What are the possible options to repay Uri

(Primepost bureau)

New Delhi: The fearless attack on an army base in Uri has pushed India-Pakistan relations to the brinkthat are already under strain from a similar strike on an airbase in Pathankot earlier this year. Government is under tremendous pressure to respond robustly. The Pathankot raid offered hopes that the two sides might handle the fallout of such attacks in mature, constructive way. But the steady collapse in ties, marked by reciprocal sniping on Kashmir and Balochistan has soured the mood.

Continued Pakistani provocations on border, cross boarder infiltrations and terrorist activities in side India compelling Indian government to look for ways to inflict costs for their misdeeds. The general mood in public and political leadership is that the time has come to retaliate with full might.

In present scenario, what are the possible options available with India?

Diplomacy: Isolating Pakistan internationally to force it to retract terrorism as an instrument of state policy. India has pursued this line for decades without much success. Now that terrorism has emerged as a global threat, India has more diplomatic leverage and more support from terror effected countries. Convincing great powers in declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state and apply global sanctions. Abrogating Indus Water Treaty and boycotting SAARC summit in November can also be considered.

Aggressive posturing: Moving forces to the border in an aggressive deployment. Refuse Indian skies for Pakistani flights, scale down Pakistani mission in New Delhi and recall Indian high commissioner in Islamabad. Without interactions further deterioration in relations is possible. This move might help the NDA government on the domestic front but may not be of any help in the long run.

War of attrition: Escalate the offensive over Balochistan. Make Pakistan pay heavy price for its interference in Jammu and Kashmir and hope that it sees reason in stopping terror exports across the border. But this approach can backfire and strengthen anti-India elements among state and non-state actors in Pakistan.

Bilateral talks: Engage the civilian leadership in Pakistan. This, however, goes against New Delhi’s stated line that terror and talks can’t go together. Unfortunately, civilian leadership in Pakistan is not in a position to decide on matters related to India. Engage the Pakistani Army, which controls the levers of power, through back-channels. But their interest in peace is suspect.

Hot pursuit: Indian forces to go after the terrorists and neutralise them in Pakistani territory. This option was mooted against Pakistan-backed militants but never exercised. There are inherent risks involved in these operations as resistance from Pakistani forces responding to Indian Army and escalating it into full-fledged war.

Surgical Strike: A covert strike on terror training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to damage them without collateral damage. Again this action by India might run the risk of a full-fledged war with Pakistan.

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