The long night has passed.A tragedy had struck us the day before.Yesterday we counted bodies of our soldiers slain ,and attempted to measure the loss of our self esteem and honour.Today we mourn the dead even as we come to terms with our helplessness in the face of this dastardly attack .
Forty-two of our finest were martyred yesterday by a motivated jihadi seeking his own martyrdom.Our boys were there to safeguard the Heaven-on-Earth for its ungrateful inhabitants.The jihadi had a clearer objective and the advantage of initiative.Which is why he succeeded while we weep for those who we have lost.Atleast this fidayeen attack conclusively proves that this is Islamic Jihad,and not insurgency,separatist movement,rebellion or war of independence.
The morning after brings no respite.For those of us who are burning in the hellfire of revenge realize there are no worthwhile options on ground . Surgical strikes have been lampooned enough.Their effectiveness in the long run stands exposed.Conventional war doesn’t interest anybody .Nuclear option is anyway ruled out. India has shown marked indifference towards a policy of targeted assassinations or for bringing home the dreaded ones .Forces in Kashmir are already operating without restraint,and following what has been characterized by the Centre as the ‘most muscular policy’ ever.Rest of the world is not interested,China is actively hostile. What can then India do to avenge this massacre ?
As common Indians ,we know we cant hurt either the Pakistani political establishment,or its Army or the ISI,or even terror groups like Jaish and Lashkar and their leaders.We might make some noise ,but Pakistan is back in America’s favour because of its own compulsions in Afghanistan and the likes of Masood Azhar are under Chinese protection .There is a Saudi economic umbrella which shelters Pakistan.Even within India ,there is a lot of active support for our enemy.Kashmir in on boil as well.It would be counter-productive to put any more pressure on the locals.Stone pelters and local dissenters have lost all fear.
Of course,India can and will refuse to talk,which is anyway our policy.That means we save ourselves the ignominy of not handing over dossiers and evidences to the perpetrators of attacks themselves.We have the option of not escalating our people-to-people contacts ,cross –border trade and sports relations.This way we don’t make laughing stock of ourselves like it used to happen during the previous regimes.We can avoid talking big and loud about Kashmir,and go about our business silently.We can and should smarten up our act as well.Pulwama is our failure,as were Kargil,Uri and Pathankot.
Rather than hitting Pakistan decisively,most of our testosterone in the coming days would be spent in petty politicking –slinging mud at each other and turning it into a 56 inch vs Nehru debate.Some of the closet Pakis and jihadi sympathisers among us would appeal for peace,calm and talks to begin talks. We cant afford to negotiate either with Pakistan or Kashmiris.There is nothing to discuss. We continue to have diplomatic relations and a semblance of trade with Pakistan.Talking about our options ,India doesn’t even have spine and sensitivity enough to put an end to this charade.
The Kashmiri Quislings,our media darlings,the Fourth Estate’s Fifth Columnists,the Abdullahs ,Mehbooba and their minions and the Hurriyat spew venom at Indian forces with impunity.They don’t fear costs,because they don’t forsee any being ever imposed .India protects them from their own with her valuable resources –revenue,blood and uniform.We don’t have enough gumption to be able to impose costs even upon these vultures.Worse is,we dare not remove their security covers as they would be dead no sooner than the covers are lifted.
From today onwards shall resume these terror apologists’ diatribes ,stone pelters’ fusillades and jihadis’ onslaughts,as we gloss over our intelligence failures and move on.Yes,we will raise our voices in our drawing rooms and offices,and in TV studios and during election speeches,but there is not much that we can do to ameliorate this pain.
Does any Indian in his right mind expect our Special Forces to kill Masood Azhar ,Hafiz Sayeed,Lakhwi or Dawood ? Do we expect a large scale retaliation in POK,or across the border ? Can we hope for a ban on the current crop of Kashmiri politicians from entering the Parliament ? Can we expect the government to wind up our High Commission Ops and recall our diplomats ? Can we afford to even withdraw the Most Favoured Nation status that we have bestowed upon Pakistan but which the latter has refused to adorn us with ? There is a lot of clamour for disregarding the Indus Water Treaty and diverting river waters from Pakistan.I don’t think India would resort to this option as it imposes a lot of guilt and shame on India and generates sympathy for the Pakistanis.A conventional,full-scale war would be a preferred option over playing with waters.This option is a complete non-starter.
Nothing is likely to materialize. We wont be able to retaliate.There are only three certainties – pouring of more taxpayer money in Kashmir,General Elections 2019 and more terror attacks to be carried out by the Pakistan Army in tandem with the local jihadis.This is the reason why ‘the morning after’ hurts badly and leaves behind a bad taste after breakfast.This realization that things can’t and won’t change and that we have to live with our strategic impotence is quite dehumanizing and disgraceful. The best we can do is to be more vigilant and cut losses in the future.
We have let thousands of martyrdoms go unavenged.This is not likely to change anytime soon.