“India’s ‘Surgical Strike’ Stratagem: Brinkmanship and Response”

Modi’s win could undermine peace in region warns former defense minister
ISLAMABAD, May 3, 2019: Former Defense Minister Lt Gen (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi fears that possible return of Indian Prime Minister Narendra to power after the ongoing elections in India would complicate the prognosis for peace between the two nuclear armed neighbours (India and Pakistan).
He was speaking at a discussion at Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI) on a book “India’s Surgical Strike Stratagem, Brinksmanship and Response” authored by Prof (Dr) Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, a renowned scholar on global politics, nuclear proliferation and national security, who teaches at Quaid-e-Azam University. Dr Jaspal is also member of IPI’s advisory board.
The book explains the constructs of India’s military doctrines, evolution of the Indian military institution and doctrine, and use of sham ‘surgical strike’ by Modi as a potent political tool. It critically scrutinizes the operability of ‘Surgical Strike Stratagem’ particularly in the context of Pulwama incident and examines the legal status of India’s so called ‘surgical strike’ operation under international law.
“If Modi returns to power the chances of peace would be bleak. There is all reason to believe that he (Modi) along with the likes of Ajit Doval and Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat, especially after the damage to ego and reputation of their armed forces in recent Pulwama stand-off, would continue with their destabilizing attitude and keep stoking tensions,” Gen Lodhi believed.
He feared there could also be escalation in the hybrid war that Pakistan had been facing. Similarly, he said, Indian armed forces could attempt more surgical strikes in an bid to make such actions as the new normal.
Gen Lodhi opined that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s assumption, that Modi’s return to power could increase the odds of a peace breakthrough, was wrong.
Author Dr Jaspal, speaking on this occasion, feared that the anti-Pakistan rhetoric was not just about elections. He worried as to where Modi’s increasingly irrational behavior would lead the two countries to and the region at large.
He said that the most troublesome part of the post-Pulwama military stand-off was that India mobilized its nuclear delivery vehicles and Modi turned up the nuclear rhetoric, but not only Western media and intellectuals remained silent on it, the local media too did not pick up this nuclear dimension of the conflict.
Dr Jaspal said he based his work on neutral literature and his own insight in the issue and presented a fresh perspective, which is not based on rhetoric but legal and international underpinnings.
The author contended that India’s irrational behavior towards Pakistan was for strengthening BJP and Modi’s propaganda that Indian government’s national security approach is ‘without fetters,’ and Modi’s India was capable of taking bold steps against nuclear Pakistan.
Executive Director IPI Prof Sajjad Bokhari said India’s offensive rhetoric and aggressive international posturing poses an unprecedented challenge for Pakistan’s security, and consequently for regional stability.
“While India is employing force in Kashmir, it is also politicising international discourse at multilateral forums to the detriment of Pakistan. A case in point is on-going tensions over FATF issue,” he said and emphasized that qualitative and quantitative modernization of conventional and strategic forces was critical for Pakistan.


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