Take covert war to Pak soil

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Anyone watching the rising tempo of violence in Jammu and Kashmir after the alleged molestation of a girl in Handwara will have noticed some important things. The killing of three cops followed by threats to many others to quit working with Jammu and Kashmir Police has behind it a long story.
It has begun almost as soon as the PDP-BJP government was sworn in under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti. Clearly, the separatists and the anti-PDP political parties want to create a situation where the in-built political differences between the PDP and BJP can be widened further. The Handwara episode is refusing to die down with various groups claiming that the girl was forced to give the statement by the local administration working under the influence of Army. This suggests that efforts are still being made to stoke an agitation deliberately. It may not have genuine underlying causes but the agent provocateurs are calculating that once army firing is provoked, the agitation will develop its own logic and new legs. Most important, the violence this time is strategically aimed at the armed
forces directly.
The idea is to make it untenable for the army to stand its ground and deter jihadi groups from entering the Valley. In Kashmir valley, violence is being provoked against army, which is vital to anti-militancy operations and infiltration. These developments are one of a piece with the attack on Pathankot
airbase this January by suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed jihadis.
The Chinese have used their UN Security Council veto to prevent Jaish boss Masood Azhar from being declared a terrorist. If one pieces all these incidents together, one thing is clear: there is a shift in the Pakistani strategy on promoting terrorism against India. It is using its jihadi groups not just to kill ordinary citizens in random suicide attacks, but to directly target our armed forces. It is intended to overawe the army and make its mindset defensive.
In doing this, Pakistan seems to be mirroring the tactics of the jihadi groups that are targeting its own armed forces. Jihadi groups, including the Taliban, have targeted an army school in Peshawar, several Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) establishments, and even the Pakistani navy. Idea is to ease pressure of Pakistani operations against the terror groups.
Pakistani army and ISI are now getting jihadi groups under their direct control-the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-to do the same on the Indian side, targeting the army and air force. In doing so, it has clearly proved that it is a state sponsor of terror. Pakistan’s anti-Indian jihadism is entering a new phase where the idea is to keep our armed forces directly engaged at home, so that they can be tied down both in Jammu and Kashmir and outside.
The only response to this new strategy by Pakistan should be greater aggression in combat operations against jihadis even while protecting our offensive assets better. This is not the time to get defensive in our tactics. We have to take the covert war to Pakistani soil even while giving the jihadis hell in Kashmir and elsewhere.

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