Uri Attack - India's options
[Representational Image] Four terrorists breached the security cordon of Indian Army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir on 18 September 2016 and launched hand grenades on Indian positions, killing 17 soldiers in the process. In Picture: Indian army soldiers take their positions near the site of a gun battle between Indian security forces and militants on the outskirts of Srinagar 21 February 2016.Reuters

The attack on an Indian Army base in Uri, about 100km from Srinagar, has shocked and angered people across the country. It led to the death of 17 soldiers, while 30 were injured. All the four terrorists were also shot dead in a firefight that lasted three hours.

There have been strong reactions from defence and political establishments, and even the opposition political parties have joined the chorus to act tough on Pakistan using terror as its state policy.

Tempers were seen flaring up in newsroom studios of some TV channels on Sunday, where former Indian Army commanders and security analysts articulated the need for the Narendra Modi government to take strong steps against any future Pakistani terror designs.

G Parthasarathy, former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, went on record saying that India can choose from a "wide range of options" to deal with the current situation. He suggested a response that is a mix of diplomatic and multilateral factors.

Some analysts have asked the government to come out with a mature and well-thought out strategic response to counter Pakistan.

But what are the options available with the government that might pressurise the Pakistani establishment to stop supporting and sponsoring terrorism.

Here we look at some of the options that have already been discussed and suggested by experts with years of experience in the field.

Military option: Several former Army Generals have asked the government to keep the "military option open" in order to deal with Pakistanis exporting terror. Lt Gen BS Jaswal (retired), former GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, has advised the government to "strike at certain places" as Pakistan repeatedly strikes terror in India using its proxies.

India could engage Pakistan without triggering a war. A conventional war with Pakistan, without its nuclear connotations, is difficult to comprehend.

Experts have spoken about what they call "shoot and scoot tactic," where the Indian armed forces attack known terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and return destroying the terror infrastructure.

Covert war: India has already touched the Pakistani nerves by speaking openly about Balochistan and Pakistan is already aware of how it can heat things up. But according to The Wire, India does not have the "wherewithal" and such operations need several years of preparation.

Trade blockade: India could enforce a trade blockade with Pakistan and downgrade its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.

Declare Pakistan a terror state: Going by the recent tweets by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, where he called Pakistan a "terrorist state," and the need to "identify and isolate" it, this might be the new narrative for the country to deal with Pakistan.

Moreover, the Bharatiya Janata Party has asked the government to boycott Pakistan and declare it as a terror state.

Name and shame Pakistan at international forums: Recently, India upped the ante against Pakistan by raising the issue of human rights abuse in Balochistan, Gilgit- Baltistan and PoK. Many analysts have asked the government to publicise Pakistan's terror track record and human rights abuse at all the international forums, including the SAARC, BRICS and the UN.

However, some reports suggest that this strategy has its limits as the global community may not be willing to play dice with India. China, the all-weather-friend of Pakistan, might block India's moves.

Isolate Pakistan: As the western countries deal with the scourge of international terrorism and its financing, India must isolate Pakistan as it has been the "global epicentre of terrorism."

Targeted sanctions: Experts have also suggested that India impose targeted sanctions against Pakistani Army, its current and former generals, their family, think-tanks and the Fauji Foundation, largest business conglomerate in Pakistan.

Step up intelligence and surveillance: India can step up and expand its intelligence gathering and put all its bases under increased aerial surveillance. This might allow India to possibly foresee terrorist attacks.

But by doing so, it would put a lot of stress on its resources, which might take a toll on both the man and the machine, be it drones or helicopters.

Hurt its money laundering and drug business: India needs to fix its Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and make it an effective tool to hurt money laundering mechanisms in Pakistan. Major Pakistan-backed terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba finance their operation in India by using the informal financial system, locally known as hawala channels.

Pakistan has been allowing well-knit syndicate and trans-national criminals to operate and traffic drugs from its territory into India. India needs to step up war against money laundering and drug operations in India.

Multi pronged approach: The government can go in for a well-calibrated multi-pronged approach that can include some of the above options to nail Pakistan on terror.

During the previous attacks on armed forces, experts had suggested naval blockade of Karachi. It can also strike Jaish-e-Mohammed headquarters in Bahawalpur.

Nevertheless, former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh had previously made peace overtures to Pakistan, which though did not achieve its ultimate goal of resolving the issues or bringing peace between them, but, resulted in 2003 ceasefire and considerable reduction in violence and infiltration in Kashmir Valley. The government has to opt wisely how to deal with Pakistan and this might define PM Modi's prime-ministership.

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