Indian mag predicts war along LoC
9 August 2006
The Daily Times
New Delhi: Forget back channel diplomacy, if the Indian army has its way it will unleash a new war doctrine to combat what it describes as Islamabads new strategy of attack by infiltration into Indian territory beyond Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). According to this months issue of Force magazine, the army may attempt to persuade New Delhi to follow the Israeli example in Lebanon and authorise the attack of terrorist targets in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This could include punitive raids against Pakistani posts along the Line of Control (LoC), cross-border pursuit of militants and the crushing of militant training camps. Indeed, the magazine points out that it is not difficult for the army to attack a nearby Pakistani post on the LoC and bring back their dead to show intruders into Indian territory, noting that both sides have attempted this in the past. Force also stresses that India is well-prepared to meet Pakistans war threat (in retaliation) head-on, going on to suggest that New Delhi would simply need to allow its military a timeframe of three to four weeks to accomplish its aims before bowing to international pressure for a ceasefire. Thus it warns that the next three months - that is, before winter sets in and the passes in Jammu and Kashmir close for the season - could prove crucial for Indias relations with Pakistan. The magazine also says that the armed forces have taken into account Pakistans military weaknesses to ensure the success of their war doctrine. Should Pakistan decide to enlarge the war theatre to ease pressure on the J&K front, the Indian military will seek to destroy its offensive forces, as well as capture territory inside the Thar desert to be used as a bargaining chip in the aftermath of war, the magazine says in its unsigned cover story, Peace by Other Means. Moreover, Force points out that President Musharraf understands this. Thus his offer to help India nab those responsible for last months Mumbai train blasts came with a warning to New Delhi to refrain from any hot pursuit across the LoC. In short, he (Musharraf) is threatening action against likely raids by the Indian Army inside PoK. The magazine notes that New Delhi should understand its military strength too. Army forces stationed in J&K say that following Indias fencing of the LoC and its employment of surveillance equipment in the area cross-border infiltration has taken on a new guise. According to Lt Gen Deepak Kapoor, the army commander of Northern Commands, infiltration into J&K is unstoppable as the LoC is no longer the sole route of entering the state as terrorists infiltrate from all available routes and their area of interest is no longer confined to J&K. Given that terrorism is now spilling into Indias heartland, the magazine says that New Delhi may choose to look beyond diplomatic and intelligence-based solutions to dismantle the ever-expanding tentacles of terrorism. Enter the Indian army, which has stressed that military action be seriously considered if all other options fail. It has pointed out that the countrys armed forces have come a long way since the end of Operation Parakram in 2002, stressing that air, naval and military forces now have the capability, will and a war winning strategy against Pakistan. According to Force, the army would use Special Forces deployments, assisted by the Air Force, to win any battle with Pakistan. The magazine also identifies the significant areas of Pakistans military weakness that would aid Indian forces in defeating any attempt by Islamabad to expand its war theatre: * The Pakistan Air Forces capacity to conduct daily sorties is calculated at 260 per day, compared to the Indian Air Forces potential of 450; * Pakistans 11 and 12 Corps (reserves for the Indian theatre) are completely tied down in other ongoing military activities, such as the US-led Operation Mountain Thrust in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Thus most of these forces would be unavailable for any short war with India; * Pakistan is already facing internal dissension in Balochistan; * In operational terms, there are innumerable choke points in the Pakistan armys lines of communications, rendering them vulnerable to interdiction; * Karachi port remains vulnerable. Thus the race is on in the next three months to determine what the choice will be for India and Pakistan: war or peace?