PM signals end of strategic restraint era

Drawing comparisons between the Indian Army’s surgical strikes to Israel’s actions against its enemies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday gave loud indications that India’s conventional policy of “strategic restraint” is over.

Sources say that in order to call Pakistan’s bluff on using nuclear weapons, India may change its nuclear doctrine to allow for proportionate or proportionate-plus responses to nuclear attacks while simultaneously building a decisive hard-power edge to signal credibility (deterrence by punishment).

Addressing his parivartan rally in Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Modi, while praising the Army’s valour, said that they have attained the same feat as Israel. “These days, the whole nation is talking about the bravery of our army. Our army is not less than anyone. We used to hear about similar feats from Israel, but today, everyone knows Indian Army is no less capable,” he said. Israel is known for its targeted military strikes against enemy countries and militant outfits.

Last June, Israel’s Ambassador in India, Daniel Carmon, while supporting Indian Army’s crossing over to Myanmar to destroy the camps of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), had said that the international community should respect the right of countries to protect their boundaries and values.

Over the past many weeks, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has credited the Prime Minister and the government’s “guts” in authorising the raids, which were seen as a response to the attack in Uri, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani terrorists. The Congress has called these statements as BJP’s attempts at drawing political capital out of the army operation ahead of assembly elections in UP.

Underscoring his commitment to the welfare of armed forces, Modi said that his government had fulfilled its promise of One Rank, One Pension for ex-servicemen, an issue which he said had been hanging for over 40 years.

Previous governments, he said, duped the people by making tall claims and some of them even allocated Rs 200 crore-500 crore, but never did an analysis of the cost burden and how it could be executed.

“I did it and was puzzled to find that the economic burden kept rising. It worked out to be more than Rs 10,000 crore,” he said, adding that it was difficult for any government to make such a big allocation in one go. Modi said he spoke to the armed forces and offered to release the money in four instalments to which they agreed. “Over Rs 5,500 crore in first installment has been given. A promise hanging fire for the last 40 years has been fulfilled,” he said.

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