This morning brought us the biggest newsbreak of decades and the proudest moment for every Indian. After Pakistan’s cowardly strike, India has struck back and true to its growing global reputation, has owned it before the world. Indian Army has gone 3 kms deep into the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir territory, a disputed area that is under the intense cover of bayonets and AK47s of the Pakistani army and terrorists, has carried out many surgical strikes on terror launch-pads with perfect precision, killing dozens of terrorists and some interfering Pakistani soldiers, has inflicted heavy damage, and has come out with flying colours. And with no damage, no casualty.
And India has fully owned it, informing Pakistan and the world community that it has carried out these surgical strikes, even if many of them were still pushing us to go for talks to a backstabbing nation that has always worked to bleed us, including the latest Pakistan sponsored terror strike at the Indian Army base camp in Uri. We lost 19 of our soldiers in an act of cowardice since most of our soldiers were sleeping. Yes, there were lapses, but the Army has avenged it and in style – and with substance.
And ever since the attack, Pakistan and its leaders look shocked. Pakistani military was on high-alert, its F16s were doing sorties for war preparedness. Its leaders, prime minister, army chief, everyone was busy issuing all sorts of threat against India, including nuclear threats. But now they don’t know what to do and what to say. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif said it was an act of ‘naked aggression’ by the Indian Army. Its defence minister Khawaja Asif initially said yes there were such incidents over the night but if India did so again, we would give a strong reply. So they admit the surgical strikes.
And now see the foolishness and chaos inside Pakistan on it. Since its all powerful army has denied (or desperately tried to downplay – to save its face) the surgical strikes, the whole Pakistan is now trying to toe the line away from what its prime minster and defence minister said initially. They say no surgical strike took place and it was a mere Line of Control (LoC) aggression.
Well, the body language of Pakistani politicians and the meek response of its Army show that the realization that India would strike back has come as a rude shock and they are in a state of disarray on how to respond because they realize that Pakistan is no match to India. And with its new bold, foreign policy – with its traditional upper hand – in economy, in military, and in technology – they are finding hard to respond – going for silly bravados like ‘we will defend our country, we will give befitting reply to India in case of future attack or we are in a state of war preparedness’.
Yes, it’s the same India that was here all these years, especially in this Century, but with a bold new face that speaks its mind, based on its requirements, irrespective of what the police-masters of the world say. And it began with India’s diplomatic offensive against Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack.
SUSHMA SWARAJ’S UNGA WARNING
Even if it was not a masterpiece, Sushma Swaraj sure dealt a body-blow to the blabbering of Nawaz Sharif and other Pakistani leaders and officials. While her speech was eagerly awaited after Nawaz Sharif’s pathetic show on September 21 in UNGA where he churned out falsities after falsities about India and Kashmir for 8 minutes during his address of 19 minutes, Sushma’s was a balances, well-drafted reply that again showed the world community why Pakistan should not be trusted.
Sushma’s UNGA speech that won wide praise was well balanced in content, addressing themes of this General Assembly session (sustainable development goals), as well as hitting back at Pakistan for its duplicity and terror streak.
But two things stood apart – that also show how India is going to conduct its diplomacy and how it going to speak its mind in future – something that reflected in the midnight surgical strikes by the Indian Army in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
THE KASHMIR ADMISSION
When Sushma Swaraj said that those who have glass houses should not throw stones on others, she was making an honest statement and was issuing a stern warning.
We all accept that Kashmir is going through a bad phase. Even our prime minister has accepted it and the Indian establishment is sincere to make things normal even if it is all because of Pakistan sponsored terrorism and separatism. We in India know where we erred and we accept it. To India’s credit, Kashmir unrest has seen a raging national debate and everyone has spoken his mind, including the so-called separatists.
When we can do so here, back home, why not across the world? It will, in fact, help India in building a water tight case against Pakistan. Sushma’s speech had this admission during her United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that the situation in Kashmir is bad. Its global admission will put the root-cause of it in the limelight – that is Pakistan sponsored. The admission also conveys a sincere intent to correct any wrong on the Indian part.
At the same time, she also said that Pakistan has many weak points and if India starts speaking for them or if starts supporting the separatist voices like Baloch or Sindhi, Pakistan will find it hard to control.
It was a bold move and fearless expression of a global power.
THE KASHMIR ASSERTION
The other thing that is remarkable about Sushma Swaraj’s speech is that it made it clear before the world that the whole Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan can never take it, even if it wages a war for it.
Now we all know the positions here.
The whole Kashmir, including Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, are integral part of India and Pakistan is in illegal occupation of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. We Indians know it.
Pakistan says India is forcefully occupying the Kashmir Valley while its people want freedom from India.
The issue is still on UN Security Council agenda. Kashmir is seen globally as one of the crisis hotbeds that can become a threat for regional peace.
But the whole world community, barring few, now advocates that it is a bilateral issue and India-Pakistan should resolve it accordingly.
Sushma Swaraj, through her speech, made it very clear that it is now India’s position that is now going to matter – a position that reflected in the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian forces across the LoC to avenge the Uri attack to act on intel to prevent further terror strikes.
A BOLD PERSPECTIVE IN DIPLOMACY
These two points, admission and assertion about Kashmir, along with India’s boycott of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad and today’s surgical strike will prove a milestone in India’s diplomacy. India was not alone and it got support of other countries that saw the SAARC Summit cancelled that was to be hosted by Pakistan – and the consensus was that with Pakistan’s terror record, it was not possible to hold peacetime summits in that country. This well can be the very first visible signs of Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation.
At UNGA, Sushma spoke with authority on Kashmir like a global power speaks and others listen. India is now seen in the front league nations and its policies should be accordingly – including its diplomacy. And Sushma’s bold UNGA speech was the beginning.
And then came this surgical strike that has told the world that India has fully arrived on the world stage now. India never needed permission from any world power to respond to cowardly terror attacks inside its territory. And now it is walking the talk. We needed to go beyond Pakistan. We needed to shed our Pakistan obsession. And with this surgical strike, we just have showed that.
India had started with a non-aligned foreign policy but it could seldom act independently on foreign policy matters. There was always this or that global power pressure and there were only a handful of instances like Indira Gandhi’s decision to send Indian forces to liberate Bangladesh in 1971 or to carry out nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998, when India acted on its own, firmly shutting down those interfering voices.
And like this surgical strike that was beyond anyone’s imagination, in India, in Pakistan and across the world – until it happened this night. Like a front-league global power, India needed to show something now, beyond its economic advances, that could tell the world community this India is not the India of yesteryears – that it was well prepared not only to defend its territory but also to strike back in case of proxy wars or terror attacks – like all the global powers do.
To back India’s might, it has what it needs. Even if dragged by many problems including poverty, illiteracy and disparity, India is undoubtedly now major global power – in economy, in military and in space. And if India is a global power, it should exude confidence and authority and should command respect. Yes, nothing comes for free, especially in the realpolitik of geopolitics that is propelled by selfish motives. And India knows what it has – the largest middle class of the world. India is projected to have the largest middle class in some years. Middle class is the main consumer of marketing forces and therefore is its pivot. So this market will be dear for companies from across the world, including India’s traditional opponent China. No one can ignore it.