Diplomatic offensive: On Nagrota encounter and after

With more details coming in of a planned terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir by four men, believed to be members of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, who were gunned down by security forces last week, and the discovery of a tunnel in the Samba sector from where the men are supposed to have infiltrated into India, the government has decided to step up its diplomatic campaign to hold Pakistan accountable. On Monday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla briefed a select group of Ambassadors on the plot, which the government believes was planned on the same scale as last year’s Pulwama bombing that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, and timed for the anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The envoys were part of the first batch of diplomats being briefed. Indian missions have also been instructed to pass on details of the “information docket” handed over, which includes details of the encounter in Nagrota between the suspected terrorists hiding in a truck and security forces, as well as the AK-47 rifles, 29 grenades and 7.5 kg of RDX explosive material the men allegedly had. That this was no ordinary encounter was evidenced from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement, calling it a “nefarious attempt to target grassroots level democratic exercises in Jammu and Kashmir”, a reference to the District Development Council elections due to start on November 28.

By apprising the international community, it would seem the government has a multi-pronged strategy. The first imperative is to ensure that the full implications of the aborted attack and what could have occurred are understood worldwide, and the threat India continues to face from cross-border terror is acknowledged. In addition, any actions India takes against terror threats the Army perceives along the LoC this point on will be considered retaliatory. The second is to put Pakistan, which has itself been making allegations about a terror threat from India, squarely on notice. Pakistan still faces the final FATF decision in February 2021 on whether it will be blacklisted for its inability to curb terror financing and to shut down groups such as the JeM and the LeT, and the Imran Khan government would be better positioned in fulfilling the action plan it has been tasked with rather than flashing unsubstantiated dossiers with counter-claims against India. However, the Modi government must also remember that invoking the international community can be a double-edged sword in its bilateral conflict with Pakistan, that could invite discomforting interventionary interest. Eventually, India’s success lies in protecting its borders, as done in Nagrota, and by providing a peaceful and stable environment in J&K so as to restart the much-delayed democratic process there, despite all attempts to derail it.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 12:42:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/diplomatic-offensive-the-hindu-editorial-on-nagrota-encounter-and-after/article33172178.ece

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