The assertion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that those behind the terror attack at an Army base in Uri in Kashmir “will not go unpunished” on Sunday triggered considerable speculation about the options that India could exercise in the current situation. A swift, surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir(PoK) was among the options that figured in the speculation but experts also cautioned against consequences and the damages that an escalation could pose if it goes out of hand.
How, when and where perpetrators of the Uri attack which was attributed to Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM could be “punished” was a call for the country’s political leadership to be taken very carefully, experts felt, although BJP’s points-man for Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav asserted that days of strategic restraint are over and suggested that “for one tooth, the complete jaw” should be the policy after the strike.
“Perpetrators of Uri terror attack shall be punished…,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. Some retired army generals also favoured a tough response from India. Expressing outrage over the attack on an army battalion in Uri, the former generals sought urgent action against Pakistan, including keeping the “military option open” to deal with terror from its soil.
“We must have our military option open, if required to strike at certain places,” Lt Gen (Retd) B S Jaswal said. “Bring pickets, which have launch pad to the ground, raze them to the ground. The reason is that till the time it does not hurt Pakistan physically, they would not respect our decency,” Jaswal, who was GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, said.
“Pakistan keeps doing it (terror strikes) again and again knowing that we would not take any action,” Major (Retd) Gaurav Arya, who has expertise in Jammu and Kashmir security situation, said. The problems in Kashmir are “systematically manufactured” at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, he alleged, adding “We must take immediate action. Stop trade with Pakistan, downgrade (its) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. The world must know we are serious.”
Questioning the absence of two service chiefs at the meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take stock of the situation after the attack, former army chief Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury said these actions were coming from Pakistan. Retired Brigadiar Anil Gupta accused Pakistan of causing instability in the Valley.
He said the attack was “a matter of serious concern for India and is a desperate attempt by Pakistan to ensure the current turmoil in Kashmir doesn’t end.” Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said “preventing suicide attack is difficult, but damage control is always possible.”