Pulwama is not the end of Pakistan’s perfidy. Let’s even assume peace will reign soon as India and Pakistan deescalate tensions. How is it even possible to believe for a moment that Pakistan is not living a lie at the moment and will soon unleash a terror proxy inside the Kashmir Valley and pretend it had nothing to do with a non-State actor? After all, this is a nation that shielded Osama Bin Laden, progenitor of modern history’s worst terrorist act, in its midst for so long while lying to the world. And he was living in a house just yards from a military compound in Abbotabad.
The US gave Pakistan F-16s on the condition that they will not be used against India. The Pakistan forces reneged on that commitment. Pakistan’s perfidy on that count has also been exposed with proof in the form of an AMRAAM missile casing, specifically made for F-16s being recovered by our forces after one of the F-16s was brought shot down in a dogfight with IAF’s humble Mig-21 Bisons. The only time they kept their word seemed to be in handing over the PoW and Indian national war hero Abhinandan Varthaman as the Pakistan PM Imran Khan had announced his "peace gesture" in parliament.
The rules of engagement with Pakistan changed dramatically when Indian warplanes crossed the LoC for the first time since 1971. The temptation may have been high on many an occasion, particularly during the Kargil war, but not once did India succumb. The Pulwama attack may have changed the discourse forever. Having lived long enough with Pakistan’s perfidy, India has drawn a new red line on terror. It’s not going to sit back and take it and depend only on a diplomatic offensive to show the world Pakistan’s biggest export commodity - terror, on both borders east and west.
Surgical Strike 2 was a logical conclusion to be drawn since the strategy had been employed and publicised after the Uri attack. Gone is the time when India had stuck to these self-imposed Laxman Rekhas for decades on responding to terror. True, the evidence of the 2019 strike on a terror camp has not been released formally. But the perfidy of Pakistan is such it has even been known to bury its uniformed soldiers in secrecy when deniability becomes too important for the truth to prevail. Asking for body count of terrorists - as some opposition politicians have - is a bit of a stretch.
The fact that Indian bombers penetrated at least 60 kms into Pakistan territory to drop bombs on Balakot was sufficient proof of the fact that the lines of engagement have changed drastically. India may have been careful enough to choose a terror factory as a target rather than any military infrastructure as the Pakistanis were to in retaliation. As Pakistan never acknowledges the JeM or the LeT as State actors, India had the freedom to attack their resources. The care taken to maintain a line within confrontational military action is to be appreciated.
Pakistan will be having a whale of a time convincing the world that it has a right to defend terrorists. Known for its silver-tongued diplomats whose weapon is cordiality to one’s face and duplicity when behind it, the nation seems to have lost even the goodwill of its own kind thanks to its deviousness in promoting terror as State policy. The new Prime Minister may be new to this but then he is an old "reverse swing cheat" as former diplomat G. Parthasarathy called him.
Did not Imran admit that he hid bottle tops in his trousers and those of his fielders to scruff up the ball and make it reverse in England? This is a trick he was taught by Sarfraz Nawaz, who became the bagman in this and lost all the positions like adviser that previous governments tried to honour him with. His partner in pace left him far behind after choosing politics as a full-time career and then agreeing to be the Pakistan Army’s dummy in order to satisfy his ambition of becoming the Prime Minister.
India has been described, not without reason, as a land of survivors. And to be a pacifist may have been ingrained in us, certainly more so since the days of Mahatma Gandhi. All the more reason why it was such a surprise to find such a heroic figure emerging from amongst us in Tamil Nadu, probably the greatest Tamil hero since Veerapandia Kattabooman. The heroic pilot Abhinandan Varthaman of the MiG-2 Bison fame who did a David versus Goliath act in downing an F-16 deserves all credit for seeming far larger than life now. But then he hails from a lineage of air warriors and his family might even have expected, nay demanded such valour from him.
This may be a bit of a paradox but it is heartwarming that came the hour and came the man who brought down a jet mightier than his even if it is a pity that the hero emerged only because there was a war-like situation. It is ironical that the PM of the tormentor country should now be hailed a hero for releasing Abhinandan and thus a Nobel Peace Prize is being sought for him by his countrymen.
The world as lost all patience for terror as State policy and its active
support for it as sponsor. If Pakistan stops supporting terror, do give the prize to Imran Khan even if it appears a bit like giving a hawk a bunch of doves as a prize.