Cry, My Beloved Country

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India is convulsing in the throes of yet another emotional upheaval after the bloody Thursday that saw 40-plus CRPF jawans massacred in a suicide bombing. Traditional rhetoric has taken centre-stage again: ‘experts’ analyzing the cause and effect and solutions on talk shows, the powers that be vowing to ‘give back in the same coin’, the aam janta expressing their genuine anguish; the familiar road show goes on till it fades away as the incident becomes old news. Oh yes, we might even go for a surgical strike since the last one made an impact within the country if not on the enemy! Why are we consistently turning out to be a country of mourners, breast-beaters and yellow-bellied?

Granted we cannot possibly afford to go to war, given the nuclear scenario (unless we are willing to go the whole hog by taking out Pakistani nukes as a precursor, which we are too scared even to contemplate); but we can certainly carry out a different kind of surgical strike – eliminating the jihadist leadership ensconced in Pakistan. RAW must definitely have the potential to engineer such an operation. We may not even have to risk engaging our own agents. There are enough fissiparous elements within Pakistan that with the right incentive – read money – we could have the heads of the likes of Masood Azhar served to us in a platter. Coming to think of it nothing could do better justice to the victims of this tragedy than a gory exhibition of Azhar’s head – literally – in a public place with a caption to read “This is what happens to enemies of India”; and nothing could better put the fear of God in the jihadist outfits. The Indian authorities naturally would have to wash their hands off the killings and make the right diplomatic noises even condemning such violence. It would do famously well to create a clandestine outfit claiming itself to be non-state Indian patriots out to avenge the attacks on India by jihadists that would own responsibility for the killings. The outfit, with a fancy name like ‘Friends of India’ or ‘Indians for India’ or whatever, would of course have to be outlawed by the Government of India. Also it isn’t enough targeting the top leadership; we need to pick out leaders down the rung of the ladder and even those in countries other than Pakistan. The message should be loud and clear: Enemies of India have no safe haven.

I know all this sounds wishful thinking; but extraordinary situations need extraordinary reactions. At the time of IC-814 ignominy I had made out an ‘If-I-were-the-Prime Minister’ kind of a plan which envisaged an all out war to invade Afghanistan by moving troops through a massive air-&-sea operation via Iran and using Central Asian countries as our jump-off points (risking the lives of hostages and brow-beating Pakistan to keep its hands off or face annihilation) and showed it to some of my friends. All of them dismissed it as maverick, but of course adding, probably Israel could do it! If Israel could why couldn’t we? And for once the world would have sat up and taken note of India. Are we forgetting that the Indian Army championed the world’s first deep-penetration commando force, the famed “Chindits”! But then it was another day and another hour.

Ever since independence the infirm attitude of our national leadership has let us down time and again. We took the case to UN in 1948 even when we were winning the war and a few days short of retaking the whole of POK, wherein lay the genesis of the Kashmir imbroglio. We held back from using our air power in 1962, which could have averted the national disgrace to a great extent. We gave in meekly to the hijackers at Kandahar; no matter the relatives of the hostages, egged on by a rabid media, had virtually besieged the prime minister. We need political leaders and military commanders who should believe in seizing the opportunity when it presents itself and acing decisively; not thumb-suckers who won’t take risks for fear of jeopardizing their careers, electoral or military. We did it once in 1971 and we saw the results. We can do it again.

To compound our week-kneed leadership we have our ‘intellectuals’ who want to solve everything through ‘dialogues’. They are forgetting that here in India, the country has an army whereas in Pakistan the army has a country. We can keep talking till the cows come home, but Pakistani Army will never, ever, give up their mission to ‘bleed India by a thousand cuts’ till it is made to see plain wisdom through force. After all as Clausewitz maintained war is merely the tool to make the other side to come around to our point of view. At times there is no other alternative and that’s why war always remains a necessary evil. So let’s do it, if not an all out war, at least a clandestine one.

Capt. D P Ramachandran
Capt D P Ramachandran is a war veteran & military history enthusiast who writes about Indian Army’s battles of the past.
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