NEW DELHI: Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Friday affirmed the success of Indian force’s operations against Pakistan’s continuous sub-conventional war on India where Pakistan has been employing nuclear brinkmanship as a tool in its support.
Pointing to the limited utility of nuclear weapons, the Army chief said, “Historically nuclear weapons have been a good deterrence and that’s where the role ends... We have seen on two or three occasions when we could carry out operations without the nuclear portion getting into play.”
The Army carried out surgical strike in 2016 busting the terror launch pads run by Pakistan and the IAF struck the JeM training facility in Balakot in February 2019. Post surgical strike, Pakistan raised ceasefire violations along the 740 km-long Line of Control (LoC).
Post the Balakot strike, Pakistan chose to retaliate conventionally and Pakistan Air Force tried to strike on Indian Army’s Brigade headquarters in J&K’s Nowshera Sector.
Nuclear policy expert Vinod Kumar said Balakot airstrike and surgical strikes were done keeping retaliatory nuclear strike in mind. “Till the surgical strike, Pakistan had created an impression that if India crossed the borders, Pakistan will nuke us,” said Kumar, Associate Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Pakistan made political gains from the nuclear brinkmanship. In the recent years it had placed immense pressure on India’s ‘No First Use’ policy with demands for its revision in order to effectively deal with the volatility involving the nuclear-armed neighbourhood.
However, Kumar said, “The situation subsequently changed as the spotlight fell on Pakistan’s status as a hub of terrorism and clandestine nuclear trade.”
General Naravane informed that the Balakot JeM terror facility has again started functioning. But, the strike “sent a message that they cannot operate with impunity against India”. He also said that about 25 terror camps along the LoC are functional and 200-250 terrorists are waiting to cross over.
Talking about rising attention on infrastructure building along the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control, the Army chief called it natural. “Northern borders are much longer and inhospitable.” If you want peace, be ready, he said.
The Army chief said while ceremonial activity has a unique place in military ethos, efforts have to be made to keep them limited to occasions like Republic Day and Raising Day.
Terror camps along LoC back
Army chief General MM Naravane said that about 25 terror camps along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir are functional and terrorists between 200-250 are waiting to cross this side.