Tweeting the Drums of War

On 2nd January, 2016; a heavily armed group of Pakistan based terrorists infiltrated into India and attacked the Pathankot Air base in Punjab State. In the initial battle, four terrorists and three security persons died in combat. Three more security persons who were grievously injured died in hospital, raising the death toll to six. The initial battle lasted for over 17 hours and then sporadically continued till January 4th, when the final terrorist was declared killed by the security forces. The final death toll was 6 terrorist / attackers, 1 civilian and 7 Indian security people (5 from Defence Service Corps, 1 Indian Air-Force Commando and 1 officer of the National Security Guard).
The social media has been afire with known and unknown “experts” giving their opinion regardless of the facts on the ground. Most are incensed that the Govt. of India has not yet launched a counter-attack on Pakistan to “teach them a lesson”. Politicians from all parties first condemned the terror attack and then each other for lack of reaction to this terrorist attack. Much has been said about the “inefficient conduct” of the Government machinery and the Armed Force’s response to containing and exterminating the terrorist.
The first issue that should be taken into account is that the terrorists were wearing Indian Army uniforms. The initial casualties of the security forces happened because of this deception. The subsequent casualties that happened were due to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that were encountered by the security people. IEDs by their very definition are highly unstable and have a large circumference of damage when they explode. They are also extremely difficult and dangerous to disarm, since every IED bomb-maker has individual design techniques. The second issue being raised is that of a delay in response to the attack. This is a blatant falsehood being perpetuated by those who want to harm our Nation, especially many from the mainstream- media (MSM). The reality is that Indian command and control mechanism was very pro-active and the only delay was due to logistics constraints (moving troops and equipment to the battlefield) and not decision making, as is claimed by many.
Most of the anger being vented by the social media “experts” seems to be based on the singular fact that the kill ratio of terrorist to brave-hearts (6: 7) is unacceptable. Does that mean that if the country had lost only a couple of our soldiers, the anger would have been less? Let us be very clear, every individual loss of life in the protection of our Nation is a loss of a hero that we cannot afford to lose. However, the reality is that, every battlefield throws up casualties, and we have to bear the brunt of the loss of our troops again and again. This very anger and frustration is driving the need for a war with Pakistan. And therein lies the trap that needs to be avoided.
If India does go to war in retaliations against frequent terrorist attacks that originate from Pakistan territory, what would be the objective of this war? What would be the physical goals to achieve, so that we in India can get the feelings of a satisfying revenge?
Would the objective (goal) be the invasion and takeover of POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)? Would that be a fitting response? Or would the objective of war be the occupation of the entire country of Pakistan? Assuming that either option is the objective, how long would the Indian forces stay in the captured territory? Would the occupation be time-bound, or perpetual? Will India declare the captured territory as irrevocable parts of India? What will be the legal status of the current residents of this territory? Will they become Indian citizens once the territory is annexed? What is the guarantee that the current residents will welcome Indians as liberators and heroes, and not fight Indian forces as their enemies?
The 2003 invasion of Iraq by USA and its coalition of the unwilling, is a clear example of occupying a sovereign nation is fraught with dangers; physical, geopolitical and financial. A war always results in the death of soldiers in thousands and depletion of finances by the millions. The quagmire that the Western countries find themselves in over the last 12-15 years is self explanatory. Should India follow this “definitely-will fail-make-us-bankrupt” policy of war? That’s a thought that requires some deep considerations.
In fact, the wars of the 21st century can no longer be fought on the killing fields of borders between nations. Current and NextGen wars will be fought on two widely diverse battlefields. One will be in the arena of global finance and economic strength. The winners will be defined by their robust and strong economy, industrial growth, financial reserves and respectable GDP. Wars will be won by literally drowning the enemy into global debt, negative growth and a broken financial system. The current government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already shown its strong performance in this area. The economy of India is on a strong growth and nothing (except maybe natural disasters will be able to stop this). Compared to the Indian economy, Pakistan is a perennially destitute nation that is dependent on financial handouts from USA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The second arena of war is a War-by-Proxy. Here, Pakistan has the distinctive advantage over India. Pakistan has been the sponsor of such warfare since the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union in December 1979. It was in Pakistan that the initial “Mujahideen” (guerilla warriors) armies were raised and trained. In its roots, mujahideen refers to any person who performs jihad. “Jihad” is the term, used to define the Islamic conquests during the early history of Islam, and now is defined by armed guerilla attacks across the world. Today’s Jihadi groups are based in Pakistan and Afghanistan; but they have been financed at various times by the USA, other European nations, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and many Arabic non-government organizations. In Pakistan itself, they have the backing and blessings of the Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI) that is increasingly seen to be acting on its own agenda that is radically different from the official policies of the democratically elected Govt. of Pakistan.
The decades long lead by Pakistan in the arena of proxy-war over India has been the prime reason that India has not been able to respond back adequately and immediately to terrorist attacks. As a matter of record, it is not only Pakistan that has been indulging in proxy war against India. China has been doing the same by funding and sponsoring the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Russia by its funding of the other communists; USA and Western powers through the use of church groups that spread Christianity and sponsor religious conversions in India and neighbouring countries, and Saudi Arabia by funding Wahabi madrasas that sponsor local terrorist activities.
It is rumoured that the current Government has understood the implications and advantages of proxy-warfare. Yet, to-date, there has been no reports of India sponsoring any violent activity in a foreign country. It is a matter of pride that India’s nascent proxy war effort is overt and involves assistance to neighbouring countries in the form of financial aid, technical aid to build infrastructure, medical and humanitarian aid as a disaster response and a global cultural attack with the publicity of the benefits of Yoga exercises.
Whether there will be any covert attacks against Pakistan is a matter of debate. Whether any infrastructure for sponsoring armed conflicts inside Pakistan is being formed is also a matter of wild speculation. All that we-the-People of India need to know is that we are a financially stable, economically strong Nation with a majority population that is not afraid of terrorism. And that is our road to prosperity and happiness.
‘Sardar’ Sanjay Matkar is an audacious adventurer, an avid student of history and global politics. Recently, He has authored Showdown At Dabiq – Islamic State Vs Armies of Rome in the 21st century 

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