September 2016 News

Uri Terror Attack: No Knee-jerk Response, Government Mulls Graded Options

19 September 2016
The Economic Times


New Delhi: 'Graded, sequenced and synchronised' responses, not 'knee-jerk' retaliation will define India's response to Pakistan-sponsored attack on the Uri army base. Military options are still on the table, but there will be no gung ho, hasty reaction. Isolating Pakistan diplomatically is the first step, and India has already moved some distance on it, senior officials said. Those who spoke to ETfor this report did so on the condition they not be identified. 'We will use all instruments of power available before the country. Military is just one of them,' a senior official told ET. Big power diplomacy has already begun with India reaching out to the P-5 countries. As an immediate response, Russia called off its first joint military exercise with Pakistan on Monday. France has issued a strong statement and United Kingdom has already expressed solidarity with India after the attack. The diplomatic objective, for now, is to get as many countries to label Pakistan a terror state as possible, including other South Asian countries. Members of the Cabinet Committee on Security met on Monday with the prime minister to take stock of the situation. Another CCS meeting will take place on Wednesday. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was busy working the phones to build diplomatic support. The government has also started an exercise to draw up possible economic measures that it could deploy against Pakistan with the help of like-minded countries. 'India has more clout and credibility with other countries. And let's not forget, we are a bigger market in which people have larger stakes. When it came to sanctioning rogue states, for instance, the US made it clear that if your company does business with those countries, it cannot do business with the US,' an official told ET. Further, various military options are being discussed but they will be deployed only 'at the right time'. To avoid any confusion, the government has decided that a single line of communication will be put in place with only the directorgeneral of military operations (DGMO) authorised to make public statements. This drill, quite like the one followed during the Kargil operations, started on Monday with DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh issuing a statement after a series of meetings in South Block. 'We reserve the right to respond to any act of the adversary at the time and place of our own choosing.' He then emphasised that the armed forces always had enough capability to respond but had acted responsibly despite strong provocations. 'The Indian Army has displayed considerable restraint while handling the terrorist situation both along the Line of Control and in hinterland. However, we have the desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us.' Meanwhile, a team of the National Investigation Agency has been stationed in Srinagar, awaiting orders from the government to take over the probe into the Uri attack. The purpose is to build a strong body of evidence against Pakistan. Earlier in the day, the PM held an almost two-hour meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and top intelligence officials to discuss India's possible response. The government brass is convinced that India has to launch a calibrated, multi-layered and strategic response and expose Pakistan at international fora such as the United Nations, whose General Assembly is in session, said officials.

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