Dr. Charles Dias
Surgical Strikes or Claims for Publicity? Pokhran-II was the series of five nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in May 1998. It was the second Indian nuclear test; the first test, code-named Smiling Buddha, was conducted in May 1974. These nuclear tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states, including Japan and the United States. The Indian government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee shortly convened a press conference to declare India a full-fledged nuclear state. This claim soon after the BJP led NDA Govt. assumed power was viewed as an ‘untimely claim to project BJP Govt. to show-off power”. The result was India was tainted as a war-crazy nation with nuclear weapons ! US and European powers and those concerned with nuclear expansions new that India had nuclear weapons and capable to make it, then why this open claim?
The Kargil war in July 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister was yet another incident when 500 Indian Jawans died according to reports. It was one of the few instances when war was fought between two nuclear states. It was also the first war between the two countries widely covered in the media.
The Govt. of India claimed that on 29th September 2016 Indian Army crossed the LoC and went about 3 kilometers inside and attacked 7 terror launch pads in PoK where terrorists were trained. The Govt. claimed that heavy damage was caused on Pakistani side and there was no casualties in Indian side. Pakistan denied that there were no such strikes but only some firing. The main opposition Congress stood with Govt. in facing Pakistan. Subsequently an all party meeting was held by the initiative of the Govt. in which all opposition parties proclaimed that in protecting India’s territories and to counter terrorism by Pakistan all of them will be with the Govt.
What happened later was examples for political immaturity or over enthusiasm by few of the members of the ruling party. BJP leaders started praising Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi for the brave action !
What actually puzzles an impartial observer was that, why should India made a tall claim of crossing LoC and caused heavy casualties to Pakistan ? Something unheard of dealing with a neighboring country and inviting adverse consequences from other nations and making an agitator of themselves in front of the UN !
When media reports from Pakistan denying that Indian forces crossed LoC, Congress and other leaders of political parties demanded for exposing the details of surgical strikes. Former Union Minister Sri Chidambaram pointed out that even on earlier occasions when Pakistani army or terrorists attacked Indian posts or jawans, retaliation and causing heavy casualties to the enemy have happened and these incidents are not made public or given undue propaganda. The comments of BJP leaders against this was very interesting. Union Minister Uma Bharathi lashed out saying “those who doubt Army should take Pakistani citizenship” .
What actually puzzles the citizens of India and people elsewhere is, why when BJP led NDA comes to power, there is show of strength and claims of war and more than war the govt. and leaders of ruling party make big celebration of publicity ? The BJP’s track record from Pokran-II to Surgical strikes show this! You cannot blame the people of India if they felt that BJP is playing politics with war and precious lives of jawans.
Dr. Charles Dias is Former Member of Parliament (15th Lok Sabha)
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