On December of this year, India was shocked at the audacity of the Pakistani Army; a team crossed over the LoC and carried on an ambush on an Indian Army’s patrol, operating in the Keri sector of the 120 Infantry Brigade. They had used landmines and small arms, killing one Major along with four soldiers. These gallant troops came from India’s finest regiment and were part of 2 Sikh.
Within 48 hours of this horrific incident, soldiers of the Indian Army crossed the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Rawalkot sector, killing at least four Pakistani personnel on Monday. The cross-LoC raid was meant to avenge the death of four Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops earlier this week. Indian troops penetrated 500 meters across the Line of Control and the modus operandi used was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) ambush followed by gunfire. Literally replicating the earlier Pakistani action.
The Line of Control has been witnessing such actions and counter-actions quiet regularly ever since General Kayani started to violate the cease-fire in 2010 that had come into force in 2003 during the regimes of General Musharraf and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
It must be remembered that this cease-fire came into force only when Pakistan realised that it was untenable for her to continue retaliation to Indian Army’s artillery duels. Indian army had fired 2.5 lakh shells during the 50-day Kargil conflict and later in the years in the run-up to the cease-fire, we had fired nearly one lakh artillery round against Pakistan. Each round costs around US $ 1000.
Pakistan was forced to retaliate in a good measure too. Though we had our share of losses, both material and human, but the losses suffered by Pakistan was colossal. India could inflict huge damage on Pakistan’s military infrastructure along with unbearable economic drain.
In the crucial time between 2003 to 2010, Pakistanis rebuild their infrastructure and beefed up the ammunition stocks. Now they were ready to meet the Indian army’s challenge. While for the Indian Army, the victory was always measured in terms of attaining a moral ascendancy. However, for Pakistani army the victory lies in the ability to rise after each setback and challenge the Indian might.
This is what Pakistan has been doing ever since they got created in the name of religion. They draw inspiration from the battles Mohammad fought with Meccans. Wherein he had challenged the bigger adversary with a far smaller force and, finally, led his troops to victory after suffering many defeats.
For India, it is very much essential to understand the psychology of its adversary. And to counter that, we will have to keep the temperatures high on the border while retaining the initiative. Defensive mindset needs to be shed and more pragmatic approach is the need of an hour. While we may wade through easily being a stronger economy and military power but for Pakistan, it would be untenable as has been seen in the past.
On the escalatory matrix, we are fighting with our adversary at the lowest level in No War No Peace spectrum of low intensity. We both have similar strengths at this level. In fact, Pakistan fares better as it always takes an initiative while we always react. India must tackle Pakistan at levels where we are more stronger. And our strength lies in long-range, high-tech weaponry and highly trained military. Or else we would continue to bleed under the status quo in this simmering conflict.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL).