Prime Minister Narendra Modi has walked the talk for the second time (since last year in Myanmar) resulting in the Indian Army launching very well coordinated eight attacks at Pakistani terrorist camps and launching pads, supported by Pak army, beginning at 0200 hours, 29 September 2016.
Pak’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has reportedly stated that there have been two casualties of Pak army. Considering that Pak army personnel reacted on ground in support of the terrorists at some or all of the eight target areas, the ISPR’s figure of two casualties of Pak army is positively an understatement of the actual casualty figure, to which, at least one if not two zeroes can be added.
As to the casualty figures of the terrorists, the truth is not going to surface, as it cannot be stated officially by either ISPR or the Pak government. But considering the nature of what Indian Army’s Director General, Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh stated in his media briefing as ‘surgical strikes’ and eight of them, the collective impact could well mean up to a hundred, or more casualties of terrorists themselves.
Indian Army has proved what the DGMO had earlier stated that “we will strike at a time and place of our choosing” on the ground. And by doing so, Indian Army has reinforced the assessments and expectations of many serving personnel, armed forces veterans and veterans like this writer, who as a defence analyst, maintained for decades that our troops have the capability, they always had it, all that was required was political will, which barring 1965, 1967 (retaliation against the Chinese at Nathu La) and the 1971 war, was lacking for 67 years at least.
Maintenance of Momentum being an important principle of war, these eight strikes may not be the end of the story. They should not be. Pakistan will be seething. But while it will not be able to officially acknowledge whatever has happened , Pak army will be desperately trying to muster more terrorists to strike in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and even other soft targets in India. If Pak army decides to retaliate on the ground from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), or from Pakistan, it remains to be seen how widely it will be able to do so. I have no doubt that Indian Army, considering what it has brilliantly done, is well prepared for a riposte by Pak army and if that riposte comes, Pak army will get it back in ample measure, to say the least.
As to Pak army responding with nuclear weapons, even if it has ‘tactical nukes’, will it be stupid enough to do so? Very often in the past many of us veterans watching closely and writing/commenting frequently, have said that we must call Pakistan’s oft-repeated nuclear bluff. Will Pak army opt for full-fledged war? It has immediately stopped its personnel’s leave. If it does go in for limited war like Kargil in 1999, it will again get an appropriate response.
Terrorist leaders must also be seething, but will they admit to their losses in these surgical strikes by Indian Army? Most likely not. As to spewing venom, that is nothing new. One hopes that they have lost some of their tactical leaders in these strikes and also that they lose more. That is the language they understand best.
Lastly, if India Army actually entered POK, it is legally Indian territory, illegally occupied by Pakistan. So even from the global viewpoint, India is politically correct. Meanwhile, more facts will emerge over the next hours and days.