Is India getting ready to strike Pakistan?

By John Burke | Related entries in India, Pakistan


Above: Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multi-role strike fighter

As the luxury Taj and Trident hotels prepared to reopen for the first time since the November 26th terrorist attacks in Mumbai, The Times of India reported that India is “keeping the military option alive and kicking in face of Pakistan doublespeak on the crackdown on terror.” According to the report, “a top-level meeting was held on Saturday evening to review the security situation in the region and the state of defence preparedness of the armed forces.” Similar accounts of high-level security meetings have appeared elsewhere in the nation’s press over the past couple of days. More ominously, another leading newspaper, The Telegraph, quoted “top government sources” saying that the Mumbai attacks were “the direct handiwork of Pakistan’s military that trained and armed the militants and planned the strike in detail.”

Meanwhile, on both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border, stories about apparent border incursions by air continue to appear, including an Indian report of “massive practice by Indian Air Force planes in Jamnagar” a city in western India a short jet hop from Pakistan.

This should not come as a surprise. Since the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani authorities have gone through the motions of rounding up the usual suspects associated with the Kashmiri terrorist outfits, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, that U.S. intelligence officials believe were responsible for the attacks. But Pakistan resolutely refuses even to concede that Pakistanis were involved in the attacks, much less crack down hard on the Kashmiri groups it has long sponsored and supported.

The Mumbai attacks shook Indian society and the Indian leadership to the core. Unless it gets some hard concessions from Pakistan that are politically difficult or impossible for any Pakistani government to make, India’s governing Congress Party government simply cannot afford to kick up a little dust and hope the matter will go away. It will likely lose the next national election.

Speculation about a possible Indian strike has centered on air attacks on Kasmiri separatist training camps inside the Pakistani-administered portion of Kashmir. There is no shortage of such targets. A “surgical” strike against them might satisfy India’s need to make it’s point and cause Pakistan some pain without risking escalation into a major conflict.

However, the independent intelligence analysis firm, Stratfor, points out that such strikes might be largely symbolic, since the Indian Air Force lacks the heavy bombing capability needed to do significant damage to facilities of this kind. Stratfor theorizes that India may decide to attack a key Pakistani governmental facility in Islamabad, such as the headquarters of the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, which India has long identified as instrumental in creating, training, arming and supporting the Kashmiri Islamist groups.

The the Indians have the resources needed for such a mission, according to Stratfor:


The Indian air force increasingly has been regarded as professional and capable by American pilots at Red Flag exercises in Nevada. India has modern Russian fighter jets and probably has the capability, with some losses, to penetrate deep into Pakistani territory.

Just two days ago, Stratfor confirmed its belief that India is preparing for a strike.

Hitting the ISI would send a clear, loud message. Pakistan would want to retaliate but have few serious options to do so, lacking much of an air punch. And the Pakistan military leadership might be forced to conclude that further Mumbai-style terror attacks inside India are not worth the trouble they bring.

If India is contemplating a military strike, the next week or so would be a ideal time to carry it out. The United States has been working hard to restrain India while pressing Pakistan to make tougher concessions. But the U.S. is in the midst of a government transition, and this coming week, both the outgoing and the incoming administrations will be on vacation, along with most of the rest of us. The coming holiday period may be a critical time.  

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2008 and is filed under India, Pakistan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

27 Responses to “Is India getting ready to strike Pakistan?”

  1. TerenceC Says:

    Not gonna happen, India will lose the moral high ground if it does (unless Singh can’t keep the hawks in his administration tethered). Imagine a Sikh dressed up like a cowboy but instead of a cowboy hat he’s wearing a turban saying “wanted dead or alive”. Do you think the rest of the world is as dumb as the Bush administration when it comes to fighting terrorism? Do you think the rest of the world didn’t learn anything these past 6 years as they watch us bleed ourselves to death? India will retaliate – but we’ll probably never hear about it. In the mean time they can “wave the bloody shirt” and put enormous international pressure on the Pakistani’s. Singh is a pragmatist and must realize there is far more to gain through subtle measures than brute force in this regard. Any idiot can start a war, but a great leader gets what they want without one.

  2. AlPon Says:

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  3. John Burke Says:

    I guess we’ll see soon enough. The Indian and Pakistani press this morning are filled with stories of pressure and countner-pressure, threats and counter-threats. India has ratcheted up its demand that Pakistan deport Maulana Masood Azhar, leadr of Jaish-e-Mohammed, to India. The US is reported to have increased pressure on Pakistan to do more. Then, ther’s this from The Telegraph:

    “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a four-hour meeting on Saturday night to assess the security scenario in the light of Indo-Pak tensions. It was attended by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister A.K. Antony, home minister P. Chidambaram, national security adviser M.K. Narayanan, the three services chiefs and the intelligence chiefs.

    “The army is said to have cancelled personnel’s leave till April, PTI reported.”

    The rest of the world does not revolve around what George W. Bush does, has done or didn’t do. India has fought three wars against Pakistan without reference to the Bushes or the US for that matter. Pakistan unquestionably is the home base of Kashmiri militants who have repeatedly committed terrorist attacks on India. Mumbai stands out as an attack that India cannot and will not allow to pass without action by Pakistan. But no Pakistani leader can possibly accede to Indian demands — even less radical demands that arresting and delivering up to India Kashmiri separatist leaders — and hope to survive.

    I have no way of knowing what India will do; I’m just guessing, based on what I see happening. But we all would do well to remember that it is the US — specifically the Bush administration right now — that is desperately trying to avert Indian military action. It is not in our interest. But India has it’s own interests. The dye may be cast — or not — but on some matters, Americans cannot rule the roost. Singh may want to avoid the use of “brute force” but he may decide he has no choice in the face of Pakistani indifference to or support of terrorism.

  4. TerenceC Says:

    I can’t imagine the Bush administration trying to do anything peaceful, or do anything without an alterior motive. So the only logical conclusion is that junior and the boys are terrified of what an unstable Pakistan would mean to their war in Afghanistan and Iraq – think of the legacy (Bush destabilizes all of the Near and Middle East, oh wait it already says that). I think their conversation went something like this – “I think a couple of nukes would slip across the border if there’s a war…..go off in Mumbai, Calcutta or Delhi – so that needs to be prevented. no sense letting the Pakistanis take their eye off that ball – so don’t pick a fight with them”. No -there won’t be a war, Bush is doing nothing to prevent it if it were true, and if there is a war it’s only because Singh has lost control of the hawks – and that doesn’t look like it’s happening since he’s in the same meetings they are.

  5. Bleeding Kashmir Says:

    India Pakistan China can go to hell if they are the real human being then
    they must let us live the way we want.
    We do not want to live under ant of them !!!!!!!!!
    Our mother land is not for them but they love to see Kashmir bleeding
    And the world with United nations is drinking our this very blood
    Why and how long????
    Qaiser k
    A Slave of these above mentioned nations

  6. Ankash Says:

    Professional courses available in Pakistan for those who finish their madrassa studies and wish to go for higher education:

    JEE – Jehadi Entrance Examination
    IIT – Islamic Institute of Terror
    IIM – Institute of Infiltration Management
    CAT – Career in Al-Qaeda & Taliban
    GATE – General Aptitude in Terror and Extremism
    B.E. – Bachelor of Extremism
    M.E. – Master of Extremism
    B.Sc – Bachelor of Scientifc Terror
    M.Sc – Master of Scientific Terror
    B.Com – Bachelor of terror communication
    M.Com – Master of terror communication
    LLB – Bachelor in Lies and lustful behaviour
    LLM – Master in Lies and lustful behaviour
    TOEFL – Test of Endurance in Foreign Land
    MBBS – Master of Bomb Blast Strategies
    MBA – Master of Bomb Administration
    IAS – ISI Aided Savagery
    GRE – Graduate in RDX Explosives
    B.Tech – Bachelors in Terror Ttechnology
    M.Tech – Masters in Terror Technology

    Admissions available irrespective of time, place and age.
    No fees
    Stipend during the training
    Campus seat guaranteed
    Campus Interviews & Placement guaranteed.

    source: Rediff

  7. JF17_Thunder Says:

    Indian planners live in fools’ paradise. There’s a hell of difference between Afghanistan and Pakistan. So India should think 1000 times before starting any adventure. Pakistan’s Air Force and Missile System is not for display only and India is not far away (in case of a counter attack from Pakistan). Only a dozen missiles can blow India’s Economical, Technological and Industrial backbone.
    Afterall Pakistani nation is ready to catch Indian jets shot by Pakistani Falcons.

  8. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    India will lose the moral high ground if it does (unless Singh can’t keep the hawks in his administration tethered). Imagine a Sikh dressed up like a cowboy but instead of a cowboy hat he’s wearing a turban saying “wanted dead or alive”.

    Don’t worry, Terrence. Only a few more mass murders by Pakistani terror groups operating with impunity within Pakistan, unmolested by their own government which has already been significantly infiltrated by Islamists, and India will get the message.

    Don’t push back you might create “instablility” (Instability within the Indian populace who live in fear of the next terror attack doesn’t count). Meanwhile, India must address the root causes of terrorism, like the occupation of Palestine, offensive cartoons, and…well..being Hindu, and all the violence will, at least become manageable, or not.

  9. MumbaiWala Says:

    @Qaiser k
    Does your homeland include the Kashmiri Pandits that have been raped and hounded out of their homes by your religious brothers?
    Supported by the pakis ofcourse..

  10. observer Says:

    Its payback time , Pakistan will be made to answer this time.

  11. ExiledIndependent Says:

    One would have hoped that Obama’s historic election would have assuaged some of Terence’s Bush aggro. T, just take deep breaths and repeat after me: “Hope. Change. Hope. Change.” It will make everything better.

  12. TerenceC Says:

    Jimmy – You ever been to India? Believe me, they don’t live in fear of terror attacks. I still have no idea what you were trying to say othwerwise… could have just stood there with your hands on your hips and said “Oh yea…….” Indy, nice comments, glad you could have something constructive to say – tell me what you think of the human race, I’d like an outsiders opinion..

  13. True_yank Says:

    Well, I believe, which is also a fact, that Pakistan can hardly afford a war at this time….We all know its on the verge of being collapsed…Internal elements with in itself are waiting to tale over it … India is mature enough to avoid a millitary adventure … It doesn’t need it … Pakistan is finding it hard to cope with the problems on the western front … Its a great diplomatic weapon “PATIENCE” that the Indians need to show… And regarding the Military might of India …. Indian Military is far more stronger and Mightier than their Pakistani counterparts… Pakis can just talk tough and hope that a military option dont come in the minds of the Indian administration ..Belive me, its far more stronger and sophisticated than the magazines and newspapers suggest.

  14. shadow Says:

    i guess we indians have had enough of this terrorism, pakistan has been harbouring terrorists ever since they came into existence, we never wanted was as if we wanted it we would have done it a long time back, it was pakistan every time who imposed war on us recently kargil to be precise, and for everyone who don’t know just a few days after the mumbai terror attacks,today only the indian security forces caught three terrorists from kashmir who were planning to strike a hotel in true fidayeen style “one of them happens to be a serving pakistani armyman” but the irony is that even when the american and the british secret service know that pakistan has been supporting terrorism still they go on giving them financial help, recently british prime minister mr.gordon announced and aid for pakistan to fight terrorists on their soil just a few days after the mumbai attacks, and today our navy has been put on high alert as their are intelligence reports that some militants are planning to take down one of our warships using a limpet mine. we indians have had enough of this, honestly speaking if i were given an oppurtunity to go on a secret mission to pakistan i would accept it with a smile, and not only me i guess every indian is tired and frustrated of this nonsense so i guess it is high time that our government did something or it won’t be long till the people of the republic of india take matters into their own hands, if we can make governments then we can break them too.
    we want to live a peaceful and safe life but that could only happen if pakistan stops promoting terrorism but all they can talk about is how they are going to bomb us with a nuclear warhead as if they have fogotten what kind of consequences happen when you stike with a nuclear weapon on a country which already has more nuclear bombs in its arsenal than pakistan will ever have keeping in mind their gdp growth which next to none.
    jai hind

  15. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Yes, Ive actually spent significant time in the Bangalore/Mysore area, more than a year on-and-off, and I speak a little Kannada. If you are trying to say that people don’t board their windows up and are constantly in a state of fear of being killed by terrorists at any moment, then fine. But neither do Israelis or Iraqis for that matter. You talk to a typical hindu in private about Islamic terrorism and you will find they have a heck of a lot lot to say. Perhaps its ingrained in hindu culture to accept tragedy as it comes, but this isn’t a natural disaster and people are getting fed up. Thats why BJP has emerged from obscurity to become such a huge political force over the past 15 years

    My point is that I’m just sick of people requiring that one must maintain his victimhood status in order have “moral authority;” that countries like America, Israel, India, or even Thailand should not fight back against the source of wanton destruction in the name of Allah, because “thats just what the terrorists want you to do.” F#%k that.

    Pakistan is the one doing wrong here, because every Pakistani authority figure knows exactly where the problem is coming from and completely refuses to do anything about it as long as the targets are external. The only reason why India should restrain from direct military action is a tactical, not a moral one. Are there other more diplomatic ways to coax the Pakistani government to perform its solemn duty as a sovereign nation and persecute the trans-national terrorists in their midst? Well, try them. Because, in the end, if Pakistan doesn’t get its ass in gear and do what its supposed to do, then India, as well as every other country who is plagued by Islamic terrorism rooted there has the moral authority to do it for them.

  16. The Boxer Says:

    Dear friends Pakistan itself has been a victom of terrorism ever since it came into independence. Most of terrorist activities within Pakistan are undoubtedly linked to Indian agencies esp the rogue Indian Intelligence agency RAW. Presently Indian agencies are involved in providing logistic support and training to Taliban fighters operating against Pakistan in tribal areas as well as masterminding and supporting separatist movement in Bauchistan province. Furthermore Indian agents are already in the custody of Islamabad police in connection with recent bombing of Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. Even today three RAW agents were caught in Lahore alongwith explosives planning to blow up important installations in Lahore. So it is not the ISI but RAW which is involved in terrorism, with the sole purpose of destabilizing Pakistan.

    On the question of whether India is ready to strike Pakistan or not, i think this would be one of the biggest political and military blunders of the century. We don’t want war but if war is imposed on us then we are ready to defend our motherland till the last drop of blood in our bodies. Living peacefully with our neighbours has always been the desire of this nation but this should not be considered as our weakness in any way. Talking of surgical strikes on Pakistani soil suits well to those suffering from mania but any sensible person would not even think of this because of its dire consequences. Any such attempt would mean a full blown war between the two countries. Pakistan and India are two nuclear states now and the war of today would be very different from those fought in the past and can resullt in complete devastation for both countries and the whole region. So my advice to those planning surgical strikes inside Pakistani territory is that, they should refrain from commiting such a blunder otherwise the magnitude of retaliation would be such that Indians would remember it for centuries to come.

    At the end i hope good sense would prevail on both sides and both countries would stop this blame game and learn to live happily together because a war would bring nothing but misery to the poor people of both the countries.

  17. JF17_Thunder Says:

    After failure of Indian govt. and security agencies, they are so confused that they (specially mukherjee) are eating their own words each day. First they were planning to teach Pakistan a lesson and started deploying their army, but then they cried wolf by saying that ‘war is not the solution but Pakistan has dangerous intentions’… Funny!
    During this hustle and bustle, Indian govt. and media ignored Interpol’s comments about their baseless blame over Pakistan.

  18. david Says:

    “Don’t worry, Terrence. Only a few more mass murders by Pakistani terror groups operating with impunity within Pakistan, unmolested by their own government which has already been significantly infiltrated by Islamists”

    “Pakistan is the one doing wrong here, because every Pakistani authority figure knows exactly where the problem is coming from and completely refuses to do anything about it”

    Jimmy, did it occur to you that the reason both of those statements are true is because of the blithering idiot in the white house handing untold billions to the terrorist supporting government of Pakistan? You know the guy, you worship and adore him, voted for him twice and would again in a heartbeat. Maybe you should shut your yap since your votes directly caused this problem.

  19. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Its so simple, I never thought of it that way david. If America just didn’t try to use diplomacy to find a way to fight terrorism, none of this would happen.

    Either America cuts off all foreign aid and diplomatic ties to every Islamic country in the world, or we invade all of them militarily. Those must be the only solutions. Or we could just accept terrorism as an inevitability and blame ourselves and die. Geoplolitics is so damn simple.

    Oh ya, and its not the Islamists fault themselves, it is Bush’s fault because Pakistani Muslims can never be held morally responsible for what they do because they have no capacity to be inspired by fanatic religious ideology. Only white people or Jews like Bush and Ariel Sharon have the intelectual capacity for that kind of thing.

    …I don’t want to hear another word about talking with Iran coming out of your keyboard.

  20. david Says:

    Wow, where to start Jimmy. I guess you think handing out billions to a terroist supporting brutal dictator equals diplomacy. No wonder you think Bush is a great president.

    “Either America cuts off all foreign aid and diplomatic ties to every Islamic country in the world, or we invade all of them militarily. Those must be the only solutions. Or we could just accept terrorism as an inevitability and blame ourselves and die. Geoplolitics is so damn simple.”– So instead of anything even remotely resembling reality, you blither forth this gem.

    Bottom line, if you could hear anything but your own droning horse manure, is that we should try actual diplomacy instead of bribery and support of terrorist scum.

    Now, resume your tired rants of talking points that have failed so miserably over and over and over again.

  21. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    So instead of anything even remotely resembling reality, you blither forth this gem.

    and then you say this:

    I guess you think handing out billions to a terroist supporting brutal dictator equals diplomacy

    So it is realty that the Bush administration went to Musharaf , and now Zadari and says, “take this money and use it only to fund Islamic terrorism. Do not use it to fight them.” That’s reality? Whatever they are trying may not be working, but you really think the United States is deliberately funding Islamic terrorists in Pakistan? Are you one of these 9/11 conspiracy theorists who thinks the Bush administration worked with the Bin Laden family to take down the WTC?

    How do you suggest the United States address the situation of Islamic terrorists who base themselves in Pakistan and launch attacks globally? Should we work with the leadership of Pakistan to help them fight the terrorists in their midst, or does Pakistan need a decade of sanctions or a regime change like Saddam Hussein? Or do we not do anything and hope terrorists will like us better and leave us alone? You really have to pick one of those. If there is another alternative let me know.

  22. TerenceC Says:

    Jimmy, The US has been completely ineffective in the war against terror – the attacks increase every year in scope and volume. Despite all the tough talk, the political ass covering, even the long lines at the air port – the philosophy is completely inept. The US war against terror is the same thing as the US war on drugs – ton’s of money spent attacking a hydra; the problems get worse every year and the money becomes a “main stream” part of the economy due to the cure. How many times can they claim to kill the number two guy before you admit that something is really f’d up? I would like to think that there are some responsible policy makers in our government, unfortunately there is no track record of that being the case. The cold war ends and the war on terror begins. The Republican led US government can only operate when they have an external enemy to focus our defense spending. Otherwise, the “adults” in the government may actually decide that $711 billion a year is simply far too great a cost. Our population suffers due to lack of medical care, poor schools, crumbling roads, an imploding industrial base, a petroleum based economy in need of serious reform – but nobody in government seems to have the political will to fix the problems that are so clear to millions upon millions of Americans. The war on terror is not the sole responsibility of the US tax payer, it is not a military responsibility – it is the responsibility of every freedom loving government throughout the world. The war on terror is best executed through effective police actions with global coordination – not unilateral military action headed up by an anti-intellectual, narrow minded blow hard from the liberal elite wing of the Republican party. Every country harboring terrorists is a victim of terrorism, every country fighting terrorists is a victim of terrorism. Both India and Pakistan have suffered from terrorists, and for either country to go to war over something like this is ridiculous. It sounds like a James Bond movie or something – Blowfeld manipulating countries into war so that he can take power in the aftermath. India and Pakistan won’t go to war – they need to work together (along with the rest of us) to figure out who “Blowfeld” really is.

  23. david Says:

    Terence, very well put, unfortunately, Jimmy simply can’t understand anything you or anyone else says. His glorious hero W, or any other stooge with an R after his name is always right. No other options are even remotely viable so he spews out moronic strawman scenarios and then proudly claims that you obviously support them. You would think that after being horribly wrong about almost everything for the last 8 years he would learn to just shut up, but learning is not possible for the truly brainwashed. Jimmy, why don’t you just rock yourself to sleep by singing Barack The Magic Negro over and over and rolling at your brilliant humor?

  24. david Says:

    Jimmy- ” but you really think the United States is deliberately funding Islamic terrorists in Pakistan?”

    When did I say anything about deliberate? The problem is that your idiot hero W didn’t care what they were doing with the money nor ever check and you refuse to hold him or yourself (for repeatedly voting for him and blindly worshipping him) responsible. As for the rest of your drivel, anyone smart enough to see that Bush is a complete failure is not some kind of nutcase. Actually, anyone too stupid to realize that everything he tried failed miserably probably is.

  25. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    No other options are even remotely viable so he spews out moronic strawman scenarios and then proudly claims that you obviously support them. …When did I say anything about deliberate?

    When did I say that W was my Hero or that he was waging the war on Islamic Jihad effectively? Who is building strawmen here?

    Don’t worry, Obama is now president, and we will go back to fighting terrorism like we fight drugs…Just as John Kerry said, that terrorism was a “nuisance like prostitution or gambling.” Those killer drugs that pop out of nowhere and consciously fly planes into buildings in the name of Allah.

    Terrence, was it a mistake for America to invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban from power? Whether or not the strategy or tactics were effective, was it right to try? Because we had to go to war to do it. Do you support the war in Afghanistan? Michael Moore and Ralph Nader do not. Do you?

  26. TerenceC Says:

    Afghanistan is a NATO activity and not subject to unilateral US action – and the Taliban are still there and increasing in power because we haven’t finished the job. The half-assed activity in Afghanistan has only exacerbated the issues while increasing the regional power of Iran, the drug lords throughout the area, and destabilized any progressive Pashtun leadership that could have helped control the border with Pakistan. Pakistan has been a victim of this war as much as any country – and a weak Afghanistan is a huge part of their problem. I think the recent terror attacks in India only succeeded in moving 4 Pakistani divisions from the Western frontier to the Southern frontier and effectively squashing any possibility of Pakistani pressure on the Pashtun regions in their own country.

  27. Nell Gumby Says:

    @Terrence C


    “The US has been completely ineffective in the war against terror – the attacks increase every year in scope and volume. Despite all the tough talk, the political ass covering, even the long lines at the air port – the philosophy is completely inept.”


    I completely agree with you. Now, 4 years later, despite the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, you only have to look back through 4 years of news footage to see the staggering amount of US ineptitude that has unfolded since 2008.

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