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Surgical Strikes – Who got benefited?

The surgical strikes have largely dominated the electronic and print media for last couple of days. Here we will try to analyze who got benefited out of the same.

Notwithstanding any idea herewith, the maximum credit should go to the men in uniform (Indian Army) who risk their lives and executed it to perfection without which all this wouldn’t have been possible. Indeed, our safety is indebted to the military and we cannot thank them enough for their service.

Before we go about analyzing the event which was very smartly engineered, it is necessary to understand some of the influencing factors surrounding it. The first news of surgical strike was published on September 21, 2016. If we analyze the stories and the statement of DGMO Lt Gen. Ranbir Singh, they were pretty much in the same sense, both of which included crossing the LOC, ‘Striking Terrorist Launch pads’ and returning safely. We should still give this aspect a benefit of doubt based on the tweet of PIA spokesperson with regards to the flying restrictions in the region, while the same incident (surgical strikes) was confirmed by the military few days after the story hit the media.

Now let us briefly scrutinize as to who were benefited by the ‘surgical strikes’.

Armed Forces: It was believed during the 2014 elections that once Narendra Modi comes to power, there will be change in the way Pakistan is dealt with, and some news reports even suggested the same during initial days of the current government. However, on the contrary there was disappointment with respect to “handling Pakistan” by Modi Government, as we see the number of Army casualties in J&K region not declining if not increasing, since May 2014. This is somewhat seen as a low in Modi’s scorecard.  Whatever change they collectively decided in terms of dealing with Pakistan was not having a positive impact from the Army’s point of view. If you would ask few army officers, not one who may be your neighbor but a few of them, as to how they motivate their subordinates when the news is filled with scams, tainted politicians, policy paralysis and so on. You will more or less hear that ‘Jawaans’ live in an altogether different world which runs parallel to our world and that their motivation factors are different from the people working in a corporate world. Comparing 8-10 years ago when news channels were not so hawkish and social media was limited to urban and educated population who had easy internet access, to today, when both the factors of media have changed it hard to perceive the magnitude of affect these news would have on the Jawaans. The killing of 18 Jawaans in the fashion as was done in Uri would have surely angered and possibly demotivated the men in uniform. As such a response was required to motivate these men and to keep them going. It takes no guessing that today they are more motivated than they were after Uri.

BJP and its supporters: There were four topics on which BJP based its 2014 election campaign. These were Scams of UPA 1 and 2, excessive control of the ‘mother and son duo’ of the Prime Minister, Black Money, and how to deal with Pakistan. On the topic of Pakistan, Mr. Narendra Modi left no stone unturned and exploited it well to his advantage, while other BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj also joined the chorus. Some of the phrases used by Mr. Modi were “Stop writing love letters to Pakistan”, which referred to dossiers related to 26/11, “giving Pakistan a response in its own language” ie. dealing through an eye for an eye. But what actually occurred in the first couple of years is a complete U-turn of BJPs election campaign. From incidents like inviting Pakistani PM for his swearing in ceremony, to making an unplanned visit with birthday wishes and “Biryani-party”, these tunes didn’t resonate well with his voters rhythm and some were quite unhappy and vocal about it. Uri attack added insult to the injury and supporters started becoming detractors, this was pretty much visible on Twitter where anti-Modi hashtags kept on trending for three days. With the confirmation of surgical strike by DGMO these supporters who had become detractors started believing that there actually exists a 56-inch chest. Hence Mr. Modi and his supporters were undoubtedly one of the beneficiaries of the surgical strike by the military.

Electronic Media: Electronic media was one of the largest strike even without being a participant to it. While the official statement had very few details about the time, place, casualties etc, the electronic media was making hay when the sun was shining. From giving details of location, method of operation followed the number of casualties and the number of military personnel used, the electronic media pretty much surpassed all the limits that one can set on imagination. What was more funny is that they were quoting all these details from their sources in military but none of them had any numbers matching their reports. The numbers only matched in the area which were struck by the strike. One could smell the western mainstream media’s behavior where they are prepared to cover the microscopic details and analysis of the event, hours or minutes after the event occurs.

Nawaz Sharif: It takes no guessing that no one knows how much control does the democratically elected government has vis-à-vis that of the military. This has been a dilemma for every diplomat or government who has dealt with Pakistan. The general belief is that the Pakistani Army chief is the ultimate boss and he has the final say in most of the matters with regards to military and foreign policy. Many conspiracy theorists believe that the surgical strike was a tool through which Nawaz Sharif plans to get better control by showing that their military is inefficient. Some even go to the extent of claiming that it was a well-planned activity to achieve this purpose.

Patriotism: Surgical strike has incited a new wave of patriotism into our country and if there was a meter to gauge the level of patriotism, this would be one of the highest in terms of patriotism. While patriotism is high in India, Pakistan too has capitalized on this opportunity. Starting with denying a surgical strike and calling it imaginary and following up with videos of ceasefire violation where Indian soldiers get killed in an unprovoked manner, they too have made most of the current situation in flying patriotism high in Pakistan.

To summarize, it suffices to say that the whole incident is a win-win for all parties involved. As the Military performed its task beautifully, meanwhile the Government has used the incident for their political benefits.

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