Making public of the Surgical Strikes are slowly but steadily proving to be a strategic as well as political blunder devastating the calculations of the BJP. The strategic blunder is becoming more and more evident by the day:
First, there has been continuous ambivalence in the statements from the Government side regarding the purpose of the strikes: were they directed against Pakistan or the Terror Groups operating close to the LOC? On one hand, the minsters have been talking of teaching Pakistan a lesson; on the other hand they are saying these attacks were not directed against Pakistan but against the terror camps.
Second, from the very first day of making them public, these have put the army under extraordinary alert, a situation which would have perhaps not emerged if they had not been made public. There are regular attacks going on in Kashmir. Fortunately, none of them has been big but they have kept the military constantly occupied and the country worried;
Third, they have also led to mass evacuation of the villages creating a type of refugee crisis.
Fourth, if the strikes had not been made public, we could have adopted an aggressive diplomatic stand against these LOC violations but once we made them public, we have lost the high ground and we are dealing them as if they are the natural reactions of our strikes;
Fifth, by declaring we have given Pakistan a valid ground for retaliation. They would tell the world that they only acted in retaliation or defence;
Sixth, contrary to the media hype, our political success at the international level has not been what it could have been. The UNO observers doubted the surgical strikes, China openly supported Pakistan and the petition to declare Pakistan a terror state abysmally failed in the US Congress. There has hardly been any unequivocal condemnation of Pakistan by any country. The statements were at best aimed at keeping both sides amused.
Politically too, the declaration did not yield the desired results.
First, the euphoria of the first 24 hours has steadily evaporated. So many questions on the nature of the strikes have clouded the Government claims.
Second, it has now convinced almost all the opposition political parties that this was more apolitical strike than anything else and they have been partly if not fully successful in politically isolating the Prime Minister and taking off the sheenof his claim. The reports about several surgical strikes in the tenures of the previous governments which were kept secret have put a big question mark on the fruitfulness of going public.
Third, with the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh openly supporting Rahul Gandhi’s “Khoon ki dalaali”remark, the chances of re-alienation in UP politics appear on the card. With Mayawati too going all out against Modi and the prevailing aversion among Dalits since Vimula’s death, the chances of BJP gaining Dalit vote have substantially depleted.
Fourth, with the failure of this “masterstroke”, the Modi Government will have to be more cautious in future.
The truth is that while the need of surgical strikes to minimise the terror threats whenever needed cannot be over emphasised, the best course remains to keep them secret. Making them public only complicates the matters, strategically as well as politically.
(Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books. He can be contacted at email@example.com.)