‘Keep military option open’, veterans tell govt

New Delhi : Enraged over the terror attack on an army battalion in Uri, former army generals today sought urgent action against Pakistan, including keeping the “military option open” to deal with terror from its soil. “We must have our military option open, if required to strike at certain places,” Lt Gen (Retd) B S Jaswal said here.

“Bring pickets, which have launch pad to the ground, raze them to the ground. The reason is that till the time it does not hurt Pakistan physically, they would not respect (rpt) respect our decency,” Jaswal, who was GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, said.

“Pakistan keeps doing it (terror strikes) again and again knowing that we would not take any action,” Major (Retd) Gaurav Arya, who has expertise in Jammu and Kashmir security situation, said.

The problems in Kashmir are “systematically manufactured” at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, he alleged, adding “We must take immediate action. Stop trade with Pakistan, downgrade (its) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. The world must know we are serious.”

Questioning the absence of two service chiefs at the meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take stock of the situation after the attack, former army chief Gen Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury said these actions were coming from Pakistan.

“We have this meeting chaired by No 2 in the Government, that is the Home Minister, where the RAW chief and CRPF chief are present. Who is doing these actions (terror attacks)? It is coming from across the border, from Pakistan,” he said.

“Is the CRPF chief going to look at Pakistan? Where are the Chief of Army and Chief of Naval Staff? Why they were not available to give (advice on) strategic action to the Government,” he asked.

Retired Brig Anil Gupta accused Pakistan of causing instability in the Valley. He said the attack was “a matter of serious concern for India and is a desperate attempt by Pakistan to ensure the current turmoil in Kashmir doesn’t end.”

“Pakistan, despite all the criticism and the problems its facing, is hell bent on encouraging terrorism inside Kashmir,” Gupta said. Commenting on the attack, Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said “preventing suicide attack is difficult, but damage control is always possible.”

In a series of tweets, the former GOC 15 and 21 Corps said such attacks were “a different type of warfare. Understand its nuances. (There is) No fool proof guarantee anywhere. The main danger is of suicide bombing not witnessed since 2004.”

Hasnain said “Be clear, warnings do not matter in this. A determined small group can get through. Never 100 per cent proofing against it.” In the same vein, Lt Gen (Retd) K J Singh, who retired in July as Western Army Commander, said “No defences are fool proof”, though we aim to make it so but the essence is reaction.