Infiltration frequency will test strikes’ success: Shivshankar Menon

Menon stressed that from a strategic point of view, in the last 30 years when Pakistan has thrown cross border terrorism in all its worst form, India has done its best in this period.

By: PTI | Washington | Published:October 12, 2016 4:06 pm
ShivshankarMenon stated that what has happened post-Uri has “not eliminated these jihadi tanzims” or any of the terror groups. Express photo by Cheena Kapoor

Asserting that actions like surgical strikes are not a “permanent solution”, former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon has said the real test of success of India’s military action in PoK is whether the LoC is pacified and the infiltration goes down.

Talking about the surgical strikes carried out by India in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack, he said he was not sure if it indicated a major shift in policy and described India’s action akin to mowing the grass, which one has to do repeatedly at regular intervals from keeping the grass to attain certain height.

“I am not sure, if there is a major shift in policy,” he told reporters.

“First of all the use of (the term) surgical strike is not right. It is a phrase developed by the US in the nuclear context. It had a very specific meaning — taking out the adversaries’ nuclear weapons through surgical strike and eliminate those weapons,” said Menon, who was the NSA from 2011 to 2014 under the Manmohan Singh government.

Menon stated that what has happened post-Uri has “not eliminated these jihadi tanzims” or any of the terror groups.

“It was an attack on few launch pads and of course damage to them. But this is not a damage that they cannot repair or recover. Secondly there was a huge amount of restraint shown in the choice of target and the location, it’s on Indian territory after all,” Menon said.

“I think, the difference is that this government has chosen to go public. Whether it works or not, the real test is whether the Line of Control is pacified, whether the infiltration goes down,” Menon said.

Noting that every government chooses its own way of dealing with these things, Menon said, “My own sense, which the Israelis describe is like mowing the grass. Something you need to keep doing, but the grass would keep growing. And it is not a permanent solution. Not military force, not diplomacy, but combination of both together amount to mow ing the grass.”

Menon stressed that from a strategic point of view, in the last 30 years when Pakistan has thrown cross border terrorism in all its worst form, India has done its best in this period.

“This is not an existential threat to India. This is something that can be managed, needs to be managed, needs responses, including military, diplomatic and other responses and to the extent that this government is now doing it publicly, is also following a policy of diplomatically isolating Pakistan for what it has done, is actually a continuing of existing policy, but taken further one more step. I hope it works,” Menon said.

In his book ‘Choices: Inside the making of India’s Foreign Policy’, released at the Brookings Institute last week, Menon writes that in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack, the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and he as the foreign secretary had strongly pushed for immediate retaliatory strikes inside Pakistan and Pak-occupied Kashmir (Pok) which did not happen.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. A
    Alab
    Oct 12, 2016 at 4:02 pm
    Intelligence and stupidity as also closed mind set does not belong to any caste or cl , Ritik. Learn something new. Grow up, man
    Reply
    1. A
      Alab
      Oct 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm
      Mr Melon, you have seen the starters only. All diplomatic niceties have failed with s. All of you have frittered away the chances of reducing risks. Today a real down to earth man, Shut Dover is in a place normally occupied by Bureaucrats who do not know or appreciate ground realities. lt;br/gt;Sorry, but in the short term the incursions will increase. But in the medium and long term they would cease. stan is a pariah today with none except China supporting it. Two or three attacks by Muslim Militants in China will change that. Baluchi rebels will ensure that China's trade dream is curtailed. So, in a few months China s axis will not be active. What you people could not do in 60.years the present Govt has done in three years. Please learn to appreciate reality, Menon Saheb !!!
      Reply
      1. G
        G B
        Oct 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm
        Shiv Shankar Menon, former NSA of UPA regime, obviously toes the Congress Party line. Having served on the LOC and baptized fire, SS Menon is living a fools paradise to suggest that the LOC could be pacified and infiltration minimized. Just simple stupdity to expect such retruns. SS Menon knows very well that infiltration of terrorist groups from stan takes place through sea (Mumbai strike) air (Nepal and the Gulf nations) and land routes along the entire stretch of border. He should stop from misguiding people of India having failed to resolve the crisis during his tenure.
        Reply
        1. D
          Dr Harry
          Oct 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm
          Former ineffectual NSA!
          Reply
          1. A
            Ashok Mazumdar
            Oct 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm
            Absolutely Correct- Shiv Shankar ji.
            Reply
            1. M
              mathimathi
              Oct 12, 2016 at 12:11 pm
              Yes he is correct. cross border terrorism seems to be on rise after the Politicians parrikar rajnath Modi chest pumped surgical strikes. further ours solders, loss of Parents lost their son's life children lost their dad's life, wife lost their husbands life, may be increased because of this chest thumping.
              Reply
              1. P
                PSN
                Oct 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm
                surgical strikes in indian context is like retaliation to curb the enemy. Any responsible government of the hour has to do it. we are all proud of our Armed forces who successfully retaliated braving the hostilities. For all these actions there is no need of big publicity by any government. lt;br/gt;Do we boost for taking care of children and wife? . It is the duty and responsibility of the government of the hour to take appropriate decisions prudent to the situation. Let us not reticule each other and try to blame one government or the other we all should stand united at this hour. Jai Hind
                Reply
                1. M
                  Murali
                  Oct 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm
                  of course-if this article is anything to go by - he forgets the funda's -writes "should be managed " the is not getting hurt -it is India which is dying by a 'thousand bleeds" over the years but for the it is' not an existential threat to India'...sitting happy and safe like chidu can comment ..i live faraway but feel for india..why not indians I wonder??
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Seshadri
                    Oct 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm
                    Imagine this as NSA, suitable only for MMS and cowardly congress. This man and other experts like Ajay Shukla get a platform only on sickular media outlets like IE. Hope they take lessons from Doval and even Modi
                    Reply
                    1. B
                      Bert Brech
                      Oct 12, 2016 at 7:09 pm
                      Another Keralite, Shashi Tharoor, has given a resounding rebuff to the Menon argument for Indian acceptance of stani terrorism set out above:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; "The Indian public and the country’s notoriously fractious political cl reacted with great pride to the news [of the surgical strikes], unanimously hailing the decisive action as long overdue. For the preceding quarter-century, Indians had watched helplessly as their attempts at peace-making with their belligerent, military-dominated neighbor had collapsed repeatedly, thanks to terrorist attacks from stan that the government in Islamabad seemed unable or unwilling to prevent.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; The most horrific of these attacks, the aults on multiple locations in Mumbai, starting on November 26, 2008, killed 166 innocent civilians. But India confined its response to diplomatic action. This exercise of “strategic restraint” in the face of repeated stani aults – partly in order to avoid provoking a full-fledged war with its nuclear-armed neighbor – had left many Indians seething in impotent fury. It seemed to them that stani terrorists could strike at will in India, with the government’s reluctance to hit back guaranteeing the killers’ impunity.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; In January, militants struck across the frontier at the Indian base in Pathankot. As usual, India tempered its response, even inviting stan to join in an official investigation of the attack. The stanis sent over a team of military and intelligence experts, which examined the site of the aults, went home, and proclaimed it a false-flag operation intended to inculpate an innocent stan.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; Indians, sickened by this perfidy, found themselves mourning again in September, when another cross-border ault killed 18 soldiers at an Army base in Uri. Still, there seemed little Indians could do – until the DGMO’s statement announcing a decisive military response.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; stani reactions were a curious mixture, ranging from dismissive declarations (backed by orchestrated bus tours of journalists to selected parts of the LoC) that no surgical strikes had even occurred, to angry statements declaring that irresponsible Indian firing across the LoC had killed two stani soldiers. For once, the stani military appeared to have been caught off guard by Indian action.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; Indians braced themselves for the international community’s disapproval – the fear of nuclear war between the sub-continental neighbors usually dominates world opinion whenever bilateral tensions flare. But this time, thanks in part to the DGMO’s measured and precise statement and an absence of military triumphalism in India’s official tone (the braggadocio of the ruling party’s publicists came later), the world seemed to consider India’s response justifiable.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; stani attempts to seek support against India were widely rebuffed, with stan’s usual supporters, China and the US, mildly calling for both sides to defuse the tensions...lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; It has since emerged that the operation announced by Singh was not India’s first military strike across the LoC; several had occurred under the previous government as well, in response to military raids on Indian territory. But the strikes were the first to be announced publicly, providing a clear signal of intent and a bold statement that business as usual – stani pinpricks followed by Indian inaction – is no longer to be expected.lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt; With its calibrated and targeted strikes, India has made clear that inaction is not the only possible response to terrorist provocations. It is a brave and slightly risky strategy, because it obliges India to pursue a similar course of action when the next significant terrorist strike occurs. Still, a country that refuses to suffer repeated body blows earns more respect than one whose restraint can be interpreted as weakness.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; If this determination, and stan’s ensuing diplomatic isolation, prompts stani generals to rethink their policy of sponsoring terrorism as an instrument of state policy, peace between the neighbors could once again become a possibility. But, for India, such hopes have been betra too often in the recent past for it to continue to turn the other cheek."
                      Reply
                      1. B
                        Bert Brech
                        Oct 12, 2016 at 6:39 pm
                        By failing to make terrorism by stan a zero tolerance issue, by declaring that it is not an existential threat, Menon and his cowardly like have allowed stani terrorism to grow from the late 1980s to dimensions where it ties down the Indian army and has killed tens of thousands of Indians. stan has nothing to fear from the likes of Menon and so it has invested more and more in terrorism. If people like Menon are allowed to continue the pive Indian policy, stan will expand terrorism in India all over the country. Secessionist and insurgent groups within India will get the message that the Indian state is helpless and will take up arms. The Indian state will be destro and India will vanish in ten to fifteen years. The Indian people need to be shown that Indian is hitting back, or else they will lose confidence in their ability to withstand stani terrorism. People like Menon are more dangerous to India than the jihadis.
                        Reply
                        1. B
                          Bert Brech
                          Oct 12, 2016 at 6:45 pm
                          If stan sees that India does not dare to hit back and publicise it it will invest more and more in terrorism against India. It has done just that since the 1980s. That is why we have the terrible problem today: the pivity and complacency of policy makers in India like Menon. stan will get sucked more and more into the terrorism business. Even for the sake of stan India has to strike back.
                          Reply
                          1. B
                            Bert Brech
                            Oct 12, 2016 at 8:31 pm
                            Shashi Tharoor has demolished the view that India can accept stani terror attacks as "Business as Usual'' in an article published by Project Syndicate. Google it under the le ''India Stops Turning the Other Cheek'' and ''Shashi Tharoor''.
                            Reply
                            1. B
                              Bert Brech
                              Oct 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm
                              Shashi Tharoor's excellent article on this subject:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;
                              Reply
                              1. B
                                Bert Brech
                                Oct 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm
                                Shashi Tharror has comprehensively and eloquently demolished the Menon view that India does not need to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward stani terrorist strikes in India. Read it at this link:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;
                                Reply
                                1. B
                                  Bert Brech
                                  Oct 12, 2016 at 6:42 pm
                                  “I think, the difference is that this government has chosen to go public."lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;And it was absolutely right to do so. The Indian people need to be shown that Indian is hitting back, or else they will lose confidence in their ability to withstand stani terrorism. With enemies like Menon jihadis need no friends.
                                  Reply
                                  1. Load More Comments