Defence minister Arun Jaitley said the sacrifice of the two soldiers mutilated by the India’s neighbour in Poonch’s Krishna Ghati sector on Monday “will not go in vain,” with the army calling it a “despicable act” that will be “appropriately responded to.”
Army sources said one of the options for the force was to bring artillery to the fight along the Line of Control to cause maximum damage to Pakistani posts and inflict casualties on the neighbouring army. The army has chosen this option on numerous occasions.
The army had used the Bofors guns to destroy several Pakistani army posts last October following the mutilation of Sepoy Mandeep Singh in Macchil sector in Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
In 2015 too, Pakistani provocations compelled India to shed its restraint and lift a self-imposed restriction on deploying artillery against Pakistan army.
Officers who have served in J&K said another option could be to carry out similar cross-border raids at the tactical level to exact revenge for the killing of the two security personnel. “Such counter assaults are not uncommon. Battalions deployed along the LoC have their plans in place for such assaults,” said an officer.
However, serving and retired officers said the scale of the BAT action did not merit surgical strikes like the ones carried out last September after 19 soldiers were killed in an attack on army camp in Uri.
“Everyone would know which post the rogue team came from. The army should deploy heavy weapons to flatten that post,” Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd), a force director general of military operations. As a major general, Bhatia had commanded the Rajouri-based 25 Infantry Division in 2007-08. The sector in which the two soldiers were mutilated come under the same division.
Apart from military action, Bhatia suggested that the border trading points along the LoC should be shut to make Pakistan feel the pinch.
BAT action was responsible for Indian soldier Hemraj’s gruesome beheading and the cold-blooded murder of five other soldiers in separate cross-border assaults in 2013. Battalion commanders along the LoC are issued directions from time to time to stay prepared for short and swift BAT raids.
However, former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd) called for action at a “multi-layered level” to turn the heat on Pakistan. He said, “Tactical operations are not causing pain to Pakistan…It has to be dealt with at military, political and diplomatic level. Send their diplomats back, abrogate international treaties…”