Balakot Air Strike: The Hybrid way to combat Terrorism
India is in a developing stage in terms of human resources, economic growth as well as technological prowess. While it continues to be the world’s fastest growing country at 7.3 % in 2019 (World Bank Report 2019), some of the menaces continue to plague its path to progress. Amongst those obstacles, terrorism has emerged as the greatest threat both to territorial integrity as well as the internal security of the nation. The menace of terrorism has been globally recognised as the most vicious problem faced by mankind today. India has seen the attacks in the form of Parliament attack 2001 and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The demon of terrorism has continued to haunt the state of Jammu and Kashmir through repeated attacks on security forces and civilian establishments. It is no secret that these nefarious acts are funded by the non-state actors in Pakistan through the connivance of the state authorities (Government of India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s Statement dated 11th July, 2018). In recent times, the Indian Army’s Mission ‘All Out’ saw considerable success with more than 150 terrorists being killed by the security forces in the last one year in J & K; (Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, General officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command’s Address dated 16th January 2019). But the 14th February 2019 witnessed the most deadly attack on the security forces in the last decade by terrorists. The attack whose responsibility was later taken by the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad culminated into the death of 43 CRPF soldiers. The suicide attack was conducted by ramming a vehicle loaded with 300 kgs of explosives into a CRPF truck carrying redeployments. The whole nation was angered and terrified at the loss of its soldiers. A major intelligence failure led to the attacks. The country was burning with an overwhelming feeling of taking a stern action on terrorists. The most stringent action possible was accepted to be taken against the perpetrators of the violent act.
- The Balakot Air Strike: India’s Covert Operation
To the growing demand of action against the terrorists rose the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducting one of its most difficult operations till date. The IAF responded to the Pulwama Attack through strategic bombing of the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps across the border in Balakot, Pakistan. On the night of 26th February, 2019, Indian Mirage Jets took off from the Gwalior air base. Escorted by the MKI-Sukhoi 30 Jets, the Mirages dropped advanced guided bombs on the terror camps of the Jaish. It is estimated that the strikes led to the complete decimation of the terrorist camp located on a hill-top resort in Balakot.
- Pakistani Invasion attempt foiled
After the successful attacks by the Indian Air force on the terrorist training camps, the Pakistani forces took the act as a transgression of their territorial sovereignty. While the Indian Government openly accepted the responsibility for the attacks and clarified that the air raids were a pre-emptive measure on non-military target aimed at foiling imminent attacks on the Indian soil, Pakistan decided to retaliate. The Pakistani Fighter Jets F-16 crossed the Line of Control (LOC) on 27th February, 2019 in order to target military establishments in the Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Air Force was quick to act and retaliated the act through its air borne fighter aircrafts. While one of the Pakistani F-16 Jet was shot down, the other was engaged in a dogfight by the Indian fighter jets. The Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman flying a 1970s Soviet MIG 21 Jet shot down the modern US made Pakistani F-16 Jet. But the valiant soldier unfortunately got hit and his plane crashed across the LOC into Pakistani land. When the news of a missing pilot was received by the Indian audience, the Indian authorities communicated in the sternest manner, the demand of safe return of their pilot as per the Geneva Convention threatening a disproportionate military response if the Indian pilot was hurt. The Pakistani authorities had to bow down to the global pressure built by India and return the pilot in two days.
- Surgical Strikes: A New way to Combat Terrorism?
The war against terrorism has changed a lot in recent times. The development of terrorism as a global menace along with the deployment of the sleeper cells (unscrupulous agents in the other nations) by the terrorists has led to the security forces adopting better ways to counter the terrorists. The financial action against the terror outfits is being undertaken to squeeze the capital flow for committing the dastardly acts of violence. The usage of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) protocols to blacklist terror organisations are appreciated. The surgical strikes have emerged as the most lethal and accurate measure to decimate terror target with even the Special Forces of USA and Israel using it to great effect. The surgical strikes constitute a military attack on terror outfits with pinpoint accuracy, mostly involving the usage of Para Commandoes operating in the enemy territory. The first global utilisation of the surgical strikes was the famed Operation Neptune Spear by the US Special Forces on 2nd May 2011 which led to the death of Osama Bin Laden. The strike saw the US Special Forces soldiers crossing the Afghanistan border into Pakistan and nabbing the world’s most wanted terrorist. Other the USA, the nations like Israel, France, etc. are speculated to have indulged in surgical strikes to counter terrorism.
- India’s Surgical Strikes to annihilate terrorism
India has vast geographical borders both in the North and North-West with Pakistan along with the Eastern borders with Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan which are prone to the infiltration by the terrorists. India conducted a cross border strike in 2015 on the Myanmar’s land with the Indian soldiers crossing the border and killing the NSCN terrorist camps. The next surgical strike by the Indian Forces was done on 29th September, 2016 by the Indian Army when the commandoes crossed the Pakistani border and targeted the terror camps in the POK. It was done in retaliation of the 18th September, 2016 Uri Attack which led to the death of 18 soldiers. The recent mission by the Indian Air Force to destroy the Balakot Terror camp is another incident of the successful application of the special operations by the Indian security forces against terrorists.
- Surgical Strikes to defeat ‘Proxy War’ of Terrorism
India has been mounting global pressure on Pakistan to act against terror outfits using its land. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) conducted a press conference on 9th March, 2019 and urged Pakistan to walk the talk against terrorism. India has also furnished proofs of the involvement of the Pakistani terrorist on the Pulwama attacks; (Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Statement dated 15th February, 2019). Many nations like the USA, Russia, France, Germany and United Kingdom have expressed their solidarity with India in order to exterminate the menace of terrorism. The Indian government has asked Pakistan PM Imran Khan to abide by his promise of building a ‘New Pakistan’ and urged him to take ‘Naya Action’ (New and decisive action) against the terrorists in Pakistan. With the General Elections in India announced to commence from 11th April to 19th May in seven phases, the issue of air raids will be the hot topic of political campaigns. Sensing this, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on 10th March, 2019 has issued advisories to all the political parties to refrain from using the images of soldiers in their campaigns. It has threatened serious action against the violators under the Representation of People’s Act, 1950. We all must remember that India’s territorial integrity is due to the valour and sacrifices of lakhs of soldiers guarding her borders round the clock even in adverse weather conditions. The credit for the success of the surgical strikes must go the armed forces who planned and executed these covert operations inspite of mortal danger looming over their heads. No political party or leader must try to capitalise on the bravery of the armed forces as it is the soldier who would have to give the supreme sacrifice if the need arises. We, Indians must salute our soldiers both in the Armed services as well as the paramilitary forces for their insurmountable spirit of keeping our Motherland safe. It is hoped that the global powers would continue to appreciate India’s efforts against terrorism and force Pakistan to completely thwart all terrorist activities on its territory for a safe future of the entire humanity.
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Image Link: www.indianairforce.nic.in
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