Surgical strikes: The new normal knows no borders

That a shift in paradigm had taken place for India’s security apparatus first became evident in the summer of 2015. Indian commandos entered the territory of neighbouring Myanmar and wiped out a significant number of Naga separatists who had earlier killed 18 Indian Army jawans from the Dogra Regiment. That operation ought to have given Islamabad, or more accurately Rawalpindi, much to contemplate.

The corruption of their thought process, though, went unaltered, and subsequently, India witnessed the surgical strikes of September 2016, as the Army avenged the 19 martyred in Uri. Nearly four dozen Pakistan-based terrorists are believed to have been slaughtered in that attack within Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

More food for thought for Pakistan, but the ruling generals may still not have digested the emerging reality as the February attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama showed. As over 40 jawans were killed, the question wasn’t whether their deaths would be avenged, but when.

That when, was today, as most of us slept, the Air Force bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Khyber-Pakhtunwa, not just within Pakistan, but also Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s backyard.

These crossborder operations are part of a new strategic matrix, predicated on actively avenging attacks rather than the passivity of previous regimes. Yes, all that talk of hot pursuit in the past had only resulted in cold feet, but the Narendra Modi Government is the first in nearly two decades to take the fight to the enemy.

These are steps that New Delhi has taken on the ladder of escalation. This is also symbolic of India’s graduated shedding of a soft state status. Pakistan may well consider another misadventure, perhaps in retaliation of what happened overnight, but Rawalpindi may have finally realized that it will continue to pay a price for its business of sponsoring terrorism in the neighbourhood. This new normal is necessary and took far too long in arriving.

On February 26, 2019, India grew yet another vertebra in the spine that had gone missing during the UPA Government’s response after 26/11.

— Jai Vijay

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