India’s sharp and swift laser-guided bomb attacks on terrorist camps run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) deep inside Pakistan on Feb 26 was inevitable, days after the Islamist group carried out the deadliest attack in decades on its Central Armed Police Force in Pulwama killing some 40 personnel.
This follows a similar strike conducted by Indian Air Force (IAF) on launch pads of Pakistan-based terrorists on Sept 28-29, 2016, days after jihadists attacked the Indian army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir killing 19 soldiers.
Tuesday’s pre-emptive strike by a dozen Mirage 2000 fighter jets killed at least 300 JeM terrorists who were planning more attacks on Indian security forces and civilians ahead of general elections in April this year.
The strike avoided military and civilian casualties on the Pakistani side.
In sharp contrast to this, a day later, three fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force crossed the line of control at Naushera to bomb military installations. The plan failed and India rightly called it an unprovoked act of aggression.
On Feb 28, Pakistani fighter jets again entered Indian airspace with an intention to attack but were chased away.
As IAF jets chased the Pakistani fighters across the border on Feb 27, an India pilot identified by media as Abhinandan Vardhaman was captured after his plane was shot down. Pakistani army then thrashed him and indulged in vulgar display of the injured soldier’s video prompting India to demand his safe and immediate return.
India knows Pakistan may use the pilot to force it to the negotiating table days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the time for such talks is over. India will be using all means at its disposal to quickly bring him back. Any delay in his return would escalate the conflict.
The failed mission of Pakistan Air Force on Wednesday after India’s successful surgical strike a day earlier gives a clear message to Islamabad about India’s superior striking capability and a stern warning to not encourage terrorists to stage Pulwama-style attacks in other parts of India.
World nations are standing by India and New Delhi should keep mounting diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Pakistan until it stops serving as a sanctuary for terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying India.
The targeted strikes by IAF fighter jets on terror camps in Balakot have disproved the common belief that India is pusillanimous when it comes to acting tough with its nuclear neighbour. This has unnerved Islamabad and prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to seek talks with India at all levels.
Such talks will serve no purpose unless
Pakistan recognises Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India. Islamabad
should stop using its military, Inter-services Intelligence and terror groups
to bleed India.
Khan must accept that terrorism and talks cannot go together.
The Pakistani prime minister, a puppet in the hands of Pakistan’s military establishment, knows he is dealing with a new India with a strong resolve to surmount challenges linked to its national security and sovereignty.
Khan’s call for talks with India could be to build a narrative that Pakistan stands for peace and exercises restraint even in tense situations. That lie stands exposed after Pakistani fighter jets’ incursion into Indian airspace to target military installations.