Karen operation and the aftermath

Karen operation and the aftermath
By K.N. Pandita

Army has declared winding up of Karen operation at the end of 14-day encirclement and flushing out of infiltrating Pakistani cowards in the gorges, crags, cliffs and mountain recesses of Karen heights. A large cache of arms and ammunition has fallen in the hands of our jawans.

Apart from the big cache of arms and ammunition bearing Pakistani arms factory manufacturing marks, the army has also released documentary evidence proving Pakistani citizenship and addresses of the infiltrators. But let us not give it tuppence.  

As usual, Pakistani authorities have taken recourse to the policy of denial. In such cases, Pakistan’s track record is first to deny, then water down total denial, and at the end sheepishly accept the perfidy.
The ISI and jihadi organizations invite, recruit, train, arm and dispatch the brainwashed Pakistani youth as fidayeen to fight Indian security forces on mountain heights, deep gorges, and inhospitable regions. When they are either captured and tried, or when they are killed in action, Pakistan refuses to accept them as its nationals and does not accept even their dead bodies for proper burial.

It is for the parents of these slain youth to decide who or what is dearer to their handlers; the sacrificial goats lioniz

Sections of media have raised unnecessary questions and are fuelling far-fetched controversies in regard to Karen operations. We need to open a balanced and rational debate and eschew emotions normal

The army got the first information about this intrusion and reacted as early as 24 September. Obviously the Prime Minister, then in New York for GA session, was informed. The questions raised are: (a) why did the PM agree to meet his Pak counterpart knowing that the intruders were fighting for space in Karen? (b) Why were the news and details of counter action not disclosed to the nation but kept a tightly guarded secret? (c) Why did the State Chief Minister remain tight-lipped and non-committal while everybody knows that he is a vociferous propagator of talks with Pakistan? There could be some more questions but let us address these as nagging ones.

There is no second opinion that the PM was informed on the very day and the very hour on 24th September about the massive infiltration. Whether under American persuasion, which should not be discounted, or whether owing to his instinctive statesmanship, he took the right decision of not cancelling the impeding meeting with Pak Prime Minster.  Cancellation would have left bad taste in the mouth.

It has to be remembered that adversaries, while engaged in crossing swords on the ground, do maintain liaison of sorts at some official level, call it backdoor or Track II diplomacy or whatever. It is a requirement for all modern states in the context of international strategy and conduct of state affairs. Are not US and Iran, or US and Taliban in see-saw relationship?

A line has to be drawn between Right to Information and silent conduct of state diplomacy. A government cannot go public on each and every issue of serious security concern. The Prime Minister is administered the oath of office and secrecy before he takes charge of country’s governance. The pious duty cannot be compromised recklessly, and the State cannot be endangered for want of discretion.

I would like to make one important point very clear to our honest and patriotic critics to whatever political ideology they adhere to. We will not go to outright war with Pakistan and become culpable to the crime of destroying her and getting ourselves destroyed by unleashing nuclear holocaust. By unleashing low intensity border clashes, Pakistan Army-ISI combine, precisely want us to fall in the trap and initiate hostilities leading to regional war, and then prove to international community that we are the aggressors. Besides that, war hysterics will immediately result in entire pro and opposition forces in Pakistan forging unity among them by whipping up religious sentiment against “heretical” foe. In that situation, jihadi organizations will forcefully orchestrate vindication of their hate-India megalomania. It helps them jump to centre stage as Islamic crusaders assuming the contemporary avatar of legendry Salahu’d-Din Ayyubi.

Therefore in elimination process, what is the option left to us? We need to concentrate on this aspect. Pakistan has engaged herself in a long-drawn covert battle with us. Wars, proxy war, infiltration, disinformation campaign, ethnic cleansing and radicalization of Kashmir and various perfidies — Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, Srinagar etc.—. These are the manifestation of her handiwork.

We have taken the challenge, fought them and disabled or paralyzed them but we have not been able to uproot terror lock, stock and barrel, do what we may. It cannot be uprooted. The inference is that we have to put up with it.

Therefore, it should be clear to us that terror menace from Pakistan is best dealt with by deepening a process of polarization of Pakistani society along the lines of democracy, accountable governance and international commitments on one hand and jihad, theocratic mindset and recourse to violence on the other. The deeper the divide, the better would be the chances for a civilized Pakistani society to stay put as a responsible and responsive nation.

But a precipitate military action by India would mean not widening the chasm but actually and practically bridging the gap. That bodes disaster for us.

Now let us re-visit the three questions raised by our critics as stated above. It is for any sensible Indian to decide which course of action we need to pursue. If we are fair and gifted with vision, we will have no difficulty in understanding the need for the Prime Minister to keep the Karen episode under wraps till he had exchanged ideas with his counterpart, even though perfunctorily.

It also explains the reason for the Indian leadership to desist from commenting on Karen situation. The purpose was not to keep the nation in dark but to help the nation draw the much needed mileage out of it.

It will be reminded that when the news of Karen intrusion hit the headlines, the Army top brass made a succinct comment saying that the situation was being dealt with. The one sentence hint was more than what would have been said in a lengthy and grossly unnecessary rendering.

In final analysis, the discourse boils down to (a) keep talks in place, and (b) keep your powder dry.  A big nation like ours cannot play gimmicks and cannot succumb to emotionalism. A big nation has to make big sacrifices to win big laurels. We need to uproot the evil mindset of our adversary and not just the terrorist training camps. We salute our heroic armed forces, the finest and the proudest in the world.

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