Independence Day
     

Cross-border terror not a low-cost option against India after Balakot: Rajnath

Air Chief Bhadauria rues India letting its Kargil time BVR edge over Pak slip

February 28, 2020 By Vishal Thapar Photo(s): By MoD
India's counter-terrorism strategy a judicious mix of hard power and mature diplomacy: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a seminar on 'Air Power in No War No Peace Scenario' in New Delhi to mark the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes

The surgical strike of 2016 and Balakot airstrikes of 2019 were not just military strikes but a strong message to the adversary that terror infrastructure across the border cannot be used as safe haven to wage low-cost war against India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in New Delhi on February 28.

He made these remarks while addressing a seminar titled "Air Power in 'No War No Peace' Scenario", organised by Centre for Air Power Studies on the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes.

Singh said the Balakot airstrikes forced a rethink on many doctrines across the LoC, and created a deterrence against misadventures in future. India's response was an affirmation of its right to defend itself against terrorism.

"Our approach to terrorism was and will remain a judicious combination of clinical military action and mature and responsible diplomatic outreach," the Defence Minister said

Terming the Balakot airstrikes as a singular event of military precision and impact, Singh said the action encourages the leadership to think strategic rather than tactical. "Our approach to terrorism was and will remain a judicious combination of clinical military action and mature and responsible diplomatic outreach," the Defence Minister said, giving an assurance that the Government would respond appropriately to any threat to India's national security in the future as well.

The major structural changes initiated by the Government to tackle future threats will take some time to be fully operational, Singh said, urging all stakeholders to contribute to making the changes effective and efficient.

He also stressed the importance of a multi-pronged approach including collective diplomatic and financial pressure to thwart cross-border terrorism. "We have recently seen the impact of collective diplomatic and financial pressure on Pakistan. Terrorists like Hafiz Saeed who were treated like VIPs and heroes, have been put behind bars. We realise that this is not enough and unless Pakistan is made accountable, it will continue with its previous policy of duplicity and deceit. All attempts are being made to work in this direction," he said.

"We have recently seen the impact of collective diplomatic and financial pressure on Pakistan. Terrorists like Hafiz Saeed who were treated like VIPs and heroes, have been put behind bars. We realise that this is not enough and unless Pakistan is made accountable, it will continue with its previous policy of duplicity and deceit. All attempts are being made to work in this direction," he said

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat called for maintaining credible deterrence in land, air and at sea at all times, saying that the three Services must work together concurrently to deal with any potential threats. "Credible deterrence comes from the will of the military leadership and intent of the political class while taking tough decisions. This was amply shown after Kargil, Uri and Pulwama attacks," he added.

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria said the Balakot airstrikes at a terrorist training camp inside Pakistan marked a paradigm shift in the use of air power in a sub-conventional scenario.

He lauded the political and diplomatic efforts to quickly deescalate the situation. He described Pakistan's response after 30 hours as an effort to satisfy the domestic audience.

"We had an edge over Pakistan Air Force in terms of Beyond Visual Range Missile capability at the time of Kargil. We allowed that to slip and thereafter it took a decade and half in our struggle to acquire better capabilities," Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said, urging continuity in military asymmetry in India's favour

Appreciating the coordination among various organisations in carrying out the successful airstrikes, he said there was a calibrated effort to ensure that there were no civilian casualties.

"We had an edge over Pakistan Air Force in terms of Beyond Visual Range Missile capability at the time of Kargil. We allowed that to slip and thereafter it took a decade-and-half in our struggle to acquire better capabilities," Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said, urging continuity in military asymmetry in India's favour. He also stressed on building indigenous capabilities.

The focus of the seminar was on employability of the air power in situations that necessitate exertion of national will against an adversary in a no war no peace scenario.

Secretary Department of Defence and R&D Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Director General of Centre for Air Power Studies Air Marshal K K Nohwar (Retd), former Chiefs of Air Staff, scholars, serving and retired officers attended the event.