Rudradev wrote:Yaar, what ARE the facts on the ground? As far as I can make out from posts in this thread (and other related ones), neither you nor I nor anyone else here has much of an inkling what the specific facts on the ground truly are at present (a good thing by the way, because people who actually know are duty-bound to keep it to themselves).
We simply do our best, sifting through whatever public domain information is there for this or that scrap of news. But everything beyond that is guesswork and speculation on our part.
How good is the speculation? No way of knowing. I suspect it is like trying to reconstruct the Mahabharata given one random word per every ten slokas, with an unknown % of the given words being incorrect.
Not really the case because in this case we are speaking of a topic which is widely known and recognized amongst a wide variety of different groups who share a lot of info and hence there are many ways information leaks out on the ground over in India. The basic things are this, right now the Pakistani side continues to provoke and is still seeking an edge on the LOC. That itself shows that our current methods have not escalated to the point, where as in 2001, frantic phone calls are made to our side, to somehow stop, and not "worsen matters between neighbours". Kid you not, these sort of calls did happen.
Like I said, even if you wish to go strictly by GOI etc press releases, take a look at the casualties we have been incurring in J&K. Its nothing but a low grade war & the tipping point (in our favor) has not come. This is also why many serving officers & veterans take pronouncements from Delhi on things having changed, with a "lets see". They want consistent policy above and beyond what;s being done. And the BJP tieup with PDP etc didnt help any. Many many veterans for instance took the entire Uri strikes as a symbolic one, because being attuned to the grapevine they knew on the ground, basic situation remained one of dissuasion not aggressive attacks into enemy territory whenever we felt like, and we are still in a process of re-equipment. We are basically not in a war seeking state, which is where Pakistan would genuinely say "oh cr*p" and bide its while.
Assuredly not, but what does that have to do with the Taliban?
Since you mention it, LOC is a great example of the information blackout we're operating in. Everyone on social media says it is hot. GOTSP and foreign governments say it's de-escalating; GOI says different things at different times. Somebody tweets about Pakistani 155 mm gunfire, then someone else about Indian missiles. Rajnath Singh refers obliquely to a "third strike". Drones appear along IB, some are shot down. No report AT ALL of what was hit in Muzzafarabad or Chakhoti on 26/2. In India it's business as usual, Pak airspace remains closed. This is one weird war... but it's definitely a war of some kind going on, just below the threshold of conventional declaration.
Most Govts don't care if its escalated or deescalated as long as it is within the "normal" both sides operate in. Problem is that normal is in the favor of Pakistan. They infiltrate, we react. Its also in the GOI's interest, to not let too much information from J&K seep out. If people in rest of India knew the "normal" there, what happened to the J&K wasis visiting India and doing naare bazi or even otherwise, communal relations in India proper, would be a tad different.. in fact much more so. The fact that in India everything's chalta hain, is precisely the issue. GOI for long has become used to a steady stream of body bags from Kashmir, and no real incentive to change the status quo. Then a 26/11 happens and we are all exposed in front of everyone. Next, the Taliban, JEM etc are all but multiple arms of one giant hydra or octopus as we both know, so people are shuttled between all these organizations on a routine basis with the central edifice being the ISI which tries to monitor everything & threatens, bribes, cajoles & uses these folks against India wherever possible. Right now, its in their best interest to maintain a sort of division because JEM is Pakjabi led & Hizbul etc have a smattering of Kashmiris, but at the end of the day they all belong to Jihads R Us i.e. UJC.
In any case, it would be preposterous to think that one Balakot airstrike would magically scare everyone in Pakistan so badly that LOC would suddenly become peaceful. On the contrary... Balakot made it so that the Tanzeemi handlers on the other side have to put up their entire ante or risk losing everything. They HAVE to infiltrate as many jihadis as fast as they can before recruits lose their nerve or even turn on the handlers. No wonder internet in POK is down... the last thing JeM, HM cadres on that side want is for WhatsApp forwards of the post-airstrike pics to start doing the rounds. Pak Army too is under pressure from Tanzeemi leadership to maximize infiltration of whatever assets were there before the truth gets out and morale is completely sapped. For my money, THAT's why they are pulling out all the stops to give covering fire. And, as it appears (though no one knows for sure) getting pasted for it.
No, unfortunately Balakot or one airstrike anywhere would not cause the kind of effects you are talking of, because the propaganda & jihad influence on TSP society is so much, that even the shaheeds will be celebrated and myth making done of how much damage they caused & etc etc and recruitment will continue. The US has literally vaporized hundreds if not thousands of jihadis in Pakistan proper using drone strikes, has that stopped any recruitment? Anyhow recruits will be pushed across based on weather, availability of guides. Indian Army positioning etc, dozens of local factors.
See the article I posted before. The covering fire stuff has been going on for long. They are getting pasted, but not enough, because we don't want to escalate beyond a point. That mindset too needs to change.
So far all Balakot has done has is signaled a change in Indian policy about striking into Pakistan without worrying the nuke overhang but the next day, by again imposing restrictive ROE on the IAF, we took away quite a bit from our "mad dog" response the previous day. We climbed 10 steps and gave up 5. But at least we are 5 steps ahead.
But the truth WILL come out. This is the information age. Pakistan Army cannot stop it as they covered their tracks in 71 and Kargil. In the following days, weeks, months, the evidence will come to the cell phone or favourite cyber-cafe of every abdul considering a career in suicide bombing. As for people as high up as the top leadership of various Taliban factions... I will bet they already know everything there is to know about the damage done in Balakot. By, of all people, the Hanoods.
How will the truth be out, when all we are doing is having the MOD sniffle to itself and says we know the pilot who was lost but we are oh so moral we won't give his name out? Our actions are too defensive IMHO, revert to self-imposed shackles. We revel in this we are oh so peaceful and lawful mythos, while our opponents and the world only see and demand, strength.
be expected when you kick the hornet's nest. That is why you have lots of DDT in store ahead of time. There was a surge of 100 companies of CAPF into the valley on the night of the strike, anticipating exactly this.
Those 100 companies of CAPF can't do much while in the hinterlands of J&K, they are at best an urban hold your ground force given their training and restrictions.
Still don't understand why Balakot could have been expected NOT to result in a hotter COIN situation in J&K. Whatever stops there are will be pulled out, and the terrorists already in the valley will either surrender or fight like cornered animals. No other choice for them. And again, the cannon-fodder currently being squelched in the valley are not who I was talking about re: Afghanistan.
Fair enough, I took your comment re: Afghans to be all the tanzeems fighting India, but the point I was making is its still business as usual. The east UJC guys the Pakkabis will get used to a new normal like the west Afghan good Taliban, but they will adapt IMHO unless w really bring the heat on them.
Fair enough, not "invincible", but certainly TSPA had an image of being the Top Kabila between the Indus and Iran. Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasad were designed to cultivate exactly this image. TSPA is as jihadi as any Taliban faction or Pakjabi Tanzeem, but with an overwhelming advantage in heavy weaponry, artillery, and air-power. Combined with a total disregard for collateral damage and civilian casualties, they were able to clear North Waziristan of all but their preferred Sarkari Tanzeems through sheer brute force in the 2014-17 period. Unkil collaborated with them to some extent, providing intel from drones etc.
Yes, agree and that ability comes from their innvincible image in Pakjab their stronghold, which gives them the resources to be the big boy in town. That facade of invinicibility should be torn down.
In effect the TSPA managed to establish itself as unbeatable vis-a-vis Quetta Shura or any of the Talib groups. The end result of Radd-ul-Fasad was that anti-Slumbad Talibs either came back to ISI control (mostly signing up to join Jaish-e-Mohammed, major cross-pollination happened there)... or else joined ISIS affilitates and other non-Taliban groups in Afghanistan. The TTP that once menaced Pakistani territory in Swat valley was smashed. Sarkari Taliban like the Haqqanis were in any case pro-Slumbad. The neutral (bet-hedging) Taliban factions, however, accepted for the moment that Pakistan was too strong and too brutal to challenge openly... and fell in line. THIS was a key step to Slumbad convincing both the Taliban factional bigwigs and the US that Pakistan alone could compel the Taliban to the table at the Doha talks. Will it hold once it becomes incontrovertibly obvious what India did to the JeM (which, as SSridhar and others have noted, is full of former TTP)? News travels fast in the FATA. Note especially where we chose to strike them... in KP, the Pashtun hinterland. There was a message in all of that. Taliban will know for a fact that TSPA and ISI cannot guarantee them protection anywhere within Pakistan's borders (a red-line that even the mighty Unkil, with the sole exception of Abbotabad, always respected). Their anger will be directed squarely at TSPA and ISI... building up rapidly on whatever underlying distrust and resentment may have been there before.
Again, whether these tanzeems get beaten up by PA or India is sort of immaterial because in the long run, the local bully, the PA still has them by the short and curlies, and there are enough morons in Pakistan willing to sign up for jihad. Only and only if we are so vicious that the thought of confronting us is certain obliteration & our retribution constantly hounds them, will they seek to fight it out with the PA. We havent demonstrated that yet.
The results will be fun to see. I suspect they will emerge after a few weeks or months in full steam. However, the fact that some Taliban groups are already (as early as Feb 28th!) carrying out intensified attacks on Afghan and US installations, basically trying to blow a hole in the Doha talks, is already giving some indication of what is to come.
This is what they do though. Anything happens, they hit the KFC and Afghan installations and try to come to our side.
Again, sir, I submit that we don't know enough. Official Delhi will always... ALWAYS... claim that it is being responsible, keeping collateral damage in mind, respecting nuclear redlines and whatnot. For example right now there could be anything at all happening on the LOC, in Sri Ganganagar, in Kutch, and everywhere in between. Not all of this is jawabi karwahee. Not all of this is admitted in public (of course, otherwise we would know it). Some of it may never be admitted. All we will have is occasional cryptic affirmations from the services that "operations are still in progress". Bus.
In the process, are constant and unrelenting hits being suffered by the Pakis? Are our head-takers racking up a score on the other side of LOC, or even IB? We have to live with the fact that the Modi Govt (or any govt) may never, ever make an official policy declaration that accurately reflects what they're doing.
You don't need them to make an official declaration. You can see the situation in J&K, how the local populace is (meek, tummies exposed or barking) & what certain groups are vis a vis the GOI (strength respects strength). When that situation changes radically, you'll know the new/old sheriff in town is genuinely feared & respected & even his arms (IA etc) will convey the fact.
So, as you say, the "day he stops having to even mention it" may have already come. He barely at all mentioned the Balakot raid itself. He isn't mentioning a word about what's happening now. Doesn't mean we can assume it isn't happening. The jihadi who barely escapes it with scorched beard and shrapnel in his rectum may be the only one who knows for sure.
I dont know whether you are watching current electioneering, but Modi is literally harping on the Balakot raid in every other speech. The risk with that is it rapidly starts looking like a gimmick (even if it wasn't) and leads to cynicism that just "that" was enough.