Saturday, May 21, 2022
Outlook.com

From ‘All-Out War’ to ‘Controlled War’

From ‘all-out war’ to ‘controlled war’, India has changed gear in its military response to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism

From ‘All-Out War’ to ‘Controlled War’
Lethal Weapon Photograph by AP

As young officers in the Indian army in the late seventies, we learnt that the Line of Control (LoC) is a zone of NWNP (No war no peace). Over the years we saw the scenario change into ‘forever at war’, as India got embroiled in fighting a hybrid war waged by Pakistan, using jehadis as proxy.  The hostility manifested as terrorist actions, gun duels along the Line of Control, Border Action Teams (BAT), propaganda, indoctrination, radicalisation of the population and so on. Several new coinages came into the lexicon to describe the state of affairs—fragile peace, situation simmering, pot boiling and so on; semantics for justifying and tolerating abnormality as the ‘new normal’.

For too long, India has fought this proxy war with two self-imposed ­limitations. First, geographical i.e. ­­the Line of Control is the ‘Lakshman­rekha’. Second, the type of force i.e. fight primarily with the army, CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) and state police. Employ weapons only ­up to a certain calibre. India, unlike ­several other countries, has not used air power and artillery for counter-­terrorist operations. So inviolable was the ‘Lakshmanrekha’ that even in a situation like the Kargil war we­­ ­chose to uphold the sanctity of the ‘Line of Control’. 

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