Uri: Let’s give war a chance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strongly condemned the terror attack at Uri in Jammu & Kashmir in which 17 soldiers were killed. His government, however, has to do more than denounce the outrage; it has to ensure that a befitting reply is given to those who planned and supported the assault.

So far, the reaction of the government has been routine. This is what the Prime Minister said, “We strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Uri. I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished. We salute all those martyred in Uri. Their service to the nation will always be remembered. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Have spoken to Home Minister and Raksha Mantri on the situation. Raksha Mantri will go to Jammu & Kashmir himself to take stock of the situation.”

Haven’t we heard all this a zillion times before? The visits, the meetings, the affectations of indignation, the cant. Obviously, all this has changed little on the ground.

Notice the facts that have emerged after the assault. The Intelligence Bureau had issued specific input about a possible suicide attack, in which Uri was mentioned. In fact, there was intelligence about three terror squads to be launched by the Pakistani border action team from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. While one squad reached Uri and another Poonch where it was engaged by the security forces, the third squad is yet to be traced.

According to the Director General Military Operations, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, the four terrorists, who have been killed, belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad. They possessed four AK 47 rifles, four under barrel grenade launchers, and other ammunition. “Since terrorists had some items which had Pak marking on that, I’ve spoken to Pak DGMO on same raising concern… and conveyed our displeasure.”

Our displeasure, however, has never bothered Pakistan—and will never bother it till it is convinced that we are accustomed to using strong language, not strong-arm tactics. Parliamentarian and former home secretary R.K. Singh said, “If you term it [as] a terror attack, then you are misleading yourself. These attacks are planned by ISI and Pakistan Army. Only way to handle these attacks is to hit back.”

But it was Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and not his Defence counterpart, who held a high-level security meeting which was attended by top officials, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who was visiting Srinagar, didn’t attend the meeting.

Everybody knows that Pakistan is the chief sponsor of jihadist terror in India, and any meaningful response has to be essentially a military response. So how come that the top brass of the military was not involved in chalking out strategy to counter Pakistan?

Of course, the foreign office and the intellectual establishment are infested with wets, the perennially fearful and fear-mongering peaceniks and Nehruvians who keep frightening us—a war with Pakistan means large-scale mayhem, maybe nuclear holocaust. Let’s not fight them; let’s persuade them to see reason; let’s give peace a chance: this is what they have been telling us for ages; this is what they’ll tell us again.

But let’s look at the facts. As a state as well as a society, Pakistan has been taken over by jihadists; the annihilation of India, as of all non-Muslim countries is their first objective; and the establishment of Islamic supremacy is their ultimate goal. Therefore, those who believe that we can reason with Pakistan are deceiving themselves.

As for giving peace a chance, enough has been done. Modi invited his Pakistani counterpart to his swearing-in ceremony, met him on several occasions, paid him an unscheduled visit, humored him as much as possible—to no avail. Perhaps it is because he is not in control but then it is his and his country’s problem. We have done everything that could be done to bring Pakistanis to their senses; now we should teach them a lesson. We licked them in 1971; it should be done again; it’s time to give war a chance.

Unfortunately, those who are not fooled by the ideas of bleeding-heart liberals are pusillanimous. So, Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh, MP from Udhampur in Jammu, said that the days of “restraint” are over. “I am not one bit in favor of responding with cowardice… There is no other option but to punish those behind this dastardly act,” he said.

Then there is Ram Madhav, the Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary in-charge of party affairs in J&K and an architect of the ignominious BJP-PDP alliance. He said, “The PM has promised that those behind the Uri terror attack will not go unpunished. That should be the way forward. For one tooth, the complete jaw.”

Very brave indeed but, as the website of The Indian Express pointed out, not brave enough to name Pakistan!

That’s the tragedy of India. Half of the policy and opinion makers are delusional, the other half are dastards. Today, Modi is at a crossroads. Will he take the road less traveled?