by Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd)

For the first time in 30 years, current Modi Government has taken the risk of sending its fighter planes to as deep as 80 km in Pakistan on 26 Feb 2019 against the three targets Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chikoti to bomb out the Jaish Mohammad Jihadi organisation assets in a big way. Out of these targets Balakot was inside Pakistan main land. Maulana Ammar the younger brother of its head Masood Azhar is crying horse that this Indian air strike has caused collateral damage to assets of Jaish Mohammad. Fact that Pakistan sent its Armada of 24 fighter planes, a mix of F-16, JF-17, Mirage 3 and Mirage 5 out of which one of their F-16, the most modern plane in Pakistani Air Force, was shot down by Wing Cdr Abhinandan flying an obsolete MiG-21 Bis and IAF having thwarted this Pakistani Attack , has convinced Pakistan that only option that it has against India is the use of non-state actors, the Jihadis Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish Mohammad and Hijbul Mujahedeen which it has been sponsoring and using against us for last 30 years. It was Jaish Mohammad who was responsible for Pulwama massacre martyring 42 CRPF solders in a suicide attack.

While it is a good thing that India by this air action on their part has raised the cost of defence for Pakistan. Now every time they send Jihadis from their soil into India across the border, they will have to place combat air patrols in air and put their missile defence on alert, all this will cost them heavy. Now we must appreciate that momentum is with us, initiative is with us, we have forced Pakistan in a reactive mode, we must keep this momentum with us. in their counter air strike on 27 Feb 2019, which was thwarted, Pakistan had tried to target Indian military installations while India had targeted only their Jihadi organisations. So, since Pakistan themselves have raised the ante, we should not hesitate in targeting their military personnel. This will ensure that Pakistan will not be able to run their proxy war on us by only using their Jihadis the so-called non-state actors against us. Every time they infiltrate Jihadis across the border we also go across the border and kill their Army soldiers. Yes, we will also have casualties but then those casualties still we are suffering, fighting these Jihadis while their sponsors the Pakistani Army twiddle their thumbs and laugh over us which they have been doing for the last 30 years.

Having failed in their counter air strike, let us be clear that Pakistan will again revert back to their tried and tested method of imposing proxy war on us through their Jihadis like JeM, L-e-T and HUM. If they succeed in ousting US from Afghanistan, then soon the battle tried Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network may also join this Jihad in Kashmir, though this will take time. So where do we go from here? let us be clear that our internal security system is weak. We are still carrying on with what we got from British. Our police force is still colonial and corrupt working on Police Act framed in 1861 and copied by us line hook and sinker. It goes on because it suits our Netas the new Mai Baaps of the country after they replaced the original pedigree Mai Baaps the Maharajas. It is time we wake up and carry out reforms post haste lest we are again caught napping by Pakistani sponsored proxy war.

The main cause of alienation of Kashmiri people, numbering 90 lakhs, living in Kashmir Valley, as there is no problem in Jammu and Ladakh region and in Kashmir Valley also out of 22 Districts this insurgency problem is there only in five districts which constitute only a few lakh people, is Article 370 and Article 35A. these two articles psychologically motivate people there that integration of J&K state with India is not complete and that they can hope for a separate Kashmir. Reason is that these two articles ensure that No Indian can buy land, take job, own property in J&K. surely this is no integration of J&K in India and these clauses were inserted under insistence of Sheikh Abdulla of J&K, a friend of Nehru. For all practical purposes they were temporary. So, if the privy purses of Maharajas can be abolished by amending constitution then why not this? This must be done post haste.

In J&K state, Jammu region is composed of Hindu Majority, Ladakh of Buddhist majority and Kashmir valley of Muslim majority. Since 1947 Jammu and Ladakh regions are suffering because of Kashmir Valley having larger population and hence more MPs and MLAs. It is time now that all three are divided in three states with their respective governments and budgets. This can easily be done without violating Article 370 or 35 A being an administrative measure. let them develop under their own Governments. If J&K is part of India, which every Neta of all political hues shout from roof tops, then why are we talking to Pakistan on the status of Kashmir? this alienates people. We should only talk to Pakistan that when are they returning POK back to India?

In Pakistan their military deals with the cases of terror and punishes people while in India due to populist measures we first had TADA against terrorists, then it was diluted to POTA and now it is further diluted to the useless Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Surely this way we can not fight terror projecting ourselves to be a soft state. We must have a strong law like TADA against Jihadis. We must constitute special terror courts and all terror cases must finish within 6 months with just one appeal allowed. Similarly, we must be strict with Pattharbaj. Any group of people indulging in Patthrbaji must be treated as open support to Jihadis and should be shot on the spot, no shooting in air please. It is good that Indian Government after Pulwama Massacre has removed MFN status granted to Pakistan in 1996, thereby price of Tomato’s there is hitting a record Rs. 300 /kg. The question is why was it given to Pakistan in 1996 to start with, when it was not reciprocated? Similarly, it is good that Government has removed security provided to Pakistani Puppet Hurriyat Conference Neta’s freeing 1,000 police men and 100 vehicles. But why were they given this facility in the first place?

In addition, Time has come when we must create a Federal Agency like FBI of US who must have the right to probe any body anywhere without the need of any permission from Central Government. This agency must be placed under Parliament and not under PMO so that it is not called partisan. India must enhance the capability of its Armed Forces which should be such that it deters anybody from casting a wrong eye on India. Finally, India must continue with this stance that no talks with Pakistan till Pakistan acts against its sponsored terror groups. As for Indian Police we must strictly implement the Police Reforms directed by the SC in 2007 and there should be better coordination among various state police forces. like CIA, Mossad and MI6 Indian intelligence Agency RAW must also have same powers including assassination where necessary.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same