Why The Opposition Demand For Proof Of ‘Surgical Strikes’ Is Nonsensical

Why The Opposition Demand For Proof Of ‘Surgical Strikes’ Is Nonsensical

by R Jagannathan - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 12:26 PM IST
Why The Opposition  Demand For Proof Of ‘Surgical Strikes’ Is NonsensicalDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: Getty/AFP)
  • When the Indian public already believes the strikes happened, what purpose will the evidence serve, except to underline the army’s own lack of credibility before its people?

There is only one word to describe the utterances of Arvind Kejriwal, Digvijaya Singh, Sanjay Nirupam and Randeep Surjewala on the “surgical strikes” carried out by the Indian army against terrorist launch-pads across the line of control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir: “despicable.”

It is perfectly all right for opposition politicians to ask the BJP to not make political capital out of the surgical strikes (the BJP should rein in its own cadre on this before it does damage), but it is completely unacceptable for them to demand proof that the strikes happened.

Consider what Sanjay Nirupam said in his tweet. “Every Indian wants #SurgicalStrikesAgainstPak but not a fake one to extract just political benefit by BJP.”

When his party demanded robust action by Narendra Modi after Uri, almost challenging his ability to act against Pakistan-based terrorists, that was perfectly all right. But when this actually happens, the strikes become “fake”?

Or consider what Kejriwal had to say: “BJP, I’m convinced that strikes took place. But int’l media publishing Pak propaganda that no strike took place. Let’s expose Pak propaganda.”

This statement is clever, but only suggests that Kejriwal himself has been taken in by Pakistani propaganda. The Pakistanis took international media close to the LoC to suggest that nothing happened, but none of the international reports claimed that they got to investigate this freely. No one got to talk to the locals or move around without a chaperone.

Also, if, as he claims, he is convinced that the strikes took place, why does he himself not counter the propaganda? Why does he half-believe the Pakistani propaganda?

Now consider what Congress General Secretary Dijvijaya Singh had to say. “I don’t care about what Pakistan says because that country has no credibility. But I am concerned and angry about UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and a UN spokesperson saying there was no such strike by the Indian Army. I don’t care about the credibility of Narendra Modi, but I do very much care about the credibility of the Indian Army and the need to protect and reinforce that credibility against such false claims.”

Consider the logical inconsistencies in this statement. Singh wants to disbelieve Pakistani statements, but is willing to pretend that what UNMOGIP, which had no access to the Indian side of the LoC, says is credible. Singh cares about the credibility of the army, but not the credibility of the man who authorised the same army to carry out those strikes. Either both Modi and the army have to be credible, or both have no credibility. One cannot delink the political directive to the army from what the army strove to achieve in the cross-border operations.

Randeep Surjewala, Congress party spokesperson, wanted the government to “call Pakistan’s bluff.” He said “it’s time for the government to expose Pakistan's malicious propaganda. The evidence should be made public.”

When the Indian public already believes the strikes happened, what purpose will the evidence serve, except to underline the army’s own lack of credibility before its people?

These statements are despicable for one simple reason: they will warm the cockles of the enemy rather than strengthen our own national resolve. Once, let’s say, a video on the strikes is released, won’t Pakistan say they were doctored. Will we then have to produce even more evidence to prove we did it? Did all the evidence we gave on 26/11 do anything for us? Every time we give evidence to a rogue state, we essentially give away details of how we collect the evidence – which is a strategic issue.

And even if we were to prove that we violated the LoC, would that not actually amount to escalating the rhetoric and the probability of war? Would it not compel Pakistan to retaliate, when it can now simply deny the strikes happened?

Critics of “surgical strikes” do not seem to have thought through their statements before trying to play politics with the event.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
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