Pakistan has been fighting a proxy war with India since 1990. Post Kargil conflict of 1999, she has realised that it is the best way to tackle India who has conventional superiority over her. Since then; there have been a series of ISI-sponsored terrorist attacks with the crescendo reaching in Mumbai on 26 November 2008, last event at Pathankot Air Force base in January 2016 and present state of general unrest in Kashmir Valley from 08 July 2016; launched by Non-State Actors from Pakistan.
Pakistan perpetually denies any hand in these activities. Pakistan is a good listener and knows that issues get diluted with the passage of time. They continue protracted negotiations with us, taking one step forward followed by a step backwards. As a result of this, when Indian media and establishment starts speaking optimistically, another terrorist attack takes place and we are caught unaware as to how it happened.
In the TV debates and newspaper statements, Pakistan denies and cautions India that she is a country possessing nuclear weapons and India should not cross the Rubicon but should settle outstanding disputes.
In such a situation where diplomacy does not work, India is left with the option to curtail River water flowing into Pakistan or use Military Power. These options are often discussed at all forums but when push comes to shove, India buckles as a country.
Present terrorist attacks on India, executed by the fifth generation youth of Pakistan, are the handiwork of the ISI, which functions directly under the Chief of Staff of Pakistan Army.
It is pertinent to note that for the first time in its history the Pakistan Army is fighting militancy in all its four provinces, yet she continues to irrationally differentiate between a good and bad terrorist.
It is gradually becoming clear, that, current methods of negotiations and simultaneous military actions this side of the border, only skirt the problems of use of covert hard power by Pakistan, and that our response has been a defensive reaction with limited results.
It is time to change the approach and start giving an effective response to these attacks. India could calibrate the flow of river water in a manner that Pakistan feels the pinch. The next step is to activate the Line of Control carefully after removing the civilians to safer places and using Artillery to hit his field works, Gun Areas and Command and Control Centres as Pakistan’s capability in terms of Guns and Ammunition is lesser than ours. India has the capability to undertake sustained fire which would play havoc with his Command and Control system, Line of Communications and day to day routine on the Line of Control.
India has superior Conventional Armed Forces and by domination of the Line of Control, must undertake conventional operations which would entail use of Intermediate Battle Groups in the Mountains and Riverine terrain in conjunction with Deep Strikes in Deserts. While the Battle Groups would be used in Shallow thrusts, the Strike Formations would undertake Deep Strikes. Pakistan has lowered its nuclear threshold and threatens to use Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW) against such Indian Offensives.
Pakistan rattles her missiles a lot, but it is very unlikely that they would consider a nuclear assault, tactical or strategic, on India, because they know that India has a Second Strike Capability. In nuclear strategy, a second-strike capability is a country’s assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retaliation against the attacker.
In layman's terms, it means that even if Pakistan somehow does the impossible and destroys all Indian missile silos and missile launch sites with a massive and highly accurate pre-emptive nuclear strike, India would still have enough nuclear missiles left in her arsenal to retaliate.
This would primarily come in the form of nuclear-tipped - submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). India's latest nuclear submarine Arihant is all set to receive K-15 missiles which can carry nuclear warheads and strike up to 700 kms in enemy territory. We are also developing the K-4 missile which extends the attack radius to 3000 km bringing all the major Pakistani cities under strike range.
The question is, are there any ways to protect India from a nuclear strike? As a matter of fact, such a system has been in development. The Indian government has been developing a ballistic missile shield to counter the threats from China and Pakistan. It is a two-tiered shield consisting of two Interceptor Missiles Systems, namely the Prithvi Air Defence Missile System for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence Missile for lower altitude interception.
The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched 5,000-km away. India may also look into a Laser Based Missile Shield developed by Israel called the Tactical High-Energy Laser, or THEL. The prototype weapon was roughly the size of six city buses, made up of modules that held a command centre, radar and a telescope for tracking targets, the chemical laser itself, fuel and reagent tanks, and a rotating mirror to reflect its beam toward speeding targets.
Pakistan Military Command knows that India would win both a conventional and a nuclear war. Hence, the only thing they can do is rattle their missiles in anger and frustration. It is quite unlikely that Pakistan would choose to begin a nuclear war with India. If she does do so, God forbid, India will turn Pakistan into a barren wasteland. In short, they may start the war, but we shall end it.