A few days back there were reports of a major counter-terrorist operation at the Indian military cantonment of Nagrota. Pakistani terrorists, who had probably infiltrated from Hiranagar, in District Kathua of the Jammu region, were accosted at a poll plaza near Nargota cantonment. Three of the terrorists were reported killed while one security person was injured. It is appreciated that there were more than three terrorists in the truck and operations are on to find the remainder.
The intention of the terrorists is not known. They could have been instructed to carry out a terrorist strike on some military establishment in Nagrota itself. They also could have been on their way to Kashmir where, presently, there is a huge deficit in the terrorist cadre. The foreign terrorist leadership has been neutralised by the security forces in Kashmir and without that, recruitment as well as motivation of local cadre becomes impossible. It is the foreign terrorists who used to compel the local youth into pursuing the path of terrorism by threatening them as well as their families of dire consequence on refusal.
A little before this operation a very serious security breach was unearthed in which a senior Police Officer was caught assisting movement of terrorists in Kashmir. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is carrying out deep investigation to unearth the nexus which seems to be deep rooted.
The foregoing incidents are a chilling reminder of the determination of the inimical forces to keep the flame of terrorism alive in Jammu and Kashmir. They are a clear indication that the terror masters sitting abroad are attempting to find new, innovative methods to get their manpower, weapons and war like wherewithal across.
The Pakistani terror establishment seems to have gone into hyper mode after the Indian Republic Day celebrations on 26, January, this year. While the celebrations were carried out with traditional grandeur, aplomb and festivity what was different and very critical for Pakistan was the number of “firsts” that were showcased in the impressive parade held at New Delhi.
For the first time in the history of independent India, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the fallen soldiers at the “National War Memorial.” The magnificent National War Memorial enshrines the names of all brave sons of Mother India who gave their lives in operations after the country gained independence on 15 August 1947. A large number of the brave hearts whose name is enshrined in the War Memorial have given their lives while fighting the cause of the nation in the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The significance of the War Memorial in reminding the people of India and the world about the perfidy of Pakistan is not lost to the latter country.
Another matter of great satisfaction is the fast track military modernisation of the country that was visible in the Republic Day Parade. On display was a large number of state-of-the-art military hardware that India has acquired in the last few years, during the NDA rule. This included the superb Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Apache attack helicopters acquired from the United States that are already operational in the Indian air Force are seen by strategic experts as great force multipliers.
Also holding a place of pride in the parade was the Bhishma Main Battle Tank (MBT) that is being made in India on licence from Russia and forms the sword arm of the Army in conventional operations.
Of great significance was the Artillery equipment on display, including the M777 Howitzer acquired from BAE systems that kick-started modernisation of Artillery regiments in May 2017, the indigenously produced Dhanush Field Artillery Gun based on the Bofors design and inducted into service in mid-2019 and the K9 VAJRA-T 100 self-propelled tracked 155 mm howitzers being indigenously produced by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at Talegaon, Maharashtra. These guns have filled a decades old gap in the military modernisation of the country.
The icing on the cake was the Shakthi Anti-satellite platform that was successfully tested by India on 27, March, 2019 by destroying an old satellite on low earth orbit with a kinetic kill vehicle. India’s successful demonstration of ASAT capability puts her in the strategic league of a select few nations in the world like US, Russia and China.
The derivative of these firsts is that the stagnation in military modernisation has been replaced by a new urgency to cover the lost time. Creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will ensure that the modernisation plan move ahead in a timely and professional manner.
Pakistan is well aware that the new equipment that is being inducted will be predominantly utilised to counter its vicious designs along the northern frontier of the country including the two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. From its reaction it becomes apparent that security of India cannot be assured only with procurement and provision of military wherewithal. Our inimical neighbour continues to vigorously pursue efforts toward keeping foreign sponsored terrorism ticking in accordance with its policy of bleeding India with low cost proxy and hybrid war.
Definitely our enemy is desperately searching for a credible counter to the increasing military might. It is therefore attempting to bolster terrorism in Kashmir and also giving support to seditions activities in the main land. It is well known that financial and organisational support for the ongoing agitations for non-issues like CAA/NCR/NPR is coming from Pakistan.
While the security forces are poised to nullify the challenge being posed by cross-border terrorism and other conventional means, there is need for utmost urgency in identifying and exposing the perpetrators of seditious, anti-national activities. It is time for the leadership to show resolve and handle the emerging critical situation in a firm and righteous manner that upholds the principles of our Constitution. In this resolve the leaders can remain confident about the unmitigated support of all nationalist forces in the country.
(Jaibans Singh is a reputed security analyst, columnist and author)