Put an end to high-decibel drumbeat on surgical strikes

On September 28, the Indian government and Army announced that special forces had conducted surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads along the Line of Control in Occupied Kashmir on Wednesday night and early hours of Thursday and destroyed a number of camps. The number of casualties on the other side varied widely, anywhere between 10 and 38. Probably, we will never know how many were dead since Pakistan has been denying Delhi’s claim. Both the Pak civilian and military establishment had called the operation a figment of Indian imagination. But it did admit that there was a cross-border raid in which a couple of Pak security forces were killed.

In the nearly two weeks since the secret operation was revealed by India, we have been witnessing verbal fireworks from left, right and centre. First, the mission was hailed as validating our right to respond to terrorist threats from across the border followed by fulsome praise for the armed forces, then reserved reactions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolute action.

A few days later, praise for the government had turned into vitriol in the hands of all opposition parties. They called the surgical strikes politically motivated and the BJP was exploiting the raids for a big score in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. Oddly, even China and Pakistan have toed the opposition line in discrediting India. They said it was political opportunism that won’t pay dividends!

As far as the ordinary people are concerned, they always salute our armed forces and respect the decisions they take. The recent mission too has evoked such response. We are all one in fighting the enemy is the unequivocal response from every citizen of this country. Then why our political leaders continue to beat the drum day and night? In fact, repeating the same ad nauseam can make the people suspect the real intention of the government and its ministers.

Two days in succession – on festive Dasara day and the following day – we were once again bombarded with surgical strikes talk by speakers throughout length and breadth of the country. While Prime Minister Modi mentioned it briefly in Lucknow, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had a go at them in Nagpur. Not to lag behind, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP Chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal continued their onslaught against BJP and Modi at Ram Leela ground in Delhi.

What’s disgusting is to see mainstream parties’ leaders nitpicking whatever others say. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, speaking at the Material Engineering Technology conference in Navi Mumbai, on Wednesday, said the Indian security forces deserved merit for successfully carrying out surgical strikes. He also praised Modi for his “decision making capability.”

The honourable defence minister must have lost count of how many times he had extolled the Army and the PM. It’s difficult to fathom what’s he trying to achieve by showing unabated admiration for the Army and Modi?

Though the Prime Minister had advised his ministerial colleagues and party cadres against bragging about the surgical strikes, key ministers like Parrikar appear not interested in ending the saga.

We, as people, and the central government know very well that a single operation doesn’t end cross-border militancy. Nor does it ensure Pakistan government to rein in jihadists operating from that country’s soil. It was just a beginning; flexing muscles and unending bragging will harm our long-term interests. Needling unnecessary is self-defeating. It’s high time BJP leaders observe a line of control while talking about surgical strikes and the opposition honour it without seeing them from the political prism of opportunism. The fact remains a mission was accomplished and we have to await its impact. After all, it was not an Indo-Pak war. Whatever we say even for home consumption, other countries will be watching.

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