‘Mission successful!’ As the Indian Army announced the success of its operation across the Line of Control to take down terror camps and six launch pads in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), the political, strategic and diplomatic machinery of the government swung into action.
The announcement of Indian Army’s “surgical strikes” was made at a joint press conference held by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Defence Ministry, a clear indication that the operation might be military in nature but it was now the time to deal with it diplomatically.
Soon, Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar briefed Ambassadors of 22 countries, including P5 nations, about the Indian operation.
Pakistan, on the other hand has clearly been rattled by India’s warranted but unexpected aggression. Pakistani premiere Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani Army jumped to deny any surgical strikes as claimed by India, but soon went into a huddle. As per reports from the Pakistani media, the Defence Minister was summoned, so was the National Security Advisor.
The PM himself took stock of preparedness along the LoC and has reportedly called a Cabinet meeting on Friday, followed by a joint session of the parliament on October 5. Experts suggest that Pakistan’s denial could signal two things.
First, that Pakistan wishes to de-escalate the aggression building against it and the second that it is waiting to strike back – either in the form of increased terror activities in India or through retaliatory military action.
In either case, the movement along the Indian border are nothing short of a war-like preparation, suggesting that any untoward incident on part of Pakistan could well spell its doom.
The Punjab government has been directed by the central government to evacuate villages in a 10-km belt along the border with Pakistan.
Following a directive by the Union Home Ministry, Punjab government moved to evacuate nearly 1,000 villages in districts of Ferozepur, Fazilka, Amritsar, Taran Tarn, Gurdaspur and Pathankot.
Nearly two lakh people have been evacuated from these villages and the government has provided Rs 1 crore each to these border districts to arrange basic facilities, such as food.
The villagers have been sheltered in schools, community centres and Gurudwaras in nearby villages.
Local authorities used loudspeakers of gurdwaras to announce to residents in the border villages to leave their homes and villages and move to safer zones.
All schools and other institutions in the border belt have been ordered shut. All leave of Punjab Police and medical personnel in the border areas has been cancelled.
Border Security Force (BSF) also started mobilizing additional troops in the area and strengthening the security along the border.
Even politically, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an all-party meeting to brief all political parties of the development to get them on board the on-ground situation.
The meeting was called immediately after DGMO Lt Gen Ranveer Singh announced that the surgical strike on terror launch pads were conducted last night. Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed all political parties about the situation in the wake of India Army’s surgical strike.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Congress President Sonia Gandhi to brief her about the operation.
Just after the announcement, Modi himself briefed President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra and J&K CM Mehbooba mufti.
The message from all sections of the society, civil, corporate and political has been of support. All political parties have congratulated the army and the government for the action and have promised of full support, a win for the BJP on political front.