ISLAMABAD - India is preparing for a military option against Pakistan but fear of Pakistan Army and resulting embarssing situation is holding it back, India media has reported.
Retribution for the attack is only a matter of time, army officials say. There are several reasons to suggest that this may be so, India today has reported.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s February 15 phone call to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval gave India a virtual carte blanche for a retaliatory strike.
(Photo: Yasir Iqbal)
India’s strategists will aim to prevent the military action from spiralling into a conflict or even a limited war. There is a high possibility that military action will be targeted across the LoC, which India claims, and not, say, the Punjab province, which is the Pakistani heartland.
Options such as a cruise missile or air strike could be difficult because they could quickly escalate and invite retaliation from the other side. Our retaliation will be determined by the outcome we seek. If we seek a mere firepower demonstration, then Pakistan can do the same in return. If the outcomes are not commensurate with the effort, it will embarrass the Indian army, says Lt General P. Ravi Shankar, former DG, Artillery.
The fact is that there is no risk-free option anymore. While General Rawat says he has promised to undertake any hard option the political executive tasks him with, he is fully conscious of a few other facts.
The Pakistani armed forces are now on a heightened state of alert. This essentially means activating all their early warning elementsAirborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) in the skies to detect for intruding IAF aircraft, posts and bunkers along the LoC on full alert and reconnaissance aircrafts sweeping the Arabian Sea to look for Indian Navy warships.
This time, India faces an adversary who is fully prepared and has threatened retaliation; Pakistan premier Imran Khan was quite clear and categorical. That would mean casualties. This is why any option chosen by the government will be tough and could potentially draw it into an escalatory chain creeping.
Every option will be debated, says Lt General D.S. Hooda (retired) who, as the Northern Army Commander, oversaw the 2016 surgical strikes. How far are we willing to go and how many casualties are we prepared to take will form the basic debate. But it won’t stop at that; it will continue, to ascertain what we will do when there is a response from the other side. (Photo: Pankaj Nangia /Mail Today)
If the government indeed chooses to go in for sub-conventional covert options, then it could choose to launch a fire assault using an array of 155 mm howitzers firing at terrorist targets and launch pads along the LoC.
A commando raid will be tough given that vast sections of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps area, which covers 450 km of the LoC’s 750 km, is now extensively snowbound, making cross-border movement difficult. Also, many of the paths, the dry nullahs leading across the LoC, have been extensively sown with anti-personnel mines by the Pakistan army ,