Tag Archives: Uri

When India is fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, the US talks of contentious issues between India and Pakistan

Lalit Shastri

One security personnel was martyred and eight of them were injured, when terrorists attacked a security force convoy at Zakoora in the outskirts of Srinagar this evening (14 October, 2016). The terrorists opened fire, targeting a vehicle carrying security forces from patrol duty to their camp at Zakoora.

 

The EDI building at Pampore during the encounter with Terrorists in February 2016 (representative photo)
The EDI building at Pampore attacked twice by Terrorists in 2016 (representative photo)

Going by the discourse and stand vis-a-vis Kashmir taken by the Deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State Mark C. Toner at the daily press briefing on Thursday, 13 October 2016, after a series of terror attacks on India by terrorists exported by Pakistan, one has no confusion and it is amply clear that the US is not interested in reining in Pakistan – a country that has become the epicentre of global terror.

During the press briefing, Toner did talk of Hafiz Saeed saying he is listed by the UN Security Council 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with the terrorist group Lashkar-e Tayyiba. And both the LeT and Saeed are designated by the U.S. Government. The LeT is obviously responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens.

Hafeez Saeed, co-founder of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and the chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, is also considered by India as a most wanted terrorist because of his involvement in attacks against India, including the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

On his attention being drawn to the Pakistani Government led by Nawaz Sharif and the Army – “two strains within the Pakistani Government” (in Toner’s own words) and it being pointed out (by a journalist) that the Sharif government wants peace with India or in the region, but the military government doesn’t want peace with India, Toner remarked: “our general position on this is that we want to see greater cooperation and greater dialogue between Pakistan and India. It’s frankly to the benefit of both countries. That includes, certainly, security issues. We want to see tensions go down, and we want to see, as I said, a greater cooperation between the two countries. Now, we’re not there right now, but that’s certainly our inclination.”

Kashmir (representative image)
Kashmir (representative image)

Responding to a query on the “Kashmir issue”, Toner said that the US stand on Kashmir is already known – implying thereby that the US treats it only as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and refuses to acknowledge the fact that Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, is constantly under attack by Pak-sponsored terrorists. By dragging its feet and failing to call a spade a spade, the US, through its spokesperson, has conveyed to India in ample measure that its war against terror ends when it comes to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India. As far as India is concerned, the US ought to know that the issue is not Kashmir but Pak occupied Kashmir, cross-border terrorism and the low intensity war being waged against India by Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was received by Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif at Lahore on 25 December 2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was received by Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif at Lahore on 25 December 2015

India has tried its best to keep open the doors of dialogue with Pakistan. India’s message for strengthening the ties between the two countries was loud and clear when Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Sharif to attend his swearing-in ceremony in May 2014 and once more in December 2015, when returning home after visiting Afghanistan and Russia, he had landed in Lahore to attend a wedding at Nawaj’s residence – this was the first visit by an Indian PM to Pakistan in more than 10 years.

The first major obstacle was encountered by the Modi Government in its efforts to build ties with Pakistan when Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah in Delhi ahead of another meeting that was scheduled in quick succession between him and two more separatist leaders Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the second fortnight of August 2014. Immediately after Basit met Shabir Shah, the Modi Government had castigated Pakistan for interfering in India’s internal affairs and called off the Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan.

Battle with terrorists inside Pathankot Air Force base in March 2016
Battle with terrorists inside Pathankot Air Force base in March 2016

Earlier in March this year, India had allowed a Pakistan’s joint investigation team (JIT), which included ISI and military intelligence officers, to visit Delhi and Pathankot to investigate the attack on the Pathankot Air Force base by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists on 2 January 2016. After seeing clinching evidence, apparently about the ISI role in the Pathankot attack, Pakistan developed cold feet and refused to reciprocate and allow a team of investigators from India to visit Pakistan.

Despite best efforts by India, Pakistan has continued with its Kashmir agenda. Earlier this year, much to the chagrin of India, separatist Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and others were invited by Pakistan to attend the ‘Pakistan Day’ function at its High Commission in Delhi.

Subsequently, India told Pakistan in categorical terms that talks with Pakistan can be held only about terrorism.

uri-attack2
Terrorist attack on Army base at Uri

Before the Pathankot attack, a police station in Gurdaspur, Punjab, was attacked by terrorists in July 2015. The lid was off on September 18 this year when terrorists attacked the Army base at Uri killng 17. While the number of cease-fire violations by Pakistan have gone up in recent days, there have been more terrorist attacks in quick succession. On October 4, terrorists attacked a police station at Yaripora in Kulgam in Jammu and Kashmir. The same day, a few terrorists escaped after attacking BSF and army camps at Baramulla and killing one BSF soldier and wounding another. On October 6, three terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire when they attacked an army camp in Langate in Kupwara. No security personnel died in this incident. Two days later, a Policeman was killed in the Shopian sector by terrorists, who managed to escape. Early morning on October 10, a couple of terrorists attacked the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute building in Pampore. Security forces were engaged in a fierce gun battle and it took about fifty hours to neautralize the terrorists. The same building was also attacked by terrorists in February this year.

India has responded to the violent situation by taking steps to isolate Pakistan and by telling every nation how Pakistan is continuously engaged in exporting terrorism in every part of the world. On September 29, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh announced at a press conference in New Delhi that based on “specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists. The DGMO further said: “It has been a matter of serious concern that there has been continuing and increasing infiltration by terrorists across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. This is reflected, among others, in the terrorist attacks on 11 and 18 September 2016 in Punch and Uri respectively. Almost 20 infiltration attempts have also been foiled by the Army at or close to the Line of Control during this year.”

One fails to understand why the US State Department spokesperson had to do such a balancing act when asked to spell out the US stand on Kashmir. Choosing to ignore Pakistan’s direct role in spreading cross-border terrorism, all Toner said, in the interest of regional security, was that “there’s a lot of contentious issues between India and Pakistan. The US wants the two countries to take a more conciliatory approach to each other and to work through some of these issues for the greater good of the region. This observation, at its face value, shows how serious the US is in fighting global terror.

What next India, ‘offence is the best defence’ or ‘defensive offence’

Column: Thinking Beyond

Anoop Swarup

Kashmir  (representative image)
Kashmir (representative image)

The question in our mind is what next and what will be the contours of India’s strategic response to terror, Pakistan and the world at large. As one columnist wrote, if there is one element in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy that may baffle foreign policy analysts, it has been his Pakistan policy. To my mind there is nothing baffling or strange in this, and to those who know well the nation’s dismay over the past many decades, at the belated responses and the confused foreign policy statements crafted by foreign policy specialists that oscillated between extremes of conciliation and retaliation, there is a big sigh of relief. In the past and unfortunately more often than not, our successive governments ended up playing to the galleries, alternately pleasing and frustrating both hawks and doves that made it very easy for terrorist and fissiparous agents sponsored by the Pakistan civil military establishment to take full advantage of the speculative and incoherent response of India.

uri-attackThe agonising attack on the Army camp at Uri, which left 19 soldiers dead, is not the first such attack but will prove to be the inflection point in India’s Pakistan policy. Statesmanship lies not in forecasting a country’s strategic response but in making this a turning point for a new strategic direction for the country that considers itself to be a great civilization on the cusp of achieving its past greatness. This may very well be an opportune moment to rethink, design, devise and drive a whole new paradigm for future engagements by India. So what is the ecosystem in store and what should be our strategic response in our best interest?

On India’s foreign Policy and diplomacy, kudos to a never seen before firmness and proactive stance both at the United Nations and bilaterally with over 22 countries. The P5 response has been unequivocal in support to India and this includes not only the American firm stance but also the Chinese muted and neutral reaction despite its own economic interest in the much touted economic corridor to Gadar Port. Similarly, on SAARC front India’s gambit to isolate and demoralise Pakistan has been a resounding success with the first salvo being, India’s boycott of the SAARC summit followed by others in the neighbourhood ensuring the summit’s demise. To add India’s BIMSTEC Summit at Goa would be a great step forward for the region minus Pakistan and it would do India well to invite Afghanistan for the meet.

On the economic front much is left to be done to review the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan though it really does not mean much under the existing World Trade Organisation regime and the message that it is not business as usual has been driven home. The Indus Water renegotiation and the existing Treaty though may not be abrogated anytime soon but the message is loud and clear that “blood and water cannot flow together

PM ModiOn the political front as with Prime Minister Narendra Modi much credit goes to the opposition and the diverse array of regional and sub-regional entities that came to strengthen the nations resolve in combating terror. On home front though the insolence of a section of media, intellectuals, leftist political pundits is indeed amazing. Above all the stand of a few Bollywood stars is unbelievable who believe in inviting Pakistani stars who do not even condemn terror and that leaves a spot on the conscience of a country that has faced the outrage of worst terror nightmares over the years. Indeed, the supreme sacrifice of our soldiers will be in vain in the wake of the national outrage is shocking. It defies logic as to why like Adnan Sami who is now a Indian citizen why so many in  Bollywood continue to find reasons and does not stand up with the country and condemn terrorism.

Surgical strikes against the 7 odd LeT, JeM and the Haqqani’s terror camps at a distance of 1 to 3 kms in a 15 km area within the POK did catch Pakistan unaware and put it in a bind as these launch pads were not in Pakistan but in disputed territory. Pakistan’s immediate denial stance was on expected lines and was to address its local audience and as a face saving device before it counters India’s Special Forces’ tactical move with strategic implications. Let us have no doubt that this was a strike against terror that is backed by Pakistan’s civil military establishment and not against Pakistan per se and therefore its people should stand as one with India. This was the purport of the controlled but brilliant rhetoric of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the people of Pakistan just a day before the surgical strike.

What next? Yes, Pakistan’s retaliation,  in all probability, will be a tactical one in the next few days and would rely heavily on the sleeper cell network to use diversionary tactics. Perhaps Hafiz Saeed will move in with a jihadi drive in tandem with Pakistan garnering international support in Kashmir against what they keep projecting as Indian atrocities. Though Pakistan has moved 5 Battalions to the eastern border with India which is a strain on its heavily committed resources on its eastern front but would refrain from launching a knee jerk offensive against India. On the diplomatic front Pakistan would remain isolated considering India’s diplomatic offensive coupled with economic and political clout but for China that has substantial stake in its economic corridor and the Gwadar Port. China would continue to veto India’s efforts in the United Nations Security Council and Pakistan would continue to use its ploy of nuclear gambit against India to achieve defence parity, Silent, covert and low attrition war will continue, as it is asymmetric and to India’s disadvantage with more to come before winter sets in. We should never underestimate a resolute and focussed enemy who will depend on a low intensity tactical strike to revalidate its stance on ‘ajadi’ in Kashmir valley. India will have to confront the enemy on political, diplomatic, economic and social front to converge on a military response best left to the military professionals as was the case post Uri.

The defensive offence doctrine of India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval banks on all out action on every front: diplomatic, economic, political and military but still the age old wisdom of ensuring that offence is the best defence holds true as has been proved once again. Thus the no first use nuclear doctrine that had emboldened Pakistan response against India needs to be ostensibly shelved at least for the time being. No wonder Pakistan’s bluster over truth was on expected lines but its tactical response against India will rely heavily on subversion and sabotage deep inside India and on unexpected spots. India has a never before opportunity cutting across political and religious lines to be united, vigilant and alert across its length and breadth and not the border alone. India’s response has to be undiluted, unrelenting based on its zero tolerance to terror policy unmindful of  international reaction for a bold, new and confident India of tomorrow.


Anoop Swarup
Anoop Swarup

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Surgical strikes by India: US tells India and Pakistan to increase communication to deal with terrorist groups and avoid steps that escalate tensions

Newsroom24x7 Staff

We all know that terrorism, in many ways, knows no border. We continue to urge actions to combat and delegitimize terrorist groups like LeT and the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad. So this is something that we’re obviously keenly focused on.

uri-attack
Army base at Uri that was attacked by terrorists on September 18

Washington DC: On the post-Uri surgical strikes by the Indian Army leading to the demolition of launch pads for terrorists inside the Pak occupied Kashmir area in the early hours of Thursday (29 September), the message from the USA to both sides -India and Pakistan – is that they should increase communication to deal with this threat (terrorism) and to avoid steps that escalate the tensions.

This was stated by John Kirby, the US State Department Spokesperson in response to a query at the daily press briefing here.

Kirby said that instead of characterizing “each and every step along the way (to combating terrorism), the US wants to see increased cooperation against what is a very shared common threat for both countries, and to see steps being taken to deal with it by all sides.

On the terror attack at the Indian Army base camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, Kirby said: ‘Obviously an attack like that escalates tensions. But what I don’t want to do is try to get into some sort of broad characterization, one way or the other. But obviously an attack like this is horrific.”

John Kirby
John Kirby

Kirby said that the US is following the situation closely. Stating that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication, he emphahsised that the US believes that continued communication is obviously important to reduce tensions.

We’ve repeatedly expressed our concerns regarding the danger that terrorism poses to the region, Kirby said adding “we all know that terrorism, in many ways, knows no border. We continue to urge actions to combat and delegitimize terrorist groups like LeT and the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad. So this is something that we’re obviously keenly focused on.”

Kirby informed media-persons that the US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj on 27 September and reiterated his strong condemnation of the September 18 Uri attack. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and also cautioned against any escalation in tensions.

Answering a pointed query on specific steps taken to strengthen cooperation on fighting terrorism between India and Pakistan, Kirby said: “We’re always trying to get better at combatting terrorism in the region. And there are many ways you can do that – through information-sharing regimens and increasing communication between all parties involved.”

Kirby observed: “I don’t talk about the specifics of military”, When a journalist pointed out that this was a counter-terrorism operation (the surgical strikes by the Indian Army) and asked, as there is strong coordination between India and the U.S. on counter-terrorism issues, was there any coordination on this strike by the Indian forces?

India goes for surgical strike to neutralize terrorists at launch pads along the LoC

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Indian Army
Indian Army (representative image)

New Delhi: The Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at launch pads along the Line of Control where some terrorist teams had positioned themselves to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu & Kashmir and in various metros in India.

The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country.

During these counter terrorist operations, based on very credible and specific information, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them. The operations aimed at neutralizing the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for continuation of further operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise.

Director General Military Operations, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh
Director General Military Operations, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh

Director General Military Operations, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh gave this information at a joint briefing he held along with Vikas Swarup, the official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs.

The DGMO told media-persons that it has been a matter of serious concern that there has been continuing and increasing infiltration by terrorists across the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. This is reflected in the terrorist attacks at Poonch and Uri on 11 and 18th of September respectively.

According to the top Army official, almost 20 infiltration attempts have been foiled by the Indian army successfully during this year. During these terrorist attacks and infiltration attempts we have recovered items including Global Positioning Systems and stores which have had Pakistani markings.

Singh further said, captured terrorists hailing from Pakistan or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have confessed to their training and arming in Pakistan or territory under the control of Pakistan.

The matter has been taken up at the highest diplomatic levels and the military levels at regular times. India has also offered consular access to the apprehended terrorists to Pakistan to verify their confessions.

Furthermore, Singh said, finger prints and DNA samples of terrorists who have been killed in Uri and Poonch encounters can also be made available to Pakistan for their investigations.

Despite persistent urging that Pakistan respect its commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, there have been no letup in infiltrations or terrorist actions inside our territory, said Singh adding if the damage has been limited it has been primarily due the efforts of soldiers of Indian army who are deployed in a multi-tier counter infiltration grid and most of the infiltration bids have been foiled at those locations. The Indian armed forces have been extremely vigilant in the face of continuing threat.

The DGMO informed journalists that he has just spoken to the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations and explained India’s concerns and also shared with him the operations conducted last night.

It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but we can certainly not allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack the citizens of our country, said Singh.