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Analysts skeptical of India’s “surgical strikes” claim
May 26, 2017
Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, the Director General of Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Analysts skeptical of India’s “surgical strikes” claim

On 28/29 September, the Government of India announced that the Indian Army had engaged in a series of surgical strikes on Pakistan’s side of the disputed region of Kashmir.

According to an official press statement given by the Indian Army Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen Ranbir Singh, the Indian Army had “conducted surgical strikes” against a series of “launch pads along the Line of Control” (Hindustan Times).

The Pakistan Army had dismissed India’s assertions and had termed the attacks as nothing more than a by-product of a cross-border shelling exchange (Inter Services Public Relations or ISPR). In fact, the Pakistan Army recently invited foreign reporters and journalists to tour the general area (BBC), where it again reiterated its intent to respond to an Indian incursion with “a very comprehensive response.”

In recent days, analysts and journalist have been voicing skepticism of India’s claims. IHS Jane’s remarked:

All public information about the operation, described as “surgical strikes”, remains unverified and is from a short press statement by the Indian director general of military operations, and reporting in The Hindu and The Times of India newspapers.

Large news publications, such as the Washington Post, had difficulty corroborating India’s account with Kashmiris on the ground:

In several dozen interviews, residents of the Bhimber, Chamb and Sahmani districts adjoining the Line of Control said they had been jarred from sleep by the barrage of firepower Wednesday. But none said they had seen or heard anything that supported India’s claim that it carried out cross-border strikes on several staging areas for militant groups …

The main challenge for India, at least in terms of garnering open recognition of its claims, is the lack of third-party verification from independent sources and other states. In the absence of such support, New Delhi’s claims have been relegated to the status of perception-building and to placate the country’s public opinion (in favour of stern action against Pakistan).

Pakistan, on the other hand, is also unlikely to do much beyond similar public opinion efforts, and that too from the perspective of reacting to an Indian incursion. Pre-emptive incursions are out of the question, Lt. Gen Asim Bajwa, the Director General of the ISPR, told reporters (including the BBC) that Pakistan has no intention to engage in pre-emptive strikes or instigate active hostilities. Interestingly, Lt. Gen Bajwa also raised the risk of moving soldiers deployed for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to the Kashmir Front.

The U.S. – which is a principal ally of both Islamabad and New Delhi – has a strong incentive to ensure that even the risk of a conflict is mitigated, much less let one ensue in earnest. To Washington, Pakistan’s support over Afghanistan (via its COIN campaign in FATA) is essential, and India’s increased presence in the Asia-Pacific (to help offset China) is of primary importance. In light of New Delhi’s foreign relations muscle to ‘alienate’ Pakistan, the reality of U.S. interests is an important factor. Afghanistan and the COIN campaign in FATA will predispose the U.S. to maintain defence and security ties with Pakistan. However, this is not to say that Pakistan will benefit from big-ticket arms transfers from the U.S.

  • GhalibKabir

    As someone from across the border, this latest ‘escalation’ is not at all a surprise.
    More than anything it is just another move in the chessboard of Indo-Pak games.
    In fact it showcases a remarkably consistent albeit slow shift from ‘defense’ to ‘defensive-offense’ by India to counter what has been seen as an ‘offensive’/ ‘offensive-defense’ posture of the Pak Military establishment. To anyone who sifts data/information carefully, this has been afoot since 1999 (atleast post-Kargil).

    Cross-border strikes: they are not new either. Two way cross border strikes happened during Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh as well. Manmohan Singh in fact expanded the ‘subconventional warfare’ aspect and set in motion the use of Balochistan as a counter space from December 2008 onwards post Mumbai. Only thing MMS had been quiet while the new Government has made a plethora of calculations (from political mileage/poll promise delivery to taking advantage of the ‘friendly’ geopolitical environment globally) to make an open claim. (plus there is genuine anger that Mumbai and past well documented attacks were so cavalierly pursued in Pak.)

    Let us see why we might need to take the Govt. of India announcement with the gravity it deserves (Forget the Arnab Goswamis and assorted village idiots),

    the Indian establishment view has been consistent on the following,

    1. NTRO Cartosat-2C was used to get map of camps and troops were dropped by helicopter near or on the LoC. –> helicopters did not cross Ind. airspace

    2. They went in upto 3 km and hit the camps and then

    3. Early morning on 29/9/2016, the DGMO Pak was called to be informed

    Now, the Army and Home Minister are on record that the attacks were recorded and that other than the P-5 at-least 20-odd key nations were updated and proof shown. Now, even the most die-hard skeptic has to give serious credence to a major nation making such a claim. The cost of lying on this scale would be in-calculable and loss of power for BJP will be the least of all negative consequences if India is found to have bluffed.

    GHQ may not be inclined to help India out otherwise, but as has been shown by Asim Bajwa and Raheel Sharif, they have chosen to play this reasonably coolly and not initiate the escalation ladder (may be a few weeks a later they may do something or may not –> we come to that point soon)

    This shows that GHQ Pindi has also gamed scenarios thoroughly and has realized some sort of ‘sub-conventional’ escalation by India was inevitable at one stage.

    The India-Pak chess-game spans the

    1. Nuclear chessboard or N -> Currently in Stalemate
    2. Conventional Chessboard or C -> Indian Advantage perceived as ‘Hamstrung’ by the Nuclear Overhang
    3. Sub-conventional Chessboard or S -> India trying to counter Pakistani ‘low-cost’ terror ops free-pass through ‘expanding engagement space’ without disturbing boards 1 and 2.

    The Indian security establishment seems to have judged that expanding its space in number 3 board will not ‘ignite’ any sort of N/C threshold and as of today, the response of GHQ Pindi seems to acknowledge this reality.

    PS on IWT: Folks in Pak, again read between the lines, Modi Govt may be ‘aggressive/ill-willed’ towards you, but it is not Stupid. The RoW dams on the Jhelum/Chenab will follow the IWT language closely… see the recent cases in jurisdiction (even under Modi) to see the actual ground behavior. India might play around the language/interpretation grey area… may be….behind all the cacophony, the BJP is also largely going by the Indian playbook of caution of the past…

    However, the sub-conventional arena may heat up… thankfully, as of now escalation does not seem to be on the cards…however this sort of N/C/S clash scenario is un-charted waters for any nation and so we will live in ‘interesting times’ for the foreseeable future.

    • Honestly, Washington is not going to tolerate an open confrontation. Both India and Pakistan have specific functions in the wider scheme of U.S. foreign security interests in the Pacific and Afghanistan, respectively. An open conflict will put those functions into risk, and in turn, render present leaderships in Islamabad and New Delhi as generally untrustworthy or unreliable. The PML and BJP both depend on various forms of U.S. support to build legitimacy and trust at home, and to be on the ‘bad books’ is not something either one will readily cede (given the domestic competition). In Pakistan’s case specifically, seeing COIN forces pulled out and/or operations slowed down due to reprioritized funding, there is a direct security risk vis-a-vis- Afghanistan and the border.

      • GhalibKabir

        Thanks Bilal. The US aspect is important and cannot be ignored/is a factor, but then, I personally think US coercive capabilities are over rated. Short of attacking Pak and/or putting in North Korea style sanctions, frankly the US has ever declining leverage esp. post-2011. With India, given our ‘trust’ history with the US, Uncle Sam knows that its stick has to be used to very sparingly if at all. While what you say is valid, it goes both ways and gives Ind-Pak also a certain degree of mutual leverage with the US.

        The maddening thing for me is both the business oriented PMs Nawaz and Modi being hostage to the usual gamut of ‘actors’ screwing peace. Ex: Whoever thought allowing Hafiz Saeed to lead Friday prayers/ Masood Azhar to roam free is their idea of thumbing their nose at India has no idea how the ordinary common man has paid for the ‘deep-state’ misadventures or how Pakistan has had its name badly tarnished owing to Z.Bhutto/Zia’s toxic legacy. (Not that my country has lacked/lacks in posturing pillocks…but Z.Bhutto/Zia legacy has rendered large segments of two generations worth young Pakistanis functionally illiterate and is in the process of ruining a third limiting policy room for civilians in Pak indirectly in the long run)

        I would rather have Ind-Pak get done with implementing the Musharraf-MMS formula in Kashmir and start talking about stuff like building Indian locomotives at Risalpur and harnessing Pak labour capabilities in textile etc and jointly building electricity grids and getting dudes like Hoodbhoy teaching at Indian universities pronto. Chaps like Hoodbhoy can, given the resources do wonders to STEM education in the subcontinent…a pity things have come to this pass.

        PS: we need to think way ahead of the IWT. The in-progress climate change will not discriminate between Indian/Pakistani. By 2050, there will be 2 billion Indians-Bangladeshi-Pakistanis. We need a subcontinent wide system of rain-harvesting, drip irrigation initiative, afforestation, interlinked-dams (flood waters of Brahmaputra for drinking needs of Jodhpur and Karachi for instance) to store more water if we are to have any hope of survival. Water shortage will wreck more damage than a nuke ever could. Of this we can be assured.

    • Headstrong

      Another intriguing factor is the Indian refusal (thus far) to release any footage of the strikes. Yes, they’ve been shown to the 22 odd countries whose diplomats had been briefed. In fact, the US was probably aware of Indian intentions as is evident by the fact that Susan Rice called up Doval barely 90 min after the Indian SF were back across the LoC and said what she did.
      I believe India’s not publicising the footage for 2 possible reasons –
      1. Allowing the Pakistani establishment some semblance of deniability. This is win-win – India knows that Pakistan knows that the rest of the world knows. Pakistan can keep denying the strikes and save face in front of the Pakistani public. Ergo, no escalation
      2. The footage is so conclusive (maybe including Pakistan forces cleaning up the areas, dragging away bodies etc) that India intends to use it after Pakistan has burnt its bridges and there’s no going back in the public glare.
      Either way you look at it, there’s tremendous potential for using the footage as leverage.

      OTOH, it could be a massive fraud by India – a massive bluff. But highly unlikely, as you’ve pointed out. Not least because nobody in India can keep their traps shut about such a massive con. Word would inevitably leak out.

    • Mohsin E.

      The Indian military’s claims are ridiculous, and the fact that they are so ridiculous is not proof that the claim is true. I have no reason to believe that the Indian establishment would not make all this up, especially since we have examples of governments telling retarded lies all the time and getting away with it (case in point: the whole Iraq war!) The indian media is much more useless than even the americans, so it’s actually a safe bet their lies would go completely unchecked. Until I see proof of the damage they allegedly did, or the locals confirm any such operation took place, or the Indian government presents some actual proof which can be objectively analyzed, I ain’t buying this, and it doesn’t look like anyone else is either.

      I also reject the claim that the Modi government is not stupid. It is extremely stupid. All of this most likely is just to distract from its empty promises on the economy, probably because of the upcoming UP election…. what a stupid move strategically because it just set insane expectations of response to terrorist actions that it can never actually meet. What happens when the people of india start expecting things that their government just can’t deliver? What happens if some future government is stupid enough to actually attempt such ‘surgical strikes’ and get their troops killed or captured en-masse? They’re just setting themselves up for a future failure… Way to go Modi, you moron.

      • Abdul Rashid

        I happened to be in my local library two days after the event. On the way out my glance caught an Indian English newspaper’s front page covering the “surgical strikes”. Something along the line – 150 special forces troops, split into 5 groups of 30 crossed the LoC at 5 different points, killed around 35 to 40 terrorists, destroyed their “launch-pads” (what the heck is a “terrorist launch-pad” anyway? I conjure up an image of gymnasium springboard where gymnasts do a run-up and jumps on it to launch themselves forward) and then all returned safely back into Indian administered Kashmir. The entire operation took around 6 hours. I also happen to be an ethnic Kashmiri/Punjabi and have many Kashmiri friends and relatives from AJK. Despite all the queries we have made and the people we have talked to since the alleged strikes took place, not a single person has told us they have seen ANY evidence of a “surgical strike” – NOTHING, ZILCH, NADA, ZERO, ZIPPO! Life continues as normal. No panic. No concern. Pakistan government, media and military can be accused of a massive cover-up but I do not for a minute believe the entire population of AJK has been bullied into silence!

        • GhalibKabir

          Abdul, Mohsin, Good Morning. off the bat, let me sadly say I am disappointed that you are not seeing ‘subconventional warfare’ for what it is and not separating brain dead statements of my country’s media from the stance taken by the parties who matter. I want to even express my sadness to say that some of the language used by you both is intemperate compared to what I have read of both you gentlemen on this forum till now. That usual objectivity/use of logic, is not so visible today.

          Let us start under the premise what you both have claimed is reasonable. The truth my friends most likely lies in between.

          1. India Lying: Lies, Fabrication world governments do all the time. But not like this. India is not Iraq, India is not even 1975 emergency India or 1971/1965 Pakistan. Too many countervailing forces exist (we will address the economy in a separate post. your claim is too broad)

          Reasons for 1 follow
          A. India is a garrulous country that leaks like a sieve. If as Mohsin claims the Modi Govt. has been really this stupid, it will get justfiedly dismissed along with all the Indian Army top brass for crass stupidity and endangering India’s international reputation/credibility. Stupidity alone should get them a long prison sentence then.
          B. Plus there are ex-Hindutva politicians like Sanjay Nirupam, that idiot of a Delhi CM Khujliwal and assorted riff-raff who will not spare any opportunity like they did yesterday to smear Modi/discredit him. All of them face their own domestic calculus and care too hoots about anything else. (The Communists and the Asaduddin Owasis are on board and they hate BJP more than anything else. gives a clue)

          Mohsin, also think through the implication of what you and Abdul have claimed: So the P-5 incl. the Chinese and 23 other nations (a few arab nations incl.) have decided to keep quiet and not call India out on this a matter of physically violating a ceasefire line? really? Ok, lets assume GHQ Pindi, Sharif & Co, Pak Media, US, Russia, France, UK, Saudi all got silenced by India (not even remotely possible, but let me take a conservative stance), so even the Chinese, Turks are choosing to keep silent is it? It is a stretch you would agree.

          One of the following is likely to be true

          A. India trumped up the incursion and is bluffing about proof

          Possibility: Unlikely. Reasons A&B are deadly enough for Modi/BJP to go into permanent political exile. however we can neither verify nor call India out unless footage gets released. even if footage is never released there is no way to verify unless Pak Army outs India in a bigger way owing to say a diplomatic set back or geo-political move.

          B. There were indeed a number of people killed in a genuine strike , GHQ does not want escalations for good reasons only Pindi knows.

          Possibility: Highly unlikely, the Pak Army will lose its credibility like this.plus why the hell will they lose an opportunity like this pass without revenge strikes (they are certainly not new to them)

          C. it was mostly cross-border fire followed by a small incursion killing a few jihadis with the bodies being taken back by India with soldiers of Pak Army being announced as martyrs officially and Pak made the usual protests/handed dossier to the US/killed a jawan in retaliation next day and arrested a RR 37 jawan.

          Possibility: Likely what occurred. The briefings to the P-5 and 23 other nations indicate something more than a firing happened (may be DGMO Pak, NSA Janjua and 28 other nations got a proper briefing from India)

          Your want of proof may be logical but given the signs on the ground Pak Army, Govt, Indian Govt are talking through NSAs, DGMOs etc means the chances that some sort of ‘amble across the border’ similar to 2001, 2003, 2008-9, 2011, 2014 was ‘tolerated’ by GHQ Pindi,

          we can only conjecture that India might not want to
          A. release the proof to avoid needless escalation or
          B. grasp the understanding shown by GHQ Pindi to avoid the ‘proof’ if the strike was limited to artillery only/was much lesser in scale than has been claimed to avoid loss of face

          looks like a blend of A and B likely occurred. the irony is Pindi seems to be helping Delhi brush things over while 2-paisa politicians in India are yapping like new born pups.

          Either way, Pak gets to keep the chance to keep up the Kashmir ‘heat’ while India gets away with ‘having taken action’ without crossing the C/N threshold. this outcome is akin to a maximizing a joint utility function ensuring tactically both got what they wanted. That is why I keep claiming,we gotta doff our hats to both GHQs apparent growing mastery in ‘subconventional warfare’–> plausible deniability for both

          2. People not hearing anything: You are surely conversant with special troops gear, silenced guns and assorted ‘quiet’ devices are common else the village that was attacked near Muzaffarabad in the 2001-2 would have woken up surely? or so would have the now dead 5 Indian soldiers near a village in Baramulla in the 2000s when Pak special troops got them. So if a small force of a few men indeed crossed over to a forested area having a few jihadis, even the jihadi AKs firing possibly would gotten blended with larger barrage and small arms fire. Obviously except sleep breaking, why will people panic if they don’t know there was an incursion a kilometer away? the entire of Pak. Kashmir obviously needn’t be bullied into anything nor was that the apparent motive in the first place

          3. “Launch Pads”:
          Background: I have visited Uri, Baramulla and near LoC terrain many times. The forests there have hid Hizbul Mujahideen jihadis and Harkut ul Ansar, JeM and LeT many a times and in many places a nullah is all there between India and Pak kashmirs. The much vaunted Indian wire fence is many times 3-4 kms inside Indian territory.

          So What? the reason I gave such an explanation is that there have been mobile camps from where assorted jihadis have crossed over back and forth (ISI backed, non-ISI backed, fully local …the lot) LoC as they are the local people who know the terrain like the back of their palm. The radio intercepts, actual captures have been so numerous, it will be useless to dispute this. There have been so called gathering spots atleast in the past where terrorists used to gather before artillery fire cover was given for them to intrude into India. So these ‘launch pads’ are just groups of men infiltrating into Indian side. Now surely if a 60-cm resolution satellite/drones took pictures they could see people gathering, could they not? so theoretically it is quite possible to reverse ‘sneak’ on a group, as has happened many times over mutually.

          PS: Mohsin, no Government is deliberately stupid. Even Zia, when he used terror proxies made a logical cold choice and so does Modi and so does Raheel/Nawaz Sharif.

          Barring the jingoistic, brain dead media celebrations and jubilation overdrive, the folks who matter in India are either back to spewing time tested ‘jaded’ rhetoric or keeping their traps tightly shut.

          • Mohsin E.

            Dude, you’re not understanding the problem with the claim. When I said “the fact that they are so ridiculous is not proof that the claim is true” I meant that you’re argument is based on circular logic: “My government said X, therefore X is true.” This is a logical fallacy. All I did was ask for proof and evidence, which you can’t provide. So why should we believe you? I mean, just to say that the possibility of a lie is too far-fetched just doesn’t work for something like this man. If the situation was reversed, I wouldn’t believe the Pakistani government either if they made an outlandish claim like this and didn’t present any evidence. Everything you said was too harsh, I would’ve been saying about the Pakistani government. This isn’t bias, I’m just telling you the whole episode was stupid and strategically idiotic, regardless of who did it. You have no idea how harshly I have judged the Pakistani government for Kargil (which at least was a real operation) so don’t start with me on being ‘jingoistic.’

          • GhalibKabir

            Fair enough. I get what you say. May be I should explained the claim aint circular at all as all along barring the irritating gloating the establishment was consistent they had footage. I have explained earlier as to why pindi and Delhi might have kept things quiet. Anyway, For what it is worth, the army has asked/authorized the govt to release the drone footage and assorted videos. So, I would beg to differ on the circular logic bit. Stupid? In a rational setting, may be it is something we might agree on… But there is genuine anger here that has built up over years about the perceived ‘low cost jihadi option’ being cost free for it’s perpetrators and after the way lakvi and co were mollycoddled, there have been calls here for imposing costs via the “sub conventional route”. That brings me back to this theory of pindi and delhi tacitly keeping things muddled to give India way to wriggle out of the “political promise to be tough corner.” It might sound strange because it is and indeed stranger bed fellows would be tougher to find.

            In a ideal world this will be stupid as you say because since 1989 we are running in circles, Pakistani deep state cannot/will not get off the jihadi tiger and India drags its feet on closing the issue by offering decent devolved powers to indian Kashmir resulting in each of us providing mutual excuses to one another … Tu tu main main in loop.

            PS: to clarify, I was calling my nations media as jingoistic. Not that Pak lacks In jingoists but my reference was to my country.

          • Mohsin E.

            No dude, your argument is circular because you’re ASSUMING that footage exists just because they’ve told you it exists, that’s your circular fallacy. This might’ve been mildly acceptable if you just kept your views in the privacy of your own mind…. But you’re here, arguing on the internet about how these claims are true, but have ZERO evidence to present for your case… what did you expect was going to happen? lolz

          • Smoking a Tejas

            I beg to differ, A & B mean nothing where actual information is being distilled and managed through a single source, the Army. And as far as track record is concerned, let’s look at some recent incidents. Pathankot and then Uri as examples of incidents where an Army on alert and strong security footing was caught with its pants down not once but twice. The shrill cries of you can’t ask difficult questions and lack of a full public disclosure of the commissioned report can be considered an indication that Hindutva rhetoric and the danger of losing face (and questionable military competency) is too much for the 56 inch chest of Modi Sarkar, not to mention Indian national pride.

            The problem with your james Bond analysis is that Spec Ops while highly competent are not superheroes. They are most effective when you have the element of surprise and the one thing India doesn’t have in Kashmir is surprise. Just look at history and please don’t tell me Indians have better tech and training, they don’t.

            The scope of the operations is more than questionable. Maybe, action against one or two launch points with a tight turn around time may have had some traction. Instead, we have an SRK/Hrithik action romp with a 100 dancing girls and a running time of 4 hours with no fire works to speak off. Satellites look in a single dimension and have limited coverage time unless you can move multiple assets so it doesn’t help that much in a fluid operation where mobility is key for all parties and a preliminary recce is impossible. I can go on….

            Nope, a Government can actually be very stupid when it backs itself into a corner by promising punishment it cannot mete out. Something caused by congestion in a 56 inch chest I reckon. Modi hasn’t left himself any room to manoeuvre when he criticised the Congress for lack of action and then found himself in the same situation. Considering the lack of questions, howls of retribution against questioning voices and the desperate need for affirmation speaks volumes of just how much India desperately needs to believe something….anything.

          • GhalibKabir

            I would normally refrain from replying back to posts that show a distinct lack of courtesy. However, you do raise some valid points such as the poll rhetoric of the BJP did leave them with little room to maneuver.

            But then instead of resorting to proper counters, discourteous language over a number of needless points and display of rank disrespect for my prime minister all but renders your critique of little value. Unless you have seen what recent changes or upgrades have happened in the Indian special ops,you are probably not in a position to make definitive statements neither am I. and equally if I say disrespectful things about Nawaz Sharif/Others then I should rightly be criticized for it.

            My analysis of the claimed special force ops in the light of the N/C/S scenario is anything but James Bondish and I have clarified it is a conjecture that I think most logically explains what has been going in the big picture context. If I am wrong then i will own up to it in due course. At this juncture based on my arguments I think my conjecture explains what is going till I see evidence to the contrary.

            have a good day.
            PS: kindly don’t take it as a lecture friend. Nafrat ka koi kami nahi hai subcontinent mein. If educated people like us cannot hold a reasonable conversation phir aman ka aasha karke kya fayda? 🙁

          • Smoking a Tejas

            I don’t think it’s discourteous considering the chest measurement reference come from the indian media that used to bring it up as a point of national pride. So the contextualization maybe considered extreme but that’s what an opinion is for.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Ghalib, Good Evening. The “intemperate language” is more or less the same I often use regardless of the issue at hand. If you were to detach the Ind-Pak context here then you will see the language used is quite moderate. Many of the regulars on Quwa are equally critical of what geos on in Pakistan. Our good friend Mohsin in particular does not have any sacred cows and does not shy away from calling a spade a spade.

            The press release by the Indian DGMO Ranbir Singh was painfully brief. Not at all surprising much of the Indian media decided to “fill in the blanks”. Something of this gravity, a “surgical strike” by the Indian military across the LoC warrants better than that. A government is accountable to the people and many Indians are right to be questioning the integrity of the claim. They should not be witch-hunted by the Indian media and told to “go to Pakistan”.

            Special forces are highly trained and well-equipped, sure but we are not talking a rapid, efficient cross-border operation here. We’re talking a 4 to 6 hour operation in a hostile and densely militarized region. An operation that, if Ranbir Singh is to believed, resulted in “significant casualties” to the terrorists and “those who are supporting them”. The Pak military was not alerted in all that time, the locals not disturbed, no witnesses and where are all the “significant casualties”? Taken back across the LoC by the Indian forces on foot, quietly or air-lifted without disturbing the locals? I am questioning it because it simply does not ring true. I incline more towards Asim Bajwa’s version of events not because I have Pakistani sympathies but because his account is BELIEVABLE. He is frank and open, talks to media, answers questions, allows journalist to visit the LoC area and invites them to talk to the locals. We would like to see some of that on the Indian side too. If Pakistan was to make a similar claim in an equally brief, vague press conference you would find me rubbishing the claim as loudly unless and until the claim was backed up by proof.

            PS. Are you using the same email address log-in for Disqus and the same IP address? Your last comment was waiting on the “to be moderated” list when it should have been automatically posted.

          • GhalibKabir

            IP address was different (iPad). Thanks Abdul and yes Mohsin does not pull his punches does he. He deserves congrats and to be listened to with respect.

            It is exchanges like this that make for some real learning and in the process showcase the meaningless nature of the hostility. I for one would love to have a nice conversation with you both over a cup of coffee. If you guys ever are in Singapore/Delhi, PM me on my email. I would be happy to host you both for a home cooked lunch.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Thanks for coffee/meal offer, Ghalib. I will bear it in mind. However, I have not ventured that far East since 2005.

        • Salman Khan

          The word launchpad lmao. I was really scratching my head at this weird name.

          • Abdul Rashid

            Launch-point or launch-site would sound more accurate to me . I thought it was only me but “Launchpad” I only identify with a rocket launch point or maybe an alternative name for a gymnasium springboard.

  • SP

    I will limit the scope if my comments here as the canvas is too broad. As we know Indian military has a doctrine called “cold start”.

    This is a limited war doctrine that requires quick mobilisation and action to achieve limited objectives before the opponent has a chance to react. The action can be taken at any time at short notice and seems to be inspired by Israeli tactics.

    The way to counter such doctrine is through massive retaliation which Pakistan has worked on by developing tactical nuclear weapons, but this is only suitable for a large force. With a limited force should there be an incursion only effective way to respond is by striking at the military camps and bases of the enemy. Should an incursion take place and if Pakistan fails to respond then it will further encourage India and give it a licence to attack Pakistan at any time without any risk of retaliation.

    India is focused on improving its economy and with a fear if nuclear war or bombardment of Mumbai by Pakistani missiles all foreign investors would run a mile and Indias and Americas dream of challenging China will come to nothing. India feels that it is making progress whilst Pakistanis being bled dry with Fata and Baluchistan insurgencies so its not in a rush to start a war, considering the larger scheme of things. It is just sabre rattling in order to keep its public and backers like Israel and the US happy with their investment.

    • GhalibKabir

      A number of issues here. As an Indian, let me give me my perspective

      1.Cold Start: India is some distance away from operationalizing this contrary to what many discuss in the media. Progress is there, but the capability is not there yet, at least not yet for simultaneous shallow thrusts. Also the Indian Prahaar missile is currently too small for miniature nuke warheads to go on it. (anyway tactical nukes ain’t a priority here).

      2. Tactical N use by Pak: I find this logic unconvincing. Nasr may be a reality. While discussing online is ok, consider a realistic scenario. Tomorrow Hafeez Saeed does some big mischief in India and India decides to ‘Cold Start’ between Kasur-Lahore. Where pray will Pakistan use its tactical nuke? Remember that contrary to what many bathtub admirals and arm chair generals claim, even a 15,000 troop strong incursion will need a 10-15 kt or above warhead to inflict 50% losses. Now, sit back and think, will Pakistan really ruin its prime agri lands for decades? (set aside for a minute that downwind will screw Indian Punjab too, which will invite a separate escalation response)

      Ok, lets make it easier, let us take that Pak Army scenario of India being stupid enough to enter near Rahimyar Khan to bisect Pak North-South. Pakistan uses a 10-20 kt warhead in the desert. Even that will cause enough radiation laden sand to disperse into South Punjab and North Sindh besides Rajasthan inviting a escalation response. I am not even starting with how the international community will react to such a use. 1999 was an example of Pak Army missing the N-Angle.

      So, with nukes there is nothing called tactical use, any use is strategic and will entail terrible consequences. That is the reason both India and China officially have no first use rule. Frankly besides absolute last line deterrence value (unlikely, as no one wants Pak to disintegrate, least of all us in India, the headache will be unbearable), tactical nukes are expensive pacifiers that’s all.

      3. Other Costs: Also, it might be worth calmly pondering over this sobering fact, the nuclear umbrella might have or near certainly has allowed the ‘deep state’ in Pakistan to use a phalanx of good/bad/ugly non-state actor/jihadi/Taliban etc. giving it a ‘perverse’ incentive to not change a ‘cheap’ warfare option (cheap financially/tactically, but very expensive economically/strategically). I see many Pakistanis argue with some justification ‘par Hindustan ne bhi ye kiya..woh kiya’, but simple research tells you there is no symmetry in the use of ‘non-state actors’. Given all this, India ko Pak ke khilaf bada sajish karne ka zaroorat hi nahi hai. As Zafar Hilaly said on Geo TV the other day ‘Delhi se woh log dekh rahe hain, aap khud tabah ho rahe hain, woh kyun aur kuch karne ka sochenge?’ The deep state has managed to mangle Jinnah’s Pakistan by itself perfectly well. at best, India’s role is supplementary to all this

      Hence, Every time a Khwaja Asif/Falana Aadmi imprudently bandies the nuclear word, it simply reinforces the image of the Pakistani establishment being irresponsible. Forget India, forget anybody else, this nuclear bandying has extracted costs on the Pak civilian establishment and common man. I have seen the kind of questioning/looks green passport holders undergo/get in many airports myself. Nothing wrong with them, just perfectly decent people paying the price of the shenanigans of ‘deep state’ ‘Ghairat brigades’. sad, but true.

      • SP

        You cannot rationalise nuclear weapons use, their value is in deterrence as it ensures completition destruction where winning becomes the meaningless and there is no distinction between win or loss.

        Its like a man aiming to punch a lityle boy, but the boy has a gun in his hand so the man pleads if he fires the gun then he will also shoot which is no consolation to him.

        I think sending 10 conventional missiles onto Mumbai can also be a great deterrent.

        War must not remain limited to Pakistani Kashmir or Punjab but has to reach the heart of India.

        • SP

          Complete destruction where winning becomes meaningless, and where winning is indistinguishable from losing.

        • GhalibKabir

          your analogy seems reasonable first cut, but real life scenarios involve way more grey areas and hence your analogy is not quite valid I am afraid. No, I am not rationalizing N use, I am simply using common Pakistani analyst arguments to turn the logic around and show the futility of the threat to use tactical nukes by Khwaja Asif and a few analysts.

          Then, as per your own argument, the escalation ladder for pak army has only one step. as soon as Indian army columns cross the border, irrespective of the background, Mumbai and Delhi will be targeted. Then all those folks have simply wasted their time making an escalation matrix ins’t it? real life need not go as per matrices, but to target civilian centers so quickly would mean India has the same incentive right? why bother shallow thrusting then? luckily for us, GHQ Pindi and GHQ New Delhi are way more sophisticated than they get credit for sometimes. Ind-Pak are playing a N/C/S game that has no parallels. We are officially in uncharted territory.

          As I mentioned earlier, Raheel Sharif is keeping quiet because he has gamed scenarios very well as India and understands ‘subconventional warfare’ space will see some back and forth.

          • SP

            The only real permanent solution is to resolve all issues peacefully and to not have war. In the absence of the above the second best option is to have conventional military parity therefore the nuclear threshold is much higher and there is time for sanity to prevail.

            India is fearful of retaliation therefore the statement from the Indian that they had no plans for any further “surgical strikes”. Pakistan Army also wants to play down the issue and does not want to retaliate which it must do if there was a real incursion. War is not a joke and only the foolish will want it for their short term ego boost.

          • GhalibKabir

            this permanent solution is visible,..we have been playing this tu tu main main since 1947. the solution is the Mushy-MMS formula from 2005-6…thats all…

            PS: Pakistan does not ‘fear’ India and so does India not fear Pak. But sensible choices entail avoidance of escalation in subconventional warfare that both our GHQs seem to understand and are not crowing about each others discomfiture. plausible deniability for all and status quo stays put..

      • jamshed_kharian_pak

        Cold Start has been thrown into the Very Deep Cold Caves

        • MT

          nope.
          it hs been fine tuned and tested into proactive doctorine.
          india ll nver be able to test it 100%until 2025 once it upa conventional parity from 2:1 to 4:1

          india is building military industry and it ll leave pak many decades behind n next 10yr

  • Abdul Rashid

    “In several dozen interviews, residents of the Bhimber, Chamb and Sahmani districts adjoining the Line of Control said they had been jarred from sleep by the barrage of firepower Wednesday. But none said they had seen or heard anything that supported India’s claim that it carried out cross-border strikes on several staging areas for militant groups”.

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to a friend who hails from Kashmir and has close relatives in the Bhimber region not far from LoC. Naturally he was concerned at the news and had been in contact with his relatives following the reports. His account from his relatives confirms the above – use of firepower and disturbance, yes. Evidence of actual cross-border “surgical strike”, non whatsoever.

  • Khalid Riaz

    As expected, the post on the going-ons at the LoC has generated a lots of debate.

    Bilal has argued that the claimed strikes remain unverified. He ellaborated that none of the major international media sources could independently confirm the Indian claims. Most importantly, he has suggested that Indian government’s claims are aimed at perception-building, and placating its domestic constituency. He also ruled out further escalation due to US govt’s markedly different but nevertheless strategic interests alignment with both countries.

    Many have responded to this line of thinking by avoiding direct counter arguments on verifiability of proof. They have instead opted to broaden the scope of discussion to include: (a) what they believe to be the Indian “post Bombay” strategy of attempting to fuel separatism in Balochistan, and (b) pointing to the dire consequences that Pakistan would likely face in future because the Indian govt has threaten to scrap the Indus water treaty (IWT), and to withdraw the MFN status given to Pakistan.

    None of these arguments are of course proof that the so called strikes actually took place.

    More to the point, the idea of a post Bombay strategy aimed at dismembering Pakistan, and the future of IWT are based on some unstated assumptions.

    The first assumption is that India’s strategy of destabilzing Pakistan is really “post Bombay”. Nothing could be further from truth. Pakistan govt had accused Indian govt of having a hand in terror acts on the former’s soil and against its citizens, much before bombay ( fingure pointing at Indian consulates in Afghanistan, Samjhota express issue). The Indian govt made similar accusations. Bombay tragedy was followed immediately by 5 bomb blasts in Karachi, and a massive bomb blast in Kissa Khawani Bazar in Peshawar that killed more than 30 people. So the accusations and counter accusation game, punctuated by deadly attacks, was on much before Bombay.

    To think that there actually is a “post Bombay” strategy is to insist that history started yesterday. This is all a part of perception-building.

    The second set of assumptions deals with the response PM Modi’s govt has articulated following the Uri events i.e. withdrawal of MFN and discarding the Indus Waters Treaty.

    The MFN withdrawn would be more a symbolic act. Pakistan has not reciprocated to what I feel has been a good gesture by India. But the assumption that MFN withdrawal would hurt Pakistan by depriving it of Indian market is false. Since govt of Pakistan has not had the good sense to reciprocate, India placed non-tariff barriers on Pakistani imports. Thus very little trade actually takes place despite huge potential. The assumption that stopage of of that little trade would hurt Pakistan is not realistic.

    The threats regarding scrapping IWT assume that India has the uncontested option of unilateral action here.

    Let me explain. At one stage during the IWT negotiations it was proposed that Indus basin should be jointly managed, and that both countries should share all 5 rivers. This option was rejected by Pakistan. Consequently, Pakistan was given exclusive rights for consumptive use over the three western rivers, while India was given similar rights over Ravi, Satluj and Bias.

    Being the upper riparian on all rivers, India was allowed limited reservoir capacity for flood control and power generation, but no diversions of water for consumptive uses. The water for consumptive use from western rivers represents a natural that belongs exclusively to Pakistan.

    What is there to prevent India or any other country from taking away a natural resource that belongs to another country? It is certainly not the clauses of the treaty!

    What is there for example to prevent India from making a deep armoured penetration into Sindh and taking over areas of Thar coal deposits on which much of CPEC energy depends? I am sure everyone would agree, the line on the map that we call the international “border” is not going to stop the Indian tanks. Then what will? I think both sides know what it is.

    So IWT is just like that line on the map. Scrapping the piece of paper that we call IWT is just about as easy as crossing that line on the map we call border. Just as Pakistan is willing and able to protect its border (read, land resource), it is willing and able to protect its water resource. This is the context in which Sartaj Aziz said that scrapping IWT (and implied diversion of water) will be considered an act of war.

    There are other courses of action that fall short of scrapping the IWT. For example, India could build treaty compliant storages for power generation on western rivers. Whenever Pakistan’s tail-twisting would be required, it would fill up those dams. This would result in a significant reduction in river flow in Rabi season because only 20% of annual flow is realized in Rabi. Such a move could impinge upon food security as the main staple crop wheat is planted in that season.

    There is a flip side to this however. Electricity is produced only when water is flowing. India can only threaten rabi wheat crop if it is willing to compromise its own energy security and opt to forego its cheapest power generation option. The more dams it would build up serially on a single river, the higher would be this cost.

    And this is not all. Pakistan would eventually develop countervieling reservoir capacity that would pre-empt disruptive use of river flows. On the other hand, the Indian actions would ensure that Pakistan would not agree in future to let central Asian energy pipelines to cross over into Indian.

    Moreover, by attempting to disrupt lower riparian’s water supplies, India would set itself up for similar treatment at the hands of countries, including China, that are upper riparians on rivers flowing into India.

    On a personal note, I hope better sense prevails on all sides.

    Khalid

    • Abdul Rashid

      Khalid, A great write-up. All points clearly explained and backed up by sound logic without bluster, point-scoring and or one-upmanship. *Thumbs up*!

      • Khalid Riaz

        A belated thank you, Abdul Rashid.

  • Steve

    Good discussion. I agree the truth is probably somewhere in between. Likely a creeping forward of Indian forces towards bunkers and posts a few hundred meters inside our territory at best in a few areas where there are gaps natural or manufactured in physical barriers, possibly under massive covering fire, hightailing it back when discovered and engaged. May have achieved surprise and therefore close contact in 1-2 areas thus our few casualties. They suffered casualties too including a captured trooper which of course they’ll deny. That’s why the term “along” rather than “across” LOC in the original press conference. Also no QA to avoid giving out any more than planned, as most of it was an exaggeration. Probably not even more than a few meters in some areas to justify the “surgical strikes” label and avoid embarrassing losses. The “launch pads” (amusing Hindu English) 0.5-3 km inside our territory are pure fiction and India knows it. However it justifies the attack and the world won’t sound a peep as who can differ with killing terrorists? The casualty figures are a complete lie and even Singh was too vague and it appeared to be a guesstimate. That can only happen if engaged with indirect fire from afar and no close confirmation. This has of course happened before but the difference this time is the multiple locations simultaneously, and of course the over hype by the 56 incher and his rabid followers in the press and the social media. I have to say the Pakistan army taking journalists to the LOC was a stroke of PR genius and literally took the wind out of the enemy’s sails. Hats off to ISPR and Bajwa! That is one reason I disagree there is tacit collusion between Pakistan and India about this attack and it is being managed to avoid escalation. Pakistan has always resisted suggestions to allow the Indians a face saving attack on a know militant target in-country to mollify their uncivilised masses. Let’s wait and see. Some amusing footage will likely emerge. Interesting how everyone in the BJP and supporters are arguing to NOT release it. It will be followed by more jubilant foaming at the mouth shrieks by the Arnabs of this world. A mild slap to India is probably going to happen to remind them that trying to change the terms of reference is also not free and will be resisted.

  • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

    People everywhere are busy finding strategic and geopolitical reasons behind Pakistans denial of surgical strikes on its territory by Indian army.

    No matter how much solid evidence may be given Pakistans army, its polity and society will remain in denial.

    Why? Bcoz the reason of denial doesn’t lie in strategy or geopolitics. It lies in sociology.

    Pakistani establishment is hell bent on proving that nothing happened. Its eagerness to prove its point is not for Pakistani citizens. Its for the world community. No matter what may come pakistanis will never accept anything happened. Its not just an army in denial, its a nation in denial.

    Why? Its the ingrained hatred accompanied with racism and supremacy with respect to hindus.

    Their brains can’t simply digest the fact that hindu-baniya army raided the territory of mard-e-momins. Thats it and thats all!
    The naked reality.

    • Abdul Rashid

      “Its the ingrained hatred accompanied with racism and supremacy with respect to hindus. Their brains can’t simply digest the fact that hindu-baniya army raided the territory of mard-e-momins. Thats it and thats all!”

      Harsh Sahib, please do bear in mind it is these very Pakistani “Mard-e-Momins” who read your comments and then approve it for posting on this site to enable you to share your opinion. When we see credible proof we will acknowledge it and shift our focus on the failure of Pakistani leaders and military. Further, all those who call on our government to provide answers to tough questions will not be witch-hunted, labelled as traitors and told to go to India.

      • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

        Any piece of evidence if even given will not be accepted.
        See what proof will include:
        1. Imagery and live footage from cartosat-2c
        2. Imagery from drones….IAI HERON made in israel
        3. Recording from helmet camera of troops
        Above info will be worth its weight in platinum for pak army and isi bcoz it will give away details of our operating tactics. It can also disclose the possible ‘local support’.
        And such things are not given away…no matter how much internal or external trolling the government faces.

        • Abdul Rashid

          If such things are not given away then all we are largely left with is claims, counter-claims and the media. Other than that, whatever enquiries we can make from our own direct or indirect contact with the locals. My own checks have not yielded anything to lend credence to Ranbir Singh’s (apparent) claim of Indian troops crossing over the LoC or causing significant casualties. As far as the media is concerned, Pakistan military has allowed journalists access to their side of the LoC, fielded questions and, other than accepting the usual cross-border shelling and the loss of two of it’s soldiers, strongly denied the whole episode of “surgical strikes” as portrayed by the India media.

          It is all good and well for the more zealously patriotic among the Indian population to say “we accept whatever our government and military tells us without question” but even in India there are many rational voices rightly refusing to accept any of this without proof.

          Anyway, it is my gut feeling Modi will not be able to sustain the domestic public pressure for much longer and will be compelled to provide the proof. But even if BJP now complies, the ideal window of opportunity is lost. The delay will likely raise questions regarding the authenticity of any proof. It may yet turn out that Modi has succeeded in scoring a “surgical strike” on himself and caused “significant” damage to his own reputation. Time will tell. Will be interesting to see how things pan out in the coming weeks and months.

          • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

            The statement of our DGMO was very precise. I don’t go by what media says.
            We didn’t carry out a syria like bombing campaign on civilian population, so what signs can be left.
            Our DGMO claims that terrorists were killed and thats what I believe in.
            Shelling also occurred that night and its enough to suppress the sound of small arms fire or helicopters if used.
            Dead bodies can be removed in minutes.
            There is a news paper here called the Indian express a.k.a the ‘anti-indian’ express among right wing Hindu nationalist circles. Its fiercely anti-bjp. But when it came out with evidence that such things happened, people will have to believe.
            The opposition parties are so much frustrated by this action, they fear Bjp getting even more popular and hence leaders are questioning the action. They are digging their own graves.
            BJP can’t lie on this scale otherwise it will completely ruin itself.
            Our army is apolitical and it doesn’t take sides of any party, no matter what.
            Its time you do some introspection, have a relook at the thesis which says ‘1.3 billion people are all fools and 0.22 billion are all wise’.

          • Headstrong

            Be assured that the ‘principal’ countries are in the know – some even before the strike. Note the timing of Susan Rice’s call to Doval and the contents. Also, the briefing to the envoys of 22 countries immediately after.
            Most tellingly, the Pakistani generals know. That an ‘out’ has been provided is something the Pakistani establishment is probably grateful for.
            However, my theory is that the ‘other’ Sharif would not want to leave in end November with this as his legacy. Therefore, either he attempts to save face by planning and executing another big bang (a la 26/11) and exits with a Field Marshal-ship, or he demands and gets an extension which is what I guess is his preference. After all, what better way to continue milking the country dry?

          • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

            The real ‘sharif’ doesn’t seem to leave as of now. Its evident from his reviewing of all major formations like the mangla core.

            Meanwhile some less known media has broken the news that bhopal based 21 strike corps and some pivot corps based in rajasthans jodhpur will be conducting biggest ever exercise along rajasthan border later this year which will involve substantial number of fighter squadrons.

          • Abdul Rashid

            DGMO Ranbir Singh’s statement far from “very precise” is very vague and gives rise to many questions. Questions he was clearly eager not to answer judging by the hasty retreat he made following the press release. He did not explicitly say Indian forces crossed the LoC, he did not give an estimate of the number of “terrorists and those who support them” killed, he did not give details of any locations, did not present any video evidence. Basically nothing of substance. The fact that Indian forces succeeded in causing casualties by the use of firepower has been conformed by the Pakistani side, but shelling from across the LoC we do not call “surgical strikes”. Until solid, undeniable proof is presented it is a fair assumption the words “surgical strikes” were for domestic Indian consumptions.

            “But when it [The Indian Express] came out with evidence that such things happened, people will have to believe”. No, not all. People will not HAVE to believe anything that does not stand up to independent scrutiny. This level of ‘investigation’ has been carried out by myself too. I have extensive links to people on the Pakistani side of LoC, many of them non-Pakistani residents on visit. They have observed absolutely nothing to confirm “surgical strikes”. This is 2016. An operation that apparently lasted a few hours, killed and presumably injured scores simply can not remain hidden.

            So far all we have is the claim of “surgical strikes” by the Indian DGMO followed by celebrations in the streets of Indian, an imaginative Indian media gone into overdrive and a lot of bluster. Proof? NONE!

          • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

            No Indian needs proof….bcoz we know one fact….such a hyper lie will lay the death kneel of BJP.
            Why should proof be presented to the public. Message was meant for some specific enterprise across the border and they received it.
            And I have mentioned before any video evidence will leak out many critical and secret info. Are all your contacts living within 3km of LOC. Its sparsely populated with a sprinkle of villages here and there. We had our set target….stealth was maintained…..and probable guests were killed.
            And claims of ‘UNMOGIP’ are
            Laughable. They said they didn’t ‘directly’ observe any firing. So are they present all along the 800km loc. The strength of UNMOGIP team in Pakistan is somewhere around 60. These people visit frontiers only when the side they are on complaints of regular unprovoked firing on other side.
            And at present 95% Indians have believe in capability of the government. The rest 5% are free to cook stories to get endorsed in Pakistan and satisfy their unforgiving hate for BJP.
            At last I have hope details may surface in future on conduct of operations.

          • Abdul Rashid

            If you must believe without proof then there is nothing in DGMO Ranbir Singh’s’ press release to indicate Indian forces actually crossed the LoC. There were apparently “terrorists” gathered at launch-pads “along the LoC” (“LoC keh saath”, in Hindi) and the Indian forces took “surgical” action to destroy these launch-pads and cause “significant casualties”. The dramatized action-packed animation sequences shown on the Indian media by Goswami & Co are not owned by the Indian military.

            On the Pakistani side, Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa explicitly stated no Indian forces crossed the LoC, the targets were in-fact Pakistani army posts and the “significant casualties” were the loss of 2 Pakistani soldiers and 9 with minor injuries. The “surgical strikes” were shelling form across the LoC. He has openly fielded questions and allows journalists from all over the world to tour the LoC.

      • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

        People raising questions are not witch hunted in Pakistan. Really? What’s happening with cyril almeida?

  • Abdul Rashid

    What do I claim and what is not entirely fair?

    On Quwa all nationalities are welcome and many shades of opinion tolerated. The same moderation rules are applied across the board. Harsh made a sweeping statement about the Pakistani nation, accusing it of ingrained hatred and racism with respect to Hindus. We are tolerant enough to let it slip by and be posted. Though this in itself contradicts his outrageous outburst, we are entitled to respond to it in a civilised manner.

    • Headstrong

      Sweeping statements are a dime a dozen on any forum – not least on this one. One has to but look back and see. If those were allowed, Harsh’s statement should also have been. So I don’t think any particular exception was made for him. The fact that you apply the rules evenly is of course admirable and consistent with your claim that many shades of opinions are tolerated (within reasonable limits, of course).
      Yes, the fact that you do permit such statements is good (as long as it does not cross limits of propriety). I have been reading this forum for a couple of months now and can acknowledge that the conversations do not descend to the mud slinging that goes on in others. In that sense, I have to compliment not only you moderators, but also the commentators. Of course, I’m sure there are numerous others who’s comments are not posted.

      • GhalibKabir

        I would respectfully disagree Headstrong. Abdul has a partially valid point at least. For example: I think there are issues with the way history is taught in Pakistan and the pernicious effect it is having in terms of functional illiteracy owing to a variety of historical and other factors. But sweeping statements are not good. There are people in Pakistan who are causing trouble to everybody incl. ordinary Pakistanis who in many instances are decent and just want to get along in life like us.

        I should know, I have met, lived next door to Pakistanis abroad. When I needed help in Japan (fell ill and needed desi food, first time outside India etc..pretty banged up), it was a Pakistani senior of mine from Karachi who helped me out with medicines and food and not fellow Indians. He was exactly like Mohsin and Abdul here, able to disagree vehemently but always with tameez. No bad language or resorting to generalizations. we had serious arguments on many topics, but it never affected mutual respect.

        So when Harsh made the point about baniya etc, I understand there are a segment of people in Pakistan who talk disparagingly like that about Hindus, but to say all 190 million Pakistanis are like that is doing disservice to the education we have obtained.

        PS: I say all this as a fourth generation member of a Tamil Brahmin BJS/BJP family whose members fled Karachi/Lahore in July 1947. Any number of difficult topics can be discussed without attacking the person but only contesting the idea. Animosity gets nowhere/nothing. Not pontificating, just sharing what I experienced in life.

        • Headstrong

          I’m not defending making sweeping statements. Just pointing out that they’re not as rare on this forum as Abdul makes it out to be and that some kind of special dispensation was given so that Harsh’s comment could go through.

          And let’s face it – we’re all prone to this malaise. As long as it isn’t out rightly offensive and represents a point of view, I would think that’s ok

          • Abdul Rashid

            I am not making out anything or saying special exception was made for Harsh. That is precisely the point – no special exception was made. Treated exactly the same as the others regardless of national background or religion. His right to opinion on the surgical strikes topic is respected and not blocked by Quwa’s Pakistani “Mard-e-Momin” moderators. This would not be the case if the Pakistani nation was full of “ingrained hate and racism with respect to Hindus”. Haters exclude others, not include them.

            With regard to your other comment on no mud-slinging here, you really ought see our “Deleted Comment” and “Banned User” lists! The mud-slinging and abuse is as intense as any other Ind-Pak forum but we try our best to nip the problem in the bud by blocking anything too distasteful. We also have a number of Quwa regulars on our “Trusted User” list whose comments are posted immediately, bypassing the moderation stage. Again, this trusted list is not limited to people of any particular country or background. Hopefully with the support of the regular commenters on here we can build a refreshingly different Ind-Pak forum where differing opinions can be expressed, heated debates take place and still be able to shake hands at the end of it.

  • Manju

    As far as I know there are huge unmanned gaps on LoC because of which surgical strikes happen very often from “both” sides some of which might be called as cross border firing(like Pakistani claim) or terror attack(like Indian claims). The only difference is instead of using Drones which Pakistan’s SSG uses for Recon, India’s Para commando’s have used Satellite(which is a great leap in technology integration). Even though a common man will have doubts but both the Armies know what happened actually. Won’t be surprised if some retired Pakistan general will accept this after a decade or so in some TV show.

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