You are here

Abhishek M Chuaudhari asked: Are surgical strikes against terrorist camps across LoC recommendable? Does India have such real time actionable intelligence?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Anit Mukherjee replies: Surgical strikes across the LoC could mean use of one of the two options - air strikes or raid by Special Forces. Both options, however, are problematic - from a diplomatic and military perspective. First, surgical strikes would be viewed by the neighboring country as an attack on its sovereignty and may lead to a military response. It is not clear how the violence would then be maintained to lower levels given the danger of possible escalation. Second, such strikes would under most of the circumstances not be viewed favorably by the international community, and may lead to diplomatic isolation. However, much depends on the circumstances and the nature and impact of the triggering event.

    Even if, for the sake of an argument, one were to assume that there are justifiable grounds for exercising such an option (say a horrific terrorist attack that can be traced back to elements across the border), major problems pertaining intelligence and targets remain. As rightly suggested, the 'real time actionable intelligence' is very difficult as terror camps can consist of nothing more than rudimentary tents in jungles. Hence it’s difficult without constant surveillance and/or Humint to obtain the precise coordinates to conduct such strikes. It is not known whether India has such capabilities. Finally, India and Pakistan are trying once again to give talks a chance with the expectation that the Islamist terrorist groups are forever shut down. Of course, it’s not entirely known whether this will happen. In sum, while no option should be taken off the table in statecraft, surgical strikes under current conditions appear to be a remote possibility.