Surgical strikes may be new to India, but don't underestimate their power to unite
The surgical strikes of 29 September have ensured the entire country stands united today
The surgical strikes of 29 September have ensured the entire country stands united today. The last time the nation witnessed such unity was in 1971 when the then prime minister Indira Gandhi broke the news of Bangladesh's freedom to the Parliament. The Opposition benches led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee thumped the desks with joy and ecstasy. The entire country stood solidly behind India's victory over Pakistan.
It is ironic that military offensives unite the country and not peace initiatives — neither pacifist moves nor candle light vigils. This is more than apparent in case of the India's surgical strikes against terror camps in PoK. The term 'surgical strikes' is new to India and but it has already gone viral because of India's vindication of countering terror through decisive military action. What this has done is to boost the morale of the military and the people alike.
Over the past few years, India has seen strife of huge proportions. A variety of non-issues posed threats to Indian polity and society. The 'award wapsi' controversy, appointments of incompetent people to key government and non-governmental positions. Communal passions ran high in several states as well. Sociologists and political analysts looked hapless on TV shows as if they had run out of ideas and steam to combat the fissiparous signs the country was facing.
Bollywood was (and perhaps still is) vertically divided and also along communal lines. Rhetoric and venom is often spewed and conciliatory tones are rare. Often responsible personalities spoke irresponsibly. The media too seemed polarised. Few media houses were alleged to have been bought over by the State, while others claimed to be adhering to a particular political ideology.
Parliament witnessed some of the most unparliamentary debates further making battle lines increasingly apparent.
Kashmir was in the eye of the storm and the disturbing developments that ensued threatened our sovereignty. The 'enemy country' exploited the situation by exporting more terror for subversive activities. Home grown Islamic State sympathisers, albeit not so many, along with radicalised elements watched menacingly from the wings, waiting to strike. The threat of terror loomed large. Such heightened state of alerts were never seen before. A restive nation was demanding action against Pakistan for abetting and creating this unstable atmosphere.
It is ironic that military offensives unite the country and not peace initiatives — neither pacifist moves nor candle light vigils
All said and done, the synchronised action between the Ministry of External Affairs and the security forces is a job done exceedingly well. The diplomatic offensive , whereby Pakistan has been completely isolated, matched action on ground by the security forces. With a united India powered by a unanimous political voice, the country now needs to consolidate its dividends by not becoming complacent or over-euphoric. Pakistan, in all likelihood, will attempt military revenge.
The over-adventurous Pak military with a rogue leadership will cry for blood. They haven't learnt lessons from their bloody past from the chapters of history. Their abortive misadventures of 1947-48, 1965, 1971 (when the country was dismembered) and Kargil must be fresh in the minds.
Repeated attacks on Indian establishments including those on the Parliament, Pathankot and Uri were a test of patience and political will. The water went above the head and the action is loud and clear or in the military parlance: 'Lima Charlie!' These surgical strikes have reposed faith and self confidence in the minds of the nation about India's military capabilities which remained invisible when Parliament was attacked. It also proved many top security analysts wrong that India had limited or no options at all to strike the enemy.
To meet any likely Pakistani reprisals, we need to maintain the same unity cutting across party, religious and caste line and regional parochialism. Every arm of the government and society is today alive and kicking and it should continue to be active in order to meet any aggression. A united India is the only solution, a divided nation would mean doom. Such opportunities do not surface often.
The author is a freelancer. Views expressed are personal
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