Modi led BJP-NDA has enforced its strategic options in fields other than military to include: diplomatic (soft power) offensive resulting in UN Security Council (UNSC) condemning Pulwama terror attack and naming JeM with China signing the resolution signaling a major shift; politically withdrawing all security cover to the separatists and their supporters; economic offensive by stopping water flows into Pakistan, banning cross-border trade and imposing 200% tariff on Pak goods; Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus and Poonch-Rawalakot cross-LoC bus services; and in the counter terror field killing the perpetrators of Pulwama terror strike.
There are many other options available to consider and the choices may unfold stage by stage to include: Continue with the diplomatic offensive to get listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” at the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 sanctions committee; and on the economic front stop all transit facilities at designated border crossing like Wagah in Punjab, Munabo in Rajasthan, and others like Hussainiwala and Fazilka.
However, most important is the internal political choices that needs to be exercised expediently. One, detain all separatist leaders and move them out of Srinagar to isolated places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Two, detain all political leaders like Abdullah’s, Mufti’s and others and move them out to other places. Three, conduct focused information war offensive to neutralize the Pak sponsored narrative. Finally, exercise the right to revoke Article 370 and Article 35A.
Finally, counter terror and other military choices and options available that can be exercised to squeeze Pakistan.
Let me highlight that the counter terror operations must be actively pursued focused on eliminating Pakistan sponsored ‘modules’ still in active-cum-dormant state waiting for an opportunity to launch the next deadly terror strike at the time and place of their choosing. In the ultimate, the success of counter terror operations will depend on “actionable intelligence at tactical level”.
Cross-border air and missile strikes against known terror camps in PoK must to be exercised at the earliest that will certainly show to Pakistan that India too can act with resoluteness like Israel’s.
Of course, cross border-cum-LoC suppressive fire duels must be conducted without pity and remorse. After all, the local army commanders are authorized to employ combat weapon systems under their respective commands. No need for them to look over their shoulders for orders from the political bosses, particularly when the Prime Minister, Modi, has publicly announced that armed forces have been given the freedom to act.
Next, time is also ripe to employ air and missile strikes against known and clearly identified terror Headquarters inside Pakistan. Also, warn Pakistan on economic blockade of Karachi and Gwadar naval ports.
Finally, be prepared for war by deploying armed forces into their battle positions ready to execute offensives plans across the border where they consider most advantageous to gain victory.
To sum up, the crisis situation is just warming up. How it will unfold will also depend on how Pakistan responds? Also, the responses and pressures from the international community!