In a clear departure from past practices, the Govt authorized the Indian armed forces to launch an attack on terrorist camps outside its boundary. Kudos to the Indian Army and the Air Force for a sterling display of professionalism and jointmanship. However, if such an action needs to be repeated, the militants are unlikely to be taken by surprise and own casualties may become inevitable. PM Modi rightly stated that he would not accept Indian casualties anywhere in the world. Thus if Indians fall prey to terrorists outside our own country, a repeat of such actions may also be inevitable.
Mark Mazzetti in his book ‘The Way of the Knife’ has brought out how the Americans have been using killer drones and special forces to deadly effect all across the globe. Operations using drones ensure min loss of life to our own forces, while inflicting maximum damage to the terrorists. In the long term if India wants to assert its hegemony in the subcontinent as also dissuade our not so friendly neighbours from stoking the fires of Jehad or militancy, it is imperative that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs) be used for the destruction of training camps, hideouts and other militant infrastructure. Technically, it may be possible that such action be initiated from within our own territory. Though use of ground forces cannot be ruled out altogether, maximum use of UAVs will certainly minimize losses and ensure morale is not adversely affected.
While we may have got away with our transgression into a nieghbouring sovereign state in Myanmar, a similar action in Pakistan would raise the risk many notches. With Pakistan, the risk of further escalation would be too great to be hazarded. The need therefore of acquiring the capability of carrying out surgical strikes into enemy territory either through drones or a combination of ground troops and UAVs is inescapable. Such strikes though a transgression into foreign soil might just pass as a 26/11 type attack and thus, might just be worth the risk.