While there may be utility of surgical strikes, Rajnath Singh’s claim that infiltration has dropped 45% since the 29 September strikes may be premature
A press release by the Indian Army on Saturday revealed that as many as 13 armed intruders had been eliminated in the previous four days.
The killings took place within one week of home minister Rajnath Singh claiming that infiltrations by terrorists had dropped by 45% since the 29 September surgical strikes carried out by Indian forces against terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control.
A recent paper by Arka Biswas of the Observer Research Foundation argues that the surgical strikes “strengthen deterrence stability in South Asia” by adding a layer of Indian response below what was envisioned in the so-called Cold Start doctrine, and thus rendering “Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons irrelevant”.
While Biswas largely appreciates the utility of surgical strikes, Singh’s claim may be premature. Data on infiltration for at least a year or two would be needed to weed out factors such as snowfall, better frontier policing and a change in Pakistan’s strategy from pushing infiltrators to taking advantage of local discontent.