Uri attack: India must provide air cover to ground troops to tackle terrorism

This is not the time to point fingers. Nor is it the time to be shocked by the attack in Uri. Terrorists not only have the advantage of the initiative but they are ready to die and that gives them a razor’s edge.

These sort of death-for-glory assaults have been expected since the stakes were raised by India underscoring the Balochistan issue and placing it on the global stage.

17 soldiers died in the Uri terror attack. PTI

17 soldiers died in the Uri terror attack. PTI

By the same token, this assault is not even a negative reflection of the Indian forces' state of readiness or lack thereof. That the kill squad were well trained or amateurs sent as cannon fodder makes very little difference: where they come from there are many more and that is what India should be concentrating upon.

It is very easy in the aftermath to take the fluff out of navel and put it up to the light and carp about how they could enter a military base camp, what was going on, whether we are slack, who holds the hot little potato for this blunder in intelligence.

What is so monumental about entering a military camp if you are heavily armed and ready to be martyred?

It is not a blunder and we must get past the blame game…actually not get into it at all. Now that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has come out strongly against Pakistan, it is time to show a united and aggressive front. By just making mewling sounds, we cannot expect Islamabad to be particularly intimidated. Ergo, there have to be consequences that indicate India means business.

If we go wrong, it is in letting such attacks pass and only making promises of seeking justice. Even if a ‘sanitising’ op is ordered, it only creates more bad blood and that is exactly what Pakistan wants.

The only option is to go aerial. So long as it's boots on the ground, we will always be on the defensive. We are hampered on all fronts and it seems that if continue to expose our ground troops without the benefit of adequate air cover, we will stay vulnerable. And it does not make sense in the new equations.

Prime Minister Modi has to earmark the terrorist strongholds and take aim. This is where Indian intelligence can show its capabilities.

And the media, for this round, has to be supportive and stop with the doubts.

Recently, there was an article doing the rounds in the Indian media and social platforms about how India’s armed forces are poorly equipped and short on weaponry and ammunition and not capable in the present context to have its 1.3 million-strong standing army taking on Pakistan’s 600,000.

That is extremely uncharitable and challengeable on the simple premise that no one can predict a result of war.

For one, neither country has experienced battle inoculation over these past forty years. For another, Pakistan would balk at going into a conventional war with India because it cannot win. And the premise that China would play Big Brother is a feeble one to risk declaring conflict.

It's best option is to go in for these ‘shoot and scoot’ operators by proxy and let India bleed from every such cruel cuts.

We lost 17 soldiers and today, we can cry ourselves a river. But it is incumbent upon the government to now up the ante and put forward a road map, whatever the fallout.

This country may have a lot of flaws and drawbacks but when put to the sword, it has a remarkable way of sheathing its differences and creating a truly united front.

It will back Modi if Modi backs himself. If it is only rhetoric and a few sulky delays in summit talks, we might as well take another attack as a given.

Updated Date: Sep 18, 2016 17:40 PM

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