwama Jihadi terror attack. Armed forces must be, now, given free hand to neutralize the terror assets of Jihadistan working under the garb of Hurriyat Conference. The decision to withdraw security cover to Hurriyat leaders is a welcome first step. The bank accounts of all Hurriyat leaders and their assets must be frozen immediately. The flow of money from Pakistan to terrorist organizations and terrorists through Hawala transactions must be stopped immediately so that stone-pelters are not paid to disrupt the security combing operations. The stone-pelters are agents of terrorists and an important part of the never-ending war being waged against the Indian state. The war like situation must be dealt with war-footing only. If the Lok-Sabha elections need to be postponed in the state of J&K, so be it. National security comes first, elections come later. The local elections in J& K can be delinked from the national elections. The state can remain under the President’s rule till the security situation is controlled satisfactorily and all the strategic assets of ISI and Jihadistan are completely eradicated from the soil of J&K in its entirety. Pakistan financed Hurriyat leadership must be arrested and sent to Tihar jail while the military combing operations take place in the J&K. After the successful completion of national general elections in 2019, the six J&K Lok Sabha seats can go for polling at a later more convenient date when security forces can be freed up for election duties.

Military action must deploy a massive and overwhelming force that should lead to an end objective accomplished in sight. The Line of Control (LoC) is not a holy cow and security operations must be taken across the LoC. Military action must decapitate the Jihadi Leadership based across the LoC in the Jihadistan-Occupied Kashmir (JOK) using killer drones. All the terror infra-structure, Jihadi training camps, terror launch pads, military assets of state sponsored actors, ammunition depots, ordinance factories, and civilian infra-structure in permanent support of Jihadi operations in the Jihadistan-Occupied part of J& K must be destroyed by precision airstrikes, killer drones and hypersonic missiles. The legitimate targets for military action and aerial bombardment include power plants, military hospitals, water plants, military bases and other supportive infra-structures including terrorist launch pads, bridges, airports, military runways and highways that transport military supplies across the JOK. Muzaffarabad is an appropriate target for military action and retaliation for providing financial backing, political cover and material support to terror organizations. The same holds true for the CPEC infrastructure being developed and militarily deployed in the JOK by Pakistan. Government of India would not be violating any international law or treaty by taking law and order actions in Indian territories under adverse possession by the Jihadi forces across the LoC. Under international law, India has every right to self-defense. Entire state of Jammu & Kashmir including Gilgit and Baltistan are part of India. Indian security forces have every right to go anywhere in the state of J&K under international and national law.

Revocation of the most favored nation (MFN) status is the first action in a series of economic sanctions against Pakistan. We must impose strong economic costs on Pakistan both bilaterally as well as regionally. Pakistani artists and players must not be allowed to earn money in India. No more medical visas to Pakistanis for free treatment in Indian hospitals should be granted. The flow of water to Jihadistan from the six rivers originating in J& K must stop during the war situation. If the diplomatic relations have to be downgraded or severed, so be it. We must recall out High commissioner from Islamabad and send packing Pakistani High commissioner as persona non grata (PNG).

ISI is punching too much above its weight regionally by having simultaneous terror operations in India, Afghanistan and Iran by its state sponsored proxy actors and strategic assets. On February 13, a total of 27 members of Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed after an explosive-laden vehicle targeted the bus which was ferrying the military personnel in Khash-Zahedan sector of Sistan-Baluchistan province in south-eastern Iran.  The Iranian bombing also injured 17 others. According to Iranian media, Jaish-al-Adl, a separatist militant group claimed responsibility for the deadly assault.
While the Government of India has the immediate obligation to take stern and effective counter-military action to respond to this latest attack in the asymmetrical war by thousand cuts; time has come for a regional approach to neutralize the Jihadistan by a three-way pincer like military movement by the three countries directly affected by the fountainhead of Jihad. These three countries located in South-West Asia are namely India, Afghanistan and Iran. A common military alliance for the tactical purpose of defeating Jihadi forces once for all is in the strategic interests of all the three countries that are ancient civilizational brothers. India and Afghanistan have had civilizational and matrimonial alliances from the time of Mahabharata more than five thousand years ago. India and Iran are the two civilizational nations torn asunder by the colonial machinations of the British empire that created a wedge state of Jihadistan, aka Pakistan, dividing the land-based access between India and Iran. Government of India must offer bilateral Friendship and mutual assistance treaties to both Afghanistan and Iran. As the US starts abandoning Afghanistan, under Trump, there is going to be a security vacuum in Afghanistan. Pakistan will continue to use Taliban proxies to acquire strategic depth in Afghanistan. The strategic partnership agreement (SPA) with Afghanistan signed in October 2011 needs to be upgraded to include military, mutual defense and security cooperation. India will need to develop an Army and an Airforce base in Afghanistan, having invested $3 billion in civilian reconstruction of Afghanistan. Both President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah should have no hesitation in signing a bilateral friendship and mutual defense assistance treaty with India for next ninety-nine years. This should be followed by negotiations of a trilateral regional security framework involving India, Afghanistan and Iran (IAI). Such regional security framework must allow Indian armed forces access to land bases in Afghanistan and use of Chabahar port as a naval base for security and maritime action against Pakistan. India has to be in the driver’s seat this time to safeguard her national and regional geo-strategic interests without looking for permission to act from Washington, DC, New York, Geneva or from London! Pulwama is the new Pearl Harbor for the modern day India. The entire world must understand this!

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी DR. ADITYANJEE PRESIDENT, THE COUNCIL FOR STRATEGIC AFFAIRS, NEW DELHI