"Saugandh mujhe iss mitti ki, Main desh nahi mitne dunga, Main desh nahi jhukne dunga...." This theme song of BJP for 2014 has become alive in 2019. In his first public rally held in Churu in Rajasthan, hours after official confirmation of India's surgical strike II by Indian Air Force pilots at Jaish-e-Mohammad’s base in Balakot located deep inside Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recited lyrics of the song written by Prasoon Joshi and sung by Sukhwinder Singh.
Exactly five years ago Modi had sung the first two lines of this fiercely nationalist song. It was a promotional song, propagated through especially designed audio-visual vans and also played ahead of BJP rallies. Today, as Modi began reciting this poem, the crowd responded with full-throttled aggression. Their reaction was suggestive of their feelings that the death of 40 soldiers in the Pulwama terror attack and some more in encounters with terrorists in parts of Kashmir was avenged.
Modi has walked the talk, fulfilling the promise he had made after the Pulwama terror attack. A few days ago, in Rajasthan, the prime minister had told people to keep "faith in the Modi government, armed forces' valour and Maa Bhawani" for retribution. He has clearly pushed the envelope and drawn loud and clear red lines that any action against India will invite harsh and strong reaction.
Given the current mood of the nation, the song, Saugandh Mujhe Hai Iss Mitti Ki..., has acquired a new meaning, and become more contextual and exciting than it was in 2014. It is surely going to be played up loudly in the run-up to the upcoming parliamentary elections. The crowd's response in Churu on Tuesday afternoon was somewhat reflective of this national mood as the crowd started chanting "Modi, Modi" even as the prime minister started making introductory remarks.
After all, the Modi government had resolved to take on Pakistan for its acts of commission and omission, made to pay some price for nurturing terror and allowing terror camps to operate from its soil.
For the second time in the last two-and-half years, the Indian forces entered Pakistan territory to conduct retaliatory strikes to eliminate terror camps operating from Pakistani soil. In surgical strike 1 in September 2016, special forces of the Indian Army had crossed the Line of Control and entered inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to dismantle terror camps and inflict heavy causalities. In surgical strike 2 — conducted apparently around 3.30 am on Tuesday — 12 Indian Air force fighter planes crossed the International border with Pakistan, did precision bombing and inflicted heavy damage to terror infrastructure, killing around 350 Jaish-e-Mohammad operatives including the brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masood Azhar. In both the cases — in September 2016 and now — soldiers involved in operation returned safely after successfully completing their designated task.
The message to Pakistan is loud and clear that any action (conducted through ISI sponsored terrorists) will invite harsh and strong reaction. Modi has proved that he is true to his words, in this regard of making the perpetrators and backers of Pulawama terror act pay a heavy price, and that today’s India has 'nai niti (new policy)' and 'nai riti (new attitude)'. Security forces are have unleashed a heavy offensive against terrorists taking shelter in residential areas of Kashmir.
It is important to note here that after the 1971 India-Pakistan War, this is for the first time that Indian Air Force bombers have crossed the International Border along Pakistan and flew deep inside the country. Indian forces did not cross the Line of Control or the International Border during the 1999 Kargil War. Another difference is that during the 1971 war, Indian Air Force fighter planes flew inside Pakistan mostly as part of retaliatory strikes during the course of a full-war situation, but this time around the situation was completely different.
The Modi government had also secured approval of dominant international players including that of the United States. Last weekend, while responding to a query on India’s right to self-defence, US president Donald Trump had said, "India is looking at something very strong. And I mean, India just lost almost 50 people with an attack. So, I could understand that also."
Prior to that UN Security Council had passed a resolution initiated by France and unanimously supported by all five permanent members including China, strongly condemning the Pulwama terror attack. The statement mentioned Jaish-e-Mohammad as the outfit taking responsibility for the attack, and resolved that all countries must act together against terror.
India has now shown that it could successfully act on both the fronts — diplomatic and military. As a sovereign nation, India had all the right to act militarily to protect the peace and integrity of its people and of its soil.
The change in the line of thinking (act and react strongly) under the Modi government is evident. Consider a statement made by former Chief of Air Staff Fali Homi Major who headed the Indian Air Force during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, on his retirement. In an interview to Rediff in November 2009, he had said that the forces were ready for a retaliatory strike but the government (Manmohan Singh-led UPA) could never make up its mind.
"In fact, the government never made up its mind to go to war. I know the sentiment of the entire country was that of anger and disgust. The Indian Air Force was ready to strike at Pakistan. We had our contingency ready and were well prepared. However, ultimately it depends on what the government wants," he had said.
To a query that whether the Indian Air Force was prepared for air strike across the border to destroy jehadi camps, the former air chief had said: “Yes, there was. However, the government was not in favour of an air strike across the border as it felt that it would escalate into a full-fledged war.”
The current services' chiefs wouldn't have to express such regret. They have required political clearance and the government of the day is on their side.
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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2019 13:52:35 IST