Saturday, October 12, 2013

How Infiltrators managed to retreat from Shala Bhata

In an interview with Hindustan Times, GOC XV Corps has admitted that his boys have neither recovered a single dead body nor any equipment belonging to infiltrators from inside the cordon area in Shala Bhata village in Keran Sector.

Though it was very clear since Oct 2 when for the first time Indian Army broke this news to the nation, that Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) was trying to break the Indian cordon to rescue the infiltrators trapped inside the cordon. I have dealt with this new tactic in detail in one of my previous posts.

But what constitutes a big surprise is the fact that Pak BAT seems to have been fully successful in its attempt to effectively engage and pierce the Indian cordon. This could not have been possible without a large scale rescue effort by Pakistanis supported by heavy ammunition support, exceeding the ceasefire norms thrust upon the Indian Army.

If one is to go by statements of GOC XV Corps it becomes clear that Pak BAT was repeatedly trying to "round up" the outer flanks of the cordon. This is a classic medieval technique having a guerilla element with Central Asian origins which has turned the tide of numerous battles fought over last ten centuries in Indian sub-continent.  The peripheries of cordon touching the LoC made it further vulnerable.

But the key question relates not to the ability of Indian Army to deal with such situations but with political will. Our army is fully capable to deal with such tactics. But that requires aggressive tactical manoeuvring backed with clear political directions. The way Shala Bhata infiltration was kept pressed under the carpet for nine days to allow PM Manmohan Singh to meet Nawaz Sharif says everything. Another notable point is that any strong reaction from political leadership in India over Shala Bhata incident has been missing.

The peace at any cost policy will put Indian Army at a serious disadvantage in this cruel quest for domination along LoC. This will naturally have consequences for security environment in J&K as well as in larger strategic context as Pak Army is likely to progressively heat-up the LoC in run up to US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in order to redeploy its strategic assets returning fro Afghanistan.

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