Can we do an Israel?

Almost two weeks back, two terror acts took place. The first were the blasts in Mumbai and the second, the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Both were acts of aggression against specific countries.

But that’s where the similarity ended. While India reacted to the Mumbai blasts with tough talk but little action, Israel bombed Beirut for supporting cross-border terrorism.

Notice that Israel’s provocation was that two of its soldiers had been captured, while in Mumbai, scores of innocent civilians had been killed.

So, does India need to get tough too? Hardliners argue that the time has come to start targeting terrorist training camps across the border. “If this is going to save lives, then perhaps it’s time we did it,” says a former intelligence official.

However, it’s not as simple as that, says Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee (retd), director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. “We are talking about two countries with nuclear capabilities.

Military action in this scenario is not the most favoured option.” Agrees A S Dulat, former chief of RAW (Research & Analysis Wing): “The policy of hot pursuit or chasing terrorists into camps in Pakistan is not realistic. Just because Israel has made a business of doing so doesn’t mean we can emulate it.”

The situation in Israel, says Banerjee, is quite different. “Israel has the full backing of the Jewish community in the US and support from Washington. Besides, its military strength is far superior to that of its neighbours,” he says.

India can never hope to get the kind of US support Israel enjoys. India’s retaliation, say experts, has to be oriented towards aggressively creating awareness about Pakistan’s involvement in terrorist activities, on an international platform.

“There is an urgent need to start a campaign that would isolate Pakistan diplomatically,” says Sumit Ganguly, director of Indian Studies at Indiana University in the US.

India should launch a global diplomatic offensive aimed at the major capitals of Europe and the US, he adds. “India should be willing to temporarily withhold certain forms of collaboration with the US until it receives a fair hearing.”

Ganguly says India could consider military action against Pakistan. “But such action should be swift, calibrated, proportionate and explicitly linked to specific acts of provocation that can be traced to Pakistan,” he says.

Most experts, however, feel that instead of direct military action, increasing troop deployment along the border would be a more viable option.

This, says a former defence official, would be a strategic move, as it would force Pakistan to pull out its troops from
the Afghan border. This is something that the US might not wish to happen.

Related Topics:

Hudna: Those Who Live by the Sword Shall Die by It
American Muslim – Bridgeton,MO,USA