Pulwama terror attack – tragedy for India, blessings for Narendra Modi and his party

Vijaya Laxmi Tripura

Clearly there is no sign of Indian government’s sincerity in giving a befitting lesson to terror-patron Pakistan following the gruesome jihadist attack on the convoys carrying the members of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Pulwama district. More than 45 members of CRPF have been killed during this attack, when a member of a jihadist group rammed a SUV [Sport Utility Vehicle] carrying over 100 kilograms of explosives into a bus carrying the members of CRPF. Though Pakistan-based notorious jihadist outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack, there are several conspiracy theories appearing in the Indian media, where Somalia-based Al Shabab too is being accused for plotting this conspiracy while others are blaming AQIS (Al Qaeda in Indian Sub Continent), Islamic State (ISIS), Lashker-e-Toiba etc.

The CRPF is the largest of the central paramilitary forces that come under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It has been carrying out law and order as well as counterinsurgency duties in Jammu and Kashmir and India’s northeast for several decades.

Since the Pulwama attack, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other front ranking members of his party are repeating assuring the people of India about taking a befitting revenge on terror-patron Pakistan for giving patronization to such jihadist groups. But, by now, it seems, Mr. Modi and his party comrades are taking a Pulwama attack as a political capital of mobilizing people of India in voting for the ruling party during next month’s general election. There is no real sign of giving a strong response to Pakistan’s notoriety, while analysts are saying, “It is also unclear that the Indian military has sufficient superiority over Pakistani forces to even consider any full-scale military retaliation. The Indian military has been starved of funds in the last several years, with very little capital acquisition and significant weaknesses in critical areas. The Indian Air Force, for example, is down to about 30 squadrons and it will be years before India is able to field the full 42 squadrons that has been sanctioned for the Air Force.

“It is also unclear that India will respond with a full-scale conventional assault as envisaged under the Cold Start doctrine. With elections looming, such a venture may be considered too risky. While it is possible that India could conduct a somewhat enhanced version of the 2016 surgical strikes that may not be seen as sufficient”.

Narendra Modi is making political gain out of Pulwama attack:

Clearly, for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), jihadist attack in Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir has turned into a huge political blessings and it is quite unlikely that Modi or his party comrades would not take full advantage of it. Instead of punishing Pakistan, Narendra Modi is more focused on properly capitalizing the Pulwama attack as an effective tool of getting people’s support for his party during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Moreover, there is no real possibility of any military action on Pakistan, as the Indian armed forces reportedly are suffering from fund and logistic crisis.

India’s effort in getting Pakistan isolated from the international community also does not look to be successful. China clearly is unwilling in helping India in the regard while United States hasn’t yet given its opinion on this issue. At the same time, Russia, which is the key ally of India seems to be extremely cautious in even uttering a word on this matter. Meaning, Russia may even not help India is getting Pakistan isolated.

The best and only option is several drone attacks on the jihadist launch-pads inside Pakistan. It is not clear, if the Indian army or Prime Minister Narendra Modi is considering this option.

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