Right from the word go, the Pakistani army establishment was more keen to deny “surgical strikes” than accepting it as a reality. That was the precise reason why Pakistani army is learnt to have used its communication channel pleading India to play down the magnitude of the strike.
And there were enough reasons for it. At first glance, the imagery of a “vulnerable Pakistani army” was too much of a cost to bear. Over the years, people of Pakistan are fed with myths about its army’s larger-than-life image. Among all institutions in Pakistan, the army is build up an image of being inviolable.
The surgical strikes had not only broken this myth to smithereens but also exposed gaping chinks in Pakistan’s armour. With Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif set to retire shortly, the Pakistan’s deep state was the first time running for a cover. India’s surgical strikes across the line of control (LoC) proved to be a moment of reckoning for the Pakistani army which found itself under siege.
What appeared to have complicated the matter for Pakistan is the decision of the Indian government to inform Pakistan by using the communication line of director generals of military operation (DGMOs) of both the countries. When the Indian DGMO informed his Pakistani counterpart about the nature of the operations, it rang the alarm bells in Pakistan.
However after assuring the limited nature of the “surgical strikes”, the Indian side maintained that there was no move to escalate it any further. A close scrutiny of the Indian DGMO’s press conference in the morning and his decision not to entertain any question on the issue was calculated to give Pakistani army a space for maneuvering.
Highly-placed sources in the government said that the script, however, went haywire as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reacted to surgical strikes and called Indian’s move as “naked aggression”. Since Sharif was briefed about India’s military action, he could not get time to hide his outrage. However, the army leadership soon intervened and started denying surgical strikes. Of course, India found Pakistan’s denial as not unusual.
However, at the same time, top leadership in the government, defence forces and agencies dealing with the internal security were put on the highest level of alert as there were inputs about Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) staging something spectacular to get even with surgical strikes. The foiled attack at the Baramulla army camp was an indication of Pakistan’s design.
As of now, the government is in no mood to lower the guard. Given the fact that India is going to host the 2016 BRICS Summit on 15-16 October in Panaji and holding various events all across the country, officials of the home ministry and defence ministry have been asked to maintain maximum vigilance to thwart any attempt of retaliation either by Pakistan directly or through proxies across the country.