India: The surgical strike has damaged us more than you, Pakistan

Published: October 12, 2016
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India says it conducted an operation beyond the Line of Control. (LoC) PHOTO: AFP

We don’t know the truth behind the surgical operation. Pakistan denies any kind of extraordinary military intervention in its territory. On the other hand, India says it conducted an operation beyond the Line of Control (LoC). International media, however, takes a nuanced view of the whole affair, distancing itself from the passion that grips domestic media in India and Pakistan.

Not long ago, in June 2015, India claimed to have conducted a surgical operation in Myanmar against the insurgent groups that allegedly killed 18 Indians soldiers in the North Eastern state of Manipur. Myanmar denied any such military strike inside its territory. Indian media went by the government’s narrative and indulged into a great deal of chest thumping. It failed to question the government’s version. On the contrary, the media played along the official line by publishing unconfirmed and unverifiable stories substantiating New Delhi’s claim.

A senior journalist and writer from Manipur, Pradip Phanjoubam, in a scathing article, titled, India’s War Against Itself, in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), exposes the “chest thumping journalists”, who he says, have become “mere stenographer” of the government. Questioning the claims of the government and its journalist minders, Phanjoubam writes that the Modi regime has provided “no clinching evidence of the two strikes” in Myanmar. Therefore, the whole story is to satisfy the Indian sentiment.

When questions were raised about the Myanmar operations last year, the media, along with the ruling party members in particular, ignored them and did not brand doubting thomases as anti-national.

But now, when the same questions are being raised about the ‘surgical strike’ in Pakistan, the chest thumping journalists are terming such scepticism as an unpatriotic act. The questioning of the government is taken as an act of treason. And any kind of dissent is construed as a question on the ability of the Indian army, hence a highly unpatriotic act. The ruling Hindu right wing government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not allowing any debate to take place on this matter, with the media playing as its willing ally, hence the country is now completely polarised.

That being said, the ‘surgical strike’ has not damaged Pakistan, it has actually affected us more. Indians have become the victim of politics that thrive on polarisation and hyper nationalism. This is the kind of politics that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi built his career on.

A man who came to power in 2014 with the promise of economic development has now gone back to doing what he knows best. For the BJP, the image of Modi is its USP. With two and half years in power, the BJP government does not have much to show in terms of achievement – discontentment has, therefore, started brewing amongst a cross section of the society about its overall performance.

Intolerance has reached a new height now. Dissent and questioning the two basic normative behaviour in any democracy are being curbed in the name of nationalism. This is a dangerous trend and pushes India towards the majoritarian path. An atmosphere is being created where common people are being radicalised in the name of nationalism. Masses are led to believe that those questioning the government’s surgical strikes are traitors.

Electronic media has become a willing ally of the government in turning the country into a majoritarian den. We are witness to innumerable instances of the Hindu right wing cadres indulging into bullying to teach a lesson to those who defy their politics. The media sector in India is a bully now, and threatens those who express a liberal instance, opting for peace. They promote bigotry and present jingoism as journalism.

They claim they are doing this to protect the national interest. Is it in the national interest to curb liberal and secular voices? Is it in the national interest to create war hysteria in the subcontinent? Is it in the national interest to have media which promotes intolerance, radicalism, paranoia and creates herd mentality?

Surgical strike in the real sense is aimed at India, not Pakistan. It is a war against liberal and secular India, it is an attack on the voices of sanity, it is a very well calculated attempt to silence the voices of dissent against the government. Moreover, it is a political gimmick to divert the attention of the people from the pressing social, economic and cultural problems that beset the nation today.

There are certain crucial regional elections due next year, the BJP has a lot at stake. The states, like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Punjab had supported Modi back in 2014. The fear is that these states might turn their back on the man when the next elections are held. With Modi’s image at stake, it suits the ruling party to come up with the hype and hoopla about the surgical strike.

sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

The author is a New Delhi based journalist covering South Asian and international politics. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • vinsin

    So did debate took place in US about OBL strike?Recommend

  • IAF101

    LOL “The govt doesn’t have much to show in terms of achievement” ??

    Is that why Modi has overwhelming popularity even 2 and half years after his election?
    Is that why the Indian economy is growing at its fastest pace in over a decade ?

    Indian liberals and pseudo intellectuals are so divorced from reality and the national consensus that today their only recourse is finding resonance to their obscenely ignorantly drivel on Pakistani newspapers.Recommend

  • wb

    Let’s look at things logically. Being a software engineer and having done my engineering from a premiere institute in Electronics and Communications, I’m much much much better with logic and mathematics than somebody who did his M A in journalism.

    Now, allow me to destroy your two face and bigotry.

    S Varadharajan is the guy who exposed Indian navy’s lies that Pakistani terror boat blew itself on 2014 December 31st night. It was later proved that the boat belonged to smugglers, and was blown to bits by Indian coast guards, and this was reported by Dawn itself.

    The same S Varadharajan today independently confirmed after talking to the people across LoC that surgical strikes indeed happened. And it was also proved by CNN IBN expose by talking to Mirpur SP who accepted at least 8 casualties on Pakistani side.

    Now on one hand you hail Varadharajan for exposing the boat lies. But on the other hand you ignore his independent report on surgical strikes.

    This is called bigotry. This is what two-faced people do. In plain words, this is dishonesty.

    Thank you for giving me this opportunity to expose anti-Indian bigots and destroy one of them on his own blog.Recommend

  • Test Test

    Hey Sanjay Kumar, Why dont you go to Pakistan? They may welcome you with open arms. Anyhow we have had enough of you pseudo leftists. As long as we had idiots like you leading the media brigade for so long, you guys were all right. Now that we have much better journalism, you are so worried. Anyhow it seems for you Pakistan is a good role model. Maybe you should go there. Afterall they are the paragon of virtue and equality. They have the model religion that tolerates diversity as well. India from your perspective has never done so, so maybe you should actually shift base.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Right on time. Shows his face. Paid hindu cyber warrior.
    Really! Will write anything dictated by RSS to make his
    Rs. 12.50 for his daily idli and dosa.Recommend

  • Bingo

    So did debate took place in Burma’s surgical strikes?Recommend

  • Bob Chan

    No, the topic is about India. Trying to change the subject usually means your hiding something? I guess even you don’t believe your government?Recommend

  • Rahul

    I think the damage was to your brain!Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    Confirmation bias? Yes I’m the winner because I said so. At least let the person give his opinion to counter claim, I don’t know what you’re saying is true or not.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    Hahaha Calm down, everyone is entitled to have his opinion why so serious ?Recommend

  • farhan

    All right lets stop believing our own media people..look at what UN said..It said that it does not look like surgical strikes happened…Stop being too patriotic which comes to denying logic in both of our nationsRecommend

  • abhi

    I think by “us” Sanjay means pseudo secular like him, and he is right about it.Recommend

  • Lalit

    And when ultimately it is proved that surgical strikes did indeed take place,likes of author would start discussing the negative outcomes of such strikes……that’s called a win win situation….a la head I win,tail you lose kinda stuff.Recommend

  • Critical

    with the advent of social media, these pseudo intellectuals can no longer brainwash the current youth of our country as their lies get exposed …
    Recommend

  • Queen

    Oh no, Mr Kumar, the truth is really gonna hurt Indians, Prepare for the onslaught from your countrymen who can’t stand being shown the mirror.Recommend

  • R.K

    Being good at maths makes you an expert, lolRecommend

  • Sunny

    if highly literate people like u do not see things independently and logically no wonder why india despite having so big population and better track record in civil military relationships than pakistan is still far behind the world and at some numbers behind pakistan.
    Recommend

  • Reddy

    commie back burning since 2014…last resort of commie thugs JNU is also burning since 14..it’s but natural for a commie to cry his sarrows into a toilet hole or a pakistani blog,but iam very much enjoying commie pain…i hope this will pain lasts at least another 15 years,so we can witness communist free indiaRecommend

  • zoro

    I don’t even read your op-ed …. I directly read the comments … all the comments make my day ….
    Recommend

  • Omar K Cheema

    Mirpur SP accepted 8 casualties.
    Cross border firing was also being exchanged during the time that India claims the surgical happened.
    How do you know the 8 casualties took place because of Indian soldiers entering Pakistani territory and firing on the soldiers?
    What if the 8 soldiers were killed by Indian Soldiers during cross border fire?
    Recommend

  • Hassan

    Except India nobody is ready to accept that so called surgical strikes took place…Even U.N.O observers along L.O.C in Kashmir didn’t buy Indian story….Unfortunately Indian masses have been taken for a ride once again…Sorry state of things in India…..Hassan,Srinagar,kashmirRecommend

  • Gujesh

    I think Amichand and Mir Jaffer were more patrioticRecommend

  • FAZ

    It did. Google “Hersh”Recommend

  • ABKhan

    Wow. One of the very few sane voices from IndiaRecommend

  • ABKhan

    Dear WB if you were better than him, today we would have been reading your article not his. Simple logic which a software engineer from a “premiere institute” cannot understandRecommend

  • Wajahat Shafi
  • Wajahat Shafi

    india is not america, plz read the writing on the wall, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX1hAQt-DWIRecommend

  • Gujesh

    Author should watch Munir Saami’s interview by Tahir Gora on youtube. Recommend

  • Dheeraj

    Really, what is so IMPOSSIBLE about Indian Army sneaking across the border? Why is Pakistan so insistent to prove that the strike never happened? Recommend

  • Awais Kaleem
  • Nauman

    Almost had lost faith in India, specifically its journalists/media. Well done for the fair assessment!Recommend

  • Nauman

    it not about capability (according to The Diplomat it is. Pls read: http://thediplomat.com/2016/09/is-india-capable-of-a-surgical-strike-in-pakistan-controlled-kashmir/) but it more about the truth…nothing but usual cross fire across the border happened and ppl in India need to know how much propaganda is being fed to themRecommend

  • Milind A

    This was as much a surgical strike on the bogus secular and leftists in India, as much it was on Pakistan.. Both are reeling in pain after the anaesthesia has worn off and have started wailing incoherently.Recommend

  • wb

    I know because I heard the interview. Go to youtube and listen to the interview. Then you’ll stop asking so many redundant questions.Recommend

  • wb

    We are behind in the world because we carry 15% Muslims on our shoulder. Think.Recommend

  • wb

    Do ctrl+F and type in the word “expert”. And then press enter. You’ll find that the highlight never lands on my previous post.

    Do you understand what this means? Let me spell it out for you. I never used the word expert in my comment, let alone calling myself one.

    I only said, I’m more logical and rational.Recommend

  • wb

    Who cares what she says?!! Not Indians.Recommend

  • wb

    There is not logic in what you wrote. I’m telling you as someone who is infinitely smarter than you are.

    By the way, in the Atlantic Council talk, Mushahid Hussaid said only lies and just one half truth. The half truth was: Hindus are good at maths and Muslims are not.

    The complete truth is: Hindus are excellent in maths and Muslims are horrible at maths.Recommend

  • Rabia Amjad Bajwah

    “Now that we have much better journalism”. No sir you don’t. the world knows it. you can say whatever about pak or these journalist but your journalism is a joke.Recommend

  • Imran

    And Why India is so insistent to prove that the strike did happen?Recommend

  • wb

    No problem. Then, let the man be brave enough to acknowledge the two points I’ve mentioned. Recommend

  • Parvez

    This was less a military operation……and more a media circus. The Indian media got carried away ….it was a case of making a mountain out of a mole hill.Recommend

  • Boro

    Haha, logical.Recommend

  • Boro

    logical? Recommend

  • R.K

    Yes, so your argument doesn’t have any value then? What was the point of posting then? Doesn’t seem logical nor rational.Recommend

  • Normo

    I think reality states otherwise.Recommend

  • R.K

    Only Indians who have an invested interest, matter? How logical and rational.Recommend

  • Niresh

    Key is “when”, if ever.Recommend

  • Niresh

    Education board would disagree.Recommend

  • R.K

    The only rational thing is his wild fantasy, this guy should be called ACP Padhuman with his bollywood logic.Recommend

  • R.K

    Using dubious sources like Youtube. Not rational.Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    No that would be biased, you can’t force people to agree. Not very logical or rational are you? Yet alone, software engineer having relevance to politics with illogical sweeping statementRecommend

  • Norman Castings

    Many would over a self-made software engineer.Recommend

  • Sane

    Jangal mein mor nacha kis ney dekha (peacock danced in the jungle, nobody could see). Now, its time for India to invite Bollywood gurus to make a movie. But, question is who would be the actors.Recommend

  • wb

    Not in India.Recommend

  • wb

    Those are your thoughts. I would never say such a thing.Recommend

  • wb

    Absolutely.Recommend

  • wb

    Youtube is more trustworthyRecommend

  • wb

    I didn’t mention education board. I mentioned Mushahid Hussain. Read my comment Recommend

  • Sane

    Harness you idiot media, who are master of smelling something out of nothing. The govt. of India is yet to give an official statement about the ‘Surgical Strike’ to which your army is incompetent, incapable to plan and lack in courage. What you expect from an army which could not clear out a govt. building till three days occupied by just two persons. Ha…ha…ha…. surgical strike and that also on the soil of Pakistan, which is guarded by world’s best professional, trained and courageous army. No. 1 in the world.Recommend

  • wb

    Thank you.Recommend

  • wb

    Actually, no. Only one who is smart in math can send satellites to mars. And those who are weak in math will hail WATER CARS invented by AGHA WAQAR.

    Guess who those geniuses were, who hailed Agha Waqar’s fraud car?!! Father of your atom bomb, Dr. A Q Khan and Samar Mubarakmand.

    What a tragedy for a dumb country to have these frauds at the helm of affairs.Recommend

  • Sane

    You don’t care anyone saying truth. You are a lair and believe in lies. This is all election winning stunt of Modi. He is making fool all you Indians. Why Govt. of India could not issue an official statement.Recommend

  • Sane

    Because it did not happen. No need to prove. Onus of proof is with India. Internationally also no one could buy the propaganda of ‘Surgical Strike’.Recommend

  • Sane

    ……..full of cheers for the truth you said and mirror shown to Indians.Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    Proves India’s intelligence.Recommend

  • Niresh

    But I did, education board would disagree.Recommend

  • Boro

    Fishing for complements with useless degree?Recommend

  • R.K

    Not really.Recommend

  • R.K

    Who knows, you have trust youtube.Recommend

  • Boro

    Nope.Recommend

  • Ehsan Habib

    Why is that the entire spectrum of events on international horizon deny any thing that India says.
    UN, CNN, BBC, NBC and etc all rubbish the Indians. The very next day entire section of area is opened to international media and guess what ,they came out sending dung on India’s face.
    Only Indians are accepting, the rest nope. Recommend

  • Normo

    Not really, you just pay for it like most countries do which India has done, using western countries. It’s still weird for a country waited until decades to launch satellites if it was good at maths while so many country easily have. Still doesn’t answer my point. Try again.Recommend

  • Normo

    Probably is, still didn’t answer my question.Recommend

  • wb

    haha, Indians should knowRecommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    Yes, yes, we know they were guarding in 1971. They were also guarding when USA conducted a raid inside 500 kms of your country.Recommend

  • Yadev

    You need some help and should seek some professional and seems you have symptoms of Schizophrenia!Recommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    Truth is you have lost your 50% because you believed in lies of your Govt.Recommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    That is why called a special session of parliament. If nothing has happened why to clarify again and again the same thing. Go on denying, that is better for you and all.Recommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    India Govt is never insisting to give proof, it is your Govt that wants proof.Recommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    That is why called a special session of parliament. If nothing has happened why to clarify again and again the same thing. Go on denying, that is better for you and all.Recommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    Listen to Cyril also, read Dawn also my friendRecommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    That is why called a special session of parliament. If nothing has happened why to clarify again and again the same thing. Go on denying, that is better for you and all.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    There you go!!

    The man who can see nothing right with his own is back. You have lost credibility among the Indians from the word go, what you may believe as your credibility among Pakistanis is nothing more than their hatred of the land where you eke out your livelihood without ever being grateful to it.
    Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Christine Fair says:

    A defeat is not a defeat for Pakistan, accepting a defeat is a defeat.

    No wonder, you have never lost a single war going by your understanding of history.

    Don’t respond to me by saying ” But Christine Fair is not UN”Recommend

  • wb

    lol, true.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Still in School?Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    1971 was a victory and Osama never died in Abottabad, basically a conspiracy.

    Sometimes, only sometimes a typical Pakistan brain would blame America for violating its sovereignty and killing Osama if and when it suits them.Recommend

  • Jingis

    It’s better for both India and Pakistan to have talks on Kashmir issue than stupid arms race making others rich. Peace is the best investment in a better future.Recommend

  • http://Toi.com Rishabh ranjan

    Sana u crack real jokes……remember BangladeshRecommend

  • Lakhkar Khan

    Great analysis, very well written article. This sums it up:

    “Intolerance has reached a new height now. Dissent and questioning the
    two basic normative behaviour in any democracy are being curbed in the
    name of nationalism. This is a dangerous trend and pushes India towards
    the majoritarian path.”Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    How many wars did you lose since 1947?

    If you could answer this question, I would know how many times you have faced mirror yourselves.Recommend

  • menon mohan

    This writer has a unique mentality…like he wants fellow Indians “to praise him” every now and then with his articles.Now we “praise him”even with out his articles.Rare species indeed definitely a strategic asset for Pakistan!!Recommend

  • wb

    Only useless degrees are produced by AXact.Recommend

  • wb

    You never asked a single meaningful question.Recommend

  • wb

    Man, please reply when you learn English. Your comment is atrocious. I can’t do anything but laugh.Recommend

  • zoro

    That was a insult by the way … just in case if u dont understand …. and the sarcasm …Recommend

  • wb

    Actually, ET curtailed my comment. I said Youtube is more trustworthy than the India Spain Panama Russia.

    Recommend

  • wb

    Do the basic and follow my instructions.Recommend

  • wb

    No bias. Think. Think a million times. Your’re a failed Pakistani and I’m a successful Indian. Period. That settles the battle between a Pakistani and an Indian.Recommend