What Next. Imran Rise And Be Counted, Modi Rise As A Global Statesman, Both Give Yourselves A Chance.
Major General Dilawar Singh (Retd), National Defence
New Delhi, 26 February 2019
The aerial action by the Modi Government against terrorist camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed in PoK have been received well by both the domestic population as well as by vast amount of the global community. The professionalism and excellence displayed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been commended by all.
Recently, in response to the tough call for a strong action against the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama, J&K by a explosive laden, vehicle borne, suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Bahawalpur, Pakistan based terrorist organisation, leaving 40 of the CRPF men martyred, Imran Khan, the Pakistani Prime Minister had appealed to India to give peace a chance.
After the aerial action by India today the geo strategic and geo political scenario has transformed substantially.
On one hand, till yesterday Modi was under immense pressure to act against Pakistan, on the other, Imran is under greater pressure to retaliate.
The world view however is more tilted in favour of Indian action including China who has not condemned Indian action and has called for mere restraint.
India’s stance that it’s action was non military and taken in self defence, after repeated failure of Pakistan against the terrorists who had carried out terrorist attacks on Indian side coming from Pakistani soil.
It is being seen by larger part of the world that India has been more than fair, transparent and patient in so far as giving a chance for peace is concerned over the past almost three decades. In doing so, India has repeatedly given information about numerous incidents carried out by the various terrorist organisations based in PoK and Pakistan, viz the Hizbul Mujahideen, the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad and sought necessary legal action against the named wanted terrorists as well as moved the UN Security Council to declare them as wanted/banned terrorist persons/ organisations, but due to denial by Pakistan and being supported by China not much success was achieved resulting in continued terrorist attacks and thousands of innocent civilian and security forces persons loosing their lives.
The incidents conducted by these organisations have been evidently clear cases of terror as seen in the incidents carried out by the terrorists belonging to these organisations at Akshardhaam, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Indian Parliament in New Delhi, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama.
In fact when evidence was sought by Pakistan, India gave sufficient, well documented dossiers of evidence especially for the Parliament attack and Mumbai attacks. In these cases India went to the extent of giving both technical evidence and documentary evidence some of it being sourced from neutral third country.
In case of Pathankot incident the Modi Government went beyond all past precedents across the world, to invite Pakistani investigation teams to the site of incident for early onsite evidence collection from an Air Force base, a confidential layout location, at the cost of inviting criticism by the civilian population and certain quarters of the Security forces, under the hope that Pakistan would honour it’s commitment and demonstrate fair and transparent legal action against the perpetrators of that attack, however, such hopes were bellied.
On the other hand it was more than evidently clear that the responsibility for all these terrorist attacks lay across Indian borders as the leaders and headquarters of all those terrorist organisations carrying out terror attacks in India were on Pakistani side.
Moreover those organisations had repeatedly themselves claimed responsibility of such terror attacks justifying them as jehadi actions. Pervez Musharraf and other leaders on numerous occasions had admitted to have raised, financed, trained and armed these terrorist organisations. In fact they claimed them as strategic assets.
The tasking, coordination and monitoring of the terrorist actions of these organisations by the Pakistani ISI and well established support to them by the Pakistani Army in housing them at their border outposts both before and after infiltration as well as fire support and bombardment to assist their infiltration into Indian side and exfiltration back was admitted and confessed by both the terrorists and the Pakistani forces on number of occasions and has been well known.
The visit by Pakistani senior Army officers including the self confessed visit by Pervez Musharraf in Kargil before occupation by them prior to the Kargill conflict if 1999 is well documented.
That Azhar Masood, the Chief of Jaish e Mohammed was a terrorist and was in Indian jail, and was sought to be released by the terrorist hijackers of the Indian aircraft was enough proof of him being an important terrorist leader and that after release he established Jaish-e-Mohammad and continues to engage in masterminding terror attacks in India, most of which were self claimed by his organisation are enough evidence of his continued terrorist activities at large scale using the Pakistani soil repeatedly, a clear violation of the assurance given to India by Pakistani Government. A similar trend continued to be followed by the Lashkar e Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.
Even after the Pulwama attack, almost on every day basis the terrorist attacks as well as incidents of cross border firing from Pakistani side towards Indian side are continuing even while Imran Khan is pleading for a chance for peace. This dilutes his credibility and genuineness on one hand and his ability to control either his Armed Forces, Pakistani ISI or the terrorist organisations.
His actions to take control of the Bahawalpur camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad on the pretext of providing safety to so called students further dents his credibility and genuineness of his actual intentions.
Imran Khan has a very critical and onerous duty to perform at this juncture and that is to honestly weigh avoidable suffering to his millions of innocent population who may become victims of violence inadvertently on one hand and protect the rogue elements engaged in terrorist activities on the other, whose time has come in any way. Besides he has an extraordinary situation wherein the economy of Pakistan is the weakest and it’s turnaround is essential for the well being of the Country as a whole
The world opinion is against terror, it is against mass killings by terror groups operating out of Pakistani soil, they may not have said it in clear terms but the Chinese are feeling its pinch in the Uighar region, the Afghans, the Iranians and India all are affected by the terror being exported by Pakistan.
The irreversible clamour for retribution among the billions of Indian population is evident. Numerous influential countries and the opposition has been taken into confidence, by India, the intent to take a decisive action has been reiterated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and when felt yesterday, the Indian action was about to come and it has commenced.
Further action is also expected unless Pak responds positively for destroying the entire terror chain and infrastructure, if not what further, where, when, how much and how it will manifest, from both sides may be known as it happens but both are now alerted and warming their options and counteractions. Whatever be it, external players are least likely to get involved.
In the very narrow keyhole opportunity for reconsideration, the leaders on both sides have that extremely critical opportunity to rise above the normal, usual, common stance and emerge as a global statesmen and leaders who could take the highest degree of risk of personal indulgence.
Modi can strike again, inflict and buy casualities, allow continued conflict and win elections on one hand or he can give Imran a short time window to handover the trio Salahuddin, Masood and Hafeez, dismantle all camps and a genuine agreement on the three critical issues, if Imran fails to deliver, then India may strike again as per plan. This would deprive him of the alibi that he would have, if not given a chance. In doing so India can well justify its actions, in that India will be assisting Pakistan in its self claimed war against terror, wherein it hasn’t succeeded, as also destroy the entire terror network as an act of self defence in its non military actions specifically towards the terrorists. This will also bring about stability in the region so essential for the peaceful development and growth of the economy.
Imran has a choice to emerge as a greatest leader Pakistan has thrown up, in doing so he may offer the trio, destruction of camps and a genuine agreement on critical issues, which may earn him the wrath of his people and the Army but it will give Pakistan a lasting solution and an opportunity to improve the health of its economy and the well being of its population. If not then the other option he has is to be guided by the past, by its Army Commanders, by its ISI and the terrorist leaders, some of whom had helped him win elections and become the Prime Minister, and risk heavy casualties of both Armed forces, terrorists and may be some innocent civilians, which will eventually earn him ridicule by history certainly.
His position is precarious as he is between the devil and deep sea some thing like that of Lt Gen AAK Niazi in East Pakistan in 1971. Niazi earned the reputation of a person who surrendered but earned the blessings from the families of more than a lakh families.
Both leaders have the choices to emerge as great leaders that history produces rarely in order to create prosperous nations living and growing together or act like other leaders guided by aroused emotions of people and narrow, short term, vested interests.
We wish both leaders the best, and hope that they emerge as leaders of substance and not rhetoric ….. I will strongly say remember my dictum Nation First Character Must
Let the Nation win not the temporary sentiments of people and let posterity remember you respectfully as Statesman of Global order.
I as a veteran have volunteered to rejoin and serve my motherland in a manner desired out of me by my Leaders.
About the Writer: Major General Dilawar Singh is an Infantry officer, Who has served six tenures in counter terrorist areas, commanded two Counter Terrorist Balallions and is the only officer to have received three citations therein. He holds unbroken records for academic and operational excellence as well as long term planning for the Indian Army. He presently heads a global youth initiative and is engaged in developing Patriotism and Nation building among the youth.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.