As the entire country is mourning the death of 48 CRPF personnel who died in the deadliest terrorist strike in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, none can deny the fact that the deadly terror strike was meant to provoke.
Jaish e Mohammed is a terrorist and a jihadist group in Kashmir. The primary objective of the group is to separate Kashmir from India and merge it into Pakistan. With such a separatist motive, they have carried out several terror attacks primarily against the Indian government and armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation has also maintained close relations with Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and many times continue and supports to be allied with them in several armed conflicts. Most importantly the group receives active financial and armed support from Pakistan, through its spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). Though the organisation was banned in 2002, it resurfaced under various names and continues to receive support from Pakistan based intelligence and military units.
An army convoy carrying several hundred security personnel was moving on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway on 14 February 2019. At 3.15 pm, a bus carrying CRPF soldiers was attacked by a ports utility vehicle driven by a suicide bomber at Lethpora (near Awantipora) in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Immediately the responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Jaish-e-Mohammed. Later it was found that a local youth named Adil Ahmed Dar belonging to the group was identified as the attacker. The video of the suicide bomber was thoroughly analysed and it was found out that it was meant to provoke and escalate tensions in the entire region. While forensics teams from the armed forces have already begun work and answers were found. It has listed out several questions about the intelligence gathering, dissemination, vigilance, coordination in the army throughout the Valley.
Several nations expressed grief and sent their condolences, condemning the worst terror attack in a decade. The state funerals of armed personnel killed in the attack were held in their respective native places. The government of Punjab, Tamilnadu and several other states have announced ex gratia compensation of several lakh rupees each to the families of the killed security personnel from the states and a government job to the next of kin. In the international, though Pakistan denied its involvement, India revoked Pakistan's most favoured nation status. The customs duty on all Pakistani goods imported to India were raised to 200 per cent. Besides, the government of India plans to provide the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering with a dossier outlining Pakistan's involvement in the attack. Though there were violent protests in Jammu resulting in a curfew being imposed, there were protests, bandhs and candle light marches were held across India. In many places, there were reports of harassment of Kashmiri people. The Indian community in UK held protests outside the Pakistan High Commission in London. A delegation of Indian doctors planning to visit the 13th Association of Anaesthesiologists Congress (SAARC) in Lahore on March 7 have cancelled.
While the entire mood of the Indian people seems to avenge the Pulwama terror attack immediately, military experts offered several options to strike back. Several Indian Air Force (IAF) chiefs feel that the IAF can carry out surgical strikes from Indian airspace and destroy terror networks in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). But in order to pursue such an attack one needs to have accurate, hard and real-time intelligence. Some army personnel, feel that covert operation can carry out successfully, but there will be political pressure to make it public.
As the majority of the public feel that strong reaction must be made. Many government officials and political leaders also feel the present government would engage strong reaction, since it has to face the people for fresh election before May this year. According to diplomatic experts, Pakistan has invited severe and strongest condemnation from major countries, including the US. India should leverage and put diplomatic pressure on Islamabad to hand over wanted terrorists harboured in the country and also dismantle the terror infrastructure in PoK. The US had cautioned Pakistan and asked it to act immediately and stop its support to terrorists. Using the condemnation to isolate Pakistan for its support to the several terror organisation. Besides, the government should also effectively upgrade intelligence and plug security gaps, and most importantly win the confidence of the local population in the Kashmir.