India on Thursday reached out to the global community to build opinion in support of its “precise operation” across the Line of Control and also to convey the message that cross-border terrorism continues to hurt the country.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar launched the diplomatic offensive, briefing envoys posted in New Delhi about the “counter-terrorism” strike as well as the state of play in India-Pakistan ties.
The briefing came within hours of the Indian Army’s announcement that it had crossed the LoC early on Thursday and inflicted heavy damage on seven “launchpads” militants were preparing to use to cross over into the country.
The raid across the LoC came 10 days after 18 soldiers were killed when suspected Pakistani suicide attackers struck an army camp in Uri in Kashmir.
Jaishankar, briefed envoys of 25 countries, including those from Russia, the US, China, UK France, Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia, sources said.
The government was of the opinion the strikes were based on “irrefutable evidence and logic”, sources said. It was not directed against Pakistan military nor did India have an intention to escalate the situation, sources said.
Officials say these are convincing arguments that make New Delhi’s case — for both isolating Pakistan and making the world understand how India is the target of cross-border terrorism.
Indian ambassadors have been asked to reach out to their host country governments on Pakistan continuous support for terrorism and surgical operation India undertook based on “actionable intelligence against terrorists”, sources told HT.
“We conducted a counter-terrorism operation directed at the launchpads of terrorists waiting to sneak into India. It was based on actionable intelligence and target was not Pakistan army,” explained an official.
He said targeting terrorists who were out to wreak havoc in India was something every country would support. “We did the operation and said it was a one-off strike. Pakistan termed it a cross-border firing incident,” the official said.
India’s director general of military operations had briefed his Pakistan counterpart about the counter-terrorism operation. The matter should rest there, he said.
Experts seem to be in agreement with this view.
“It was a very measured response from India in exercising the military option. It was a calibrated approach. The target was terrorists waiting to infiltrate into India and not Pakistan army,” former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said.
“But the message was clear: India can inflict pain and hurt if Pakistan continues to bleed India with cross-border terrorism. That was the larger and message sent out through the strike.”
The Narendra Modi government was under immense pressure to hit back after the Uri attack, which had caused widespread anger.
Former diplomat MK Bhadrakumar agreed with Mansingh but called for caution. The Indian statement about the surgical strike was very balanced and restrained but was not being interpreted in the right sense.
“We will do better without the war hysteria being whipped up. There are no winners or losers in a war between two nuclear armed countries,” he said.
The strike was a counter-terrorism operation in nature based on specific intelligence. “That’s what the official statement says. And it happened along the LoC,” Bhadrakumar said.
The government now should ensure peace in the Kashmir Valley. “When peace returns to the Valley, no terrorists can make use of the situation to meet his evil ends,” he said.