The Army’s successful surgical strike simultaneously at eight locations across the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, over a stretch of two hundred km, on 29 September 2016, was met with a great sense of long overdue satisfaction and thumping approval by the general public, serving and retired servicemen, political parties and even foreign countries . However, within just a couple of days, some political parties, particularly the Congress , which, quite obviously driven by a deep sense of jealousy, drastically changed the narrative.
Beginning from a demand for the government to prove the veracity of the strikes by releasing photographs, the Congress then claimed that there was nothing unprecedented about these strikes, as such actions had often been initiated by its government, which has always been known for reacting with least or nil resistance/retaliation/always not wanting to “raise the level of confrontation”. Soon afterward, the discourse began to degenerate to disgraceful levels and atrocious terminology, like fake encounter, “khoon ki dalaali” (brokerage of blood) by none other than the number two of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi. Following the Army’s announcement of the successful strikes and having initially praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘s leadership, extending his support and the party’s cooperation, the same Rahul Gandhi freaked out into attacking PM Modi and was reported to have uttered: “Jinhone Hindustan ke liye surgical strike kiye hain, unke khoon ke peeche aap chhupe hain. Unki aap dalali kar rahe ho.” (You are hiding behind the blood of soldiers who carried out the surgical strikes for India. You are exploiting their sacrifices).
To figure out the current collective behavior of Congresswallas, recalling Anna Hazare’s campaign is relevant.
Anna Hazare’s fast unto death at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, in April 2011 for a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (Ombudsman) Bill in Parliament, shook both India’s public and its polity like never before. The public got shaken out of a stupor accumulated for over six decades, owing to being on a diet of a dicey concoction of dynastic rule, vote-bank politics, exploitation of religion and caste, unbridled corruption, sycophancy, selective suppression/ twisting of facts aimed at altering history and disturbingly, repeatedly compromising disastrously on national security. From 1947 till 2014, the only exceptions of assertiveness on national security were by Lal Bahadur Shastri, against Pakistan in the 1965 war and by Indira Gandhi , against China at Nathu La, Sikkim, in 1967 as well as against Pakistan in the 1971 war at least. The period before and after these six years, till 2014, was marked by a total lack of strategic foresight and political will to take decisions critical to national interest and security.
Management by the Congress, of the geo-strategically located state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), so vital to India’s security, right since Independence, was, to say the least, a typical example of working hard to enhance old liabilities and create new ones. The government in the late 1980s failed to protect Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) from the diabolical designs of Pakistan’s army/ Inter Services Intelligence, their flunkies, the Kashmiri separatists and terrorists trained by them further failed to prevent the exodus of over 400,000 KPs from the Kashmir valley. More failures followed in responding to the fourth war by Pakistan, which is continuing in some form or the other till date.
Since the 1993 bombings in Mumbai (before which the relationship between ISI and Dawood Ibrahim/his Mumbai underworld underlings had got cemented), attack on Parliament, 26/11 terrorist attack by ISI, LeT, al Qaeda etc., on Mumbai, or the 2013 attacks across the LoC and across the International Boundary (IB)-all went un-retaliated, or at least, not appropriately enough. Pakistan very well understands the language of without-fail-retaliation of any military or terrorist attack and also of India being able to strike at terrorist leaders who motivate the masses at Muridke, Karachi, Lahore or anywhere else in Pakistan, if India’s decision-makers decide to do so. Such retaliation requires not only Indian Army’s quick and unrestrained responses on the LoC or the IB but also of a very effective covert cross-border strike capability. While Indian Army has had this capability, till 2015 (Manipur-Myanmar), it was never utilized strategically by the Indian government.
Anna Hazare’s expose of the political class which had ruled India till then shook the daylights out of Parliamentarians, who were livid and tried their best to condemn him. Most affected were a majority the Congress. Later in 2014, the election results shocked the Congress, which since then has tried to browbeat any which way possible on every issue or project that the BJP has undertaken.
Whatever retaliations Indian Army took earlier, like after the 2002 attack by Pakistani terrorists on the Army’s family quarters at Kalu Chak, J&K, were all locally taken actions by the Army on the border, without any reference to or from New Delhi. But stung as the Congress is not only by the success of the 29 September covert strike achieving total surprise, it was already smarting from PM Modi’s diplomatic offensive, which has had an effect like never before. And it has had
that effect because PM Modi raised issues like Baluchistan and POK, which the Congress, fixed in
its pseudo-secular mold could never think of doing.
There is so much more of stupidity and malice that has emerged since Indian Army was given an opportunity to prove its prowess to its enemy and re-instill the confidence of the nation in it.
The “historic” Congress has, instead of practicing statesmanship, grace etc at a crucial time on important matters related to national security as the opposition, it decided to expose its hollowness, crassness, and insincerity, which has made great headlines in Pakistani media but in the long run will cause irreparable damage to its image and future prospects.