Model Question and Answers for APSC | The terms ‘Hot Pursuit’ and ‘Surgical Strikes’ are often used in connection with armed action against terrorist attacks. Discuss the strategic impact of such actions.
The terms ‘Hot Pursuit’ and ‘Surgical Strikes’ are often used in connection with armed action against terrorist attacks. Discuss the strategic impact of such actions.
Ans: "Hot pursuit" and "surgical strikes" are terms used to describe two different types of military actions that can be taken against terrorist attacks.
Hot pursuit refers to a situation where a military force crosses the border of a country in order to pursue and engage a group of terrorists who have carried out an attack on the pursuing country's territory. Example: On 9 June 2015, India conducted a cross-border strike code name Operation Hot Pursuit against insurgents belonging to NSCN-K. According to India, the operation took place in Myanmar and it was in response to an ambush of an Indian Army convoy of 6 Dogra Regiment in Chandel district of Manipur.
New Counter-Insurgency (CI) Strategy: In June 2015, India openly confirmed the adoption of a new counter-insurgency (CI) strategy, that of actually crossing international borders to strike at anti-India insurgents, including those from the Northeast, who carry out hit-and-run raids taking advantage of their shelters in adjoining nations like Myanmar.
The strategic impact of Hot pursuit:
• The strategic impact of hot pursuit can be significant because it shows a willingness on the part of the pursuing country to take aggressive action against terrorists, regardless of national borders.
• It can also serve as a deterrent to future attacks, as terrorist groups may be less likely to launch an attack knowing that they could be pursued across national borders.
• A well-plotted strategy executed to the tee, without any casualties, took down enemy camps and brought enough evidence to show those in denial.
• Demoralised terrorist organisations: The pro-activeness in taking down infiltrators on their home-ground had a huge impact on demoralising the forces planning India’s destruction.
Surgical strikes, on the other hand, refer to targeted attacks against specific individuals or groups believed to be involved in terrorist activities. These strikes are typically carried out with precision and minimal collateral damage, and can have a significant impact on the morale and operational capabilities of terrorist groups.
Example: Twelve days after the Pulwama attack, in an aerial surgical strike, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror-training camp in Balakot in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The strategic impact of surgical strikes:
• It can be twofold: first, they can disrupt the operations of terrorist groups by eliminating key individuals or destroying critical infrastructure; and second, they can serve as a warning to other groups that the pursuing country is willing and able to take decisive action against them.
• Demonstration of its capability and approach to counter terror: India declared to the world that it had conducted such a strike. It sent out a clear message that India will no longer sit and tolerate terror on its soil.
• The country is capable of answering the enemy in its own language and will not succumb to international pressure of any kind. In earlier instances, we would hold ourselves back owing to the ramifications any such act would have internationally.
• A fine balance is reflected between political leadership, military capabilities and strategic competence of the two establishments.
• After the surgical strikes when the government unequivocally supported the army action, many countries endorsed India’s move.
• The strikes proved to be an important element for maintaining the morale of the people of India and the armed forces.
• The number of civilian casualties due to terror attacks, outside of a conflict zone, has reduced. Dreaded terror groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda have failed in their persistent attempts to target India and the country’s interests.
The surgical strikes and hot pursuit operations conducted by the Indian Armed Forces have certainly bolstered their confidence. These operations have demonstrated the Indian military's ability to carry out precise and effective strikes against terrorist targets across the border, thereby sending a strong message to hostile forces.