A year after, it is clear that ‘surgical strike’ achieved nothing

SRINAGAR: Firing by Pakistani troops on Indian army posts from across the Line of Control and infiltration bids by militants have only increased since the “surgical strike” that the Indian Army claimed to have carried out last year. Contrary to the army’s claims that the surgical strike reduced the capability of militants to sneak across the LoC, infiltration attempts and deaths of militants in such attempts increased in the year 2017 by 31 percent, according to the IndiaSpend analysis of data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
“There was no positive impact of the surgical strike on the ground in Kashmir,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi.
“It served more of a political purpose. The exchange of fire on the border continues almost every day. The objectives and the strategic purpose for which the strike was carried out could not be achieved. The government then had stated that the surgical strike will prevent future attacks. Nothing of that sort has happened,” he said.
On the intervening night of September 28 and 29 in 2016, the Indian Army claimed that it conducted a surgical strike on militant bases across the LoC to avenge the attack on an army camp in Uri in which militants killed 19 army personnel. Pakistan denied that the Indian Army crossed into its territory and carried out any strike.
The Indian army chief has recently warned of more surgical strikes “if necessary, to send a stern message to Pakistan”.
The increase in militancy-related deaths, from 246 in 2015-16 to 323 in 2016-17 (till September 24, 2017), indicates that militant attacks and infiltration into Kashmir continues unabated, and has actually risen, after the surgical strike.
“I will say that the surgical strike achieved no objective, as far as Kashmir is concerned,” said political science professor Gul Wani.“The objective of the strike was to send a message across the Line of Control that Pakistan should change its posturing towards the border and Kashmir. After one year, if you look into both the security and strategic situation, the strike has not achieved this objective. The LoC remains hot, but after the strike it became hotter. According to media reports, there were 400 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC this year, and the infiltration of militants continues.”
Wani said that Kashmir also gained prominence on international forums after the “surgical strike”.
“Kashmir became more internationalised. There was a bitter war of words recently between the two countries at the UN General Assembly over Kashmir. The posture adopted by New Delhi has failed to achieve any result,” Wani said.
He pointed out that army officers stationed in Kashmir have been calling for a political resolution to Kashmir, instead of a military approach.