Moving Towards South Asian Confederation

The Pulwama Massacre, Pakistan and China

The Pakistani sponsored Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist outfit claimed responsibility of one of the deadliest attacks on the Indian forces when an explosives-laden car driven by a suicide attacker rammed into an army bus on 14th February, 2018, instantaneously killing 42 personnel at Pulwama, South Kashmir. The bus was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles ferrying 2500 troopers. Ironically, the alleged suicide attacker was ayoungster who hailed from Pulwama itself.

The earlier attack of similar magnitude carried out on the Uri Army camp in Kashmir in September, 2016 was retaliated by ‘surgical strikes’ on terrorist camps in Pakistan. That such strikes cannot have long lasting values is borne out by the present, albeit larger offensive. More glaring is the security failure at multiple fronts. There was a warning of such an attack, there were check-posts all along the road and the time of the movement of vehicles was not supposed to be known unless leaked from inside. After all, we are fighting a proxy war which has a different grammar than that of a full scale conflict.

What is important is to bring international pressure on Pakistan to dismantle its terrorist outfits not only for the sake of India but for its own sake. That China still harbours protection to JeM Chief Masood Azhar despite other members of the Security Council condemning him has been one great failures of Indian foreign policy. It is a price India is paying for succumbing to China. Distinguished military thinker, Major General (retd.) Vinod Saighal expressed his anguish in his column in The Statesman on 11th February, 2019 by explaining how the Chinese perfected the art of charming Indian leaders. In return, the celebrations planned in Delhi on the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India to thank India for hospitality was cancelled. The Indian embassies abroad have been instructed to ignore Dalai Lama. More dangerous is the massive military build-up by China in Tibet, ostensibly to threat India, an ominous trend that has invited lack-lustre protest from Indian politicians. The proposal to have elite Strike Corps for the mountains that had been sanctioned three decades earlier has been put into the backburner following false assurances from China. Saighal comments, ‘The Chinese have won a major victory off the battlefield; confident that without a riposte capability India will always remain vulnerable’.

It is the short sightedness of the Indian polity that inhibits India to win the proxy war. Pakistan can dare to support mischief as China considers the Pakistan military as its force multiplier. A sustained and methodical strategy to confront ground reality and restructure foreign policy has to evolve, mere emotional retorts have little value.

Date of Update: 16-Feb-19