08 March, 2021

Bowl A Long, Tight Spell

Continuous pressure on Pakistan will work better than one spectacular strike

Bowl A Long, Tight Spell

On September 29, 2016, the Director General of Military Operations stood in front of the media and announced that the Indian army had conducted surgical strikes against terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). There was a wave of euphoria among the public and popular endorsement of the government’s action. However, as terror attacks from Pakistan-based groups continued, some quiet voices questioned whether the surgical strikes had achieved any real strategic gains.

In the aftermath of the deadly Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy, there is massive outrage and anger among the people, and calls are ringing out for strong military action against Pakistan. People often ask me if it is now time for Surgical Strike #2. It is, therefore, perhaps an appropriate moment to look back at the dividends of the 2016 surgical strikes and also whether they throw up some lessons on how we should handle the long-festering problem of Pakistan’s support to terrorism in India.

It is important to understand the circumstances that led to the surgical strikes: 2016...

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