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Abhinav Upadhyay asked: In the backdrop of recent skirmishes along the LoC, how can India create strong disincentives for such hostile actions by Pakistan?

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  • Vivek Chadha replies: India faces a challenging environment on the LoC. It is important to understand it, before looking at the means of neutralising or at least minimising the threat. First, there is near parity in force levels. Therefore, any talk of doing a US kind of operation has its challenges. Second, India faces a dual threat of infiltration by terrorists and LoC violations by regulars. This forces the army to deploy for both contingencies. This is not the ideal way of deploying in the area, as the method attempts to do both the tasks well, which is not possible. On the other hand, Pakistan does not face similar threats from India. Third, the geography of the area makes manning the LoC very difficult, especially during bad weather. Fourth, the LoC does not run in a straight line. Its curvaceous nature leads to creation of avenues for easy infiltration. Fifth, Pakistan continuously attempts to maintain instability on the LoC, as it is a convenient sub-conventional advantage it has.

    In view of these circumstances, the following can be done to create disincentives for Pakistan. First, there should be a declaratory policy of measured response to any violation of ceasefire on the LoC. This will create caution against misadventures. Second, the retaliatory action should be punitive and a lesson for future. Third, a clear escalation ladder should be war-gamed to ensure that actions remain within it. Fourth, the threat of border actions, infiltration and raids must be as probable for Pakistan as it is for India to keep opposing forces unstable. Fifth, our forces should be equipped and maintained with the best technology and weapons to create an edge on the LoC.