Sunday, October 9, 2016

On the #SurgicalStrikes

After the Uri terrorist attacks that killed 19 Indian soldiers, there was an odd sense of familiarity. After all, India had seen 26/11, the worst terrorist attack on Indian soil, and had moved on (somehow). And Uri is in Kashmir - on the periphery, a trouble place that is best known for such things, and little else. And yet, there was this hope - nay, desire, that this time, it would be different. That this time our martyrs would not have made the ultimate sacrifice in vain. Why? Because this time, unlike before, we had hoped that India had finally elected a PM who cared about the country.

And initially, it seemed like all the pundits had been right, and we had been wrong - we had another PM who was all talk. Worse, while the previous Congress administration had a clear strategy of not playing cricket with Pakistan, this one seemed to gyrate from one position to another. And then came the #SurgicalStrikes, a term that has permanently gone into the lexicon of every Indian. Just listening to the substance of Mayawati's speech today says a lot about how much it has shocked PM Modi's opponents who tried to ridicule him, and how it has fired the BJP's base.

Who deserves the credit for the retaliation and change in India's posture vis-a-vis Pakistan? Of course, first and foremost, our armed forces that meticulously planned and executed the operation, in conjunction form some excellent intelligence from both the IB/RAW and ISRO. The civilian bureaucracy in the MEA as well as the Minister for EA and her team deserve credit for creating all the right atmospherics to prepare the world - as evidenced by the fact that, for once, it is Pakistan which is being told to exercise restraint, and its cries on Kashmir have been ignored in every country that counts.

And finally, the credit goes to PM Modi and the Defense Minister, for taking the call to change a policy of appeasing Pakistan that has been in place for decades. Make no mistake - Modi is the only politician today who would have had the courage and conviction to make the final decision and be sure that he could handle it politically. The way the whole affair was managed, militarily, domestically, and internationally, makes for textbook reading of how statesmen should be. Indeed, if Indira Gandhi was Goddess Durga for partitioning Pakistan in the midst of the Cold War, Modi is nothing less than Lord Ram in the nuclear age.

And for this courage and conviction, and above all, for his understanding of the Indian people, Modi and his party deserve all the political gains that accrue. If politicians don't get re-elected for their good work, why would they do any good work (unless they believe they have a birthright on the institutions of this country, of course)? The opposition today is very, very afraid, for they know now that Modi is not an ordinary politician. His popularity today is sky-high, and people trust him. And that is something very few others can claim.

Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi!

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