Although when I say retaliation I dont mean lopping some captured corporal's head off. I mean escalating the conflict in ways that hurt the other side.
I am also talking about in conventional situations is *high* level people on your side making it clear to Div/Bde/Bn OCs on the other side that they and their fellow officers will face *personal* consequences if excesses are practiced by their men.
So that means that their men will be encouraged to surrender - but if their officers come in to contact they may not be so lucky. There may be unusual degree of effort to hit their HQs, etc.
These threats and promises have to have credibility. That means that those who surrender should make it through the war alive, and officers of units on the other side that behave badly must pay a price even if it is off the books. It means some times negotiating deals that set your teeth on edge to get your people back.
There might be something to what Johann says though not quite in the manner described above. In this case, the retaliation was purely tactical and did in fact involve lopping a head or two off!
I think the incident was during Op Parakram and involved the Jat regiment(Not sure what battalion was involved). Some Pakistani soldiers ambushed an Indian patrol near the LOC and a few jawans were killed in the ambush. Not satisfied with the ambush itself, the Pakistanis beheaded an Indian jawan and carried his head off as souvenir. In brutal retaliation, a Jat unit killed several Pakistani soldiers a few days later and "lopped Off" a few heads in grisly fashion. Transgressions like the above ceased from the Pakistani side after this incident. I believe the IA high command also issued a 'No Comment' or something similar after this was reported in the media.
Now I am not sure if this is "SOP" in such cases. What I think happened here was that some unwritten rules about 'code of conduct' were broken by the Pakistanis during this encounter. This invited the wrath of the IA and they retaliated in kind. Was the response disproportionate? I don't know but we have not heard of such incidents since then and was probably designed to send the Pakistanis a message.
All of this is, of course, pure speculation on my part. I don't know that something like an 'unwritten rule' does in fact exist. Not even sure if a response such as the one above transpires every time such a 'non-existent unwritten rule' is broken by the Pakistanis OR if there are other ways to dispense said punishment (Escalating in other ways as mentioned by Johann)
What is true however, is the fact that the Pakistanis seem to 'up the ante' everytime there is a war or a war-like situation. What this provides them other than invite brutal retaliation is a subject matter for 'Paki Piskological' analysts.
Can't seem to find a link to the above story. Will post here when I find the link.
Could not find the link but did find a quote on a different forum. Article was by Vishal thapar and appeared in HT. Scroll down to the bottom of this forum.
[quote]Itâ€™s head for head along the border
New Delhi, September 28
Rules of engagement
Unlawful act: Soldiers have immunity for killing enemy soldiers only in a declared war
Geneva Convention: Focuses on treatment of POWs. Treatment of bodies is in realm of military tradition
Scare tactics: In 1971 war, Gurkhas had a reputation of beheading Pak soldiers. They played on Pak soldiersâ€™ belief that beheaded humans were headless in after-life too
Pakâ€™s game too: During Kargil war, bodies of Indian soldiers, which Pakistan returned, were badly mutilated
India and Pakistan may not be at war, but on the Line of Control (LoC), they are playing a game of gore that may get out of control.
Last month, elements from the Pakistan Army walked across the LoC in the Rajouri sector in Jammu and Kashmir. They ambushed a Jat Regiment patrol and killed four troops.
But the intruders weren't through. They chopped off the head of a slain Indian soldier and carried it back across the LoC as a trophy. The Pakistanis also took away a light machine gun that the Indians were carrying.
The Indian retaliation was ferocious. Earlier this week, a battalion of the Jat Regiment shot dead nine Pakistani soldiers. And for gruesome impact, the Jats got the heads of two Pakistani soldiers.
The Army brass, however, isnâ€™t saying anything about this macabre medievalism. â€œThere's nothing to state officially. We're not making a statement,â€