India has always been considered a soft state and it is time we shed this image.

Writing at Truthout, J. Sri Raman is quoting senior BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party –sort of India’s Likkud) leader Yashwant Sinha, who also says (emphasis added), “India should reserve the right of surgical strikes and hot pursuit against Pakistan irrespective of the consequences.”

Sinha is speaking about the U.S. attack on the bin Laden compound. (Never mind the consequences, such as, shortly afterwards, the twin bomb attacks on the Frontier Constabulary in Shabqadar, Charsadda, Pakistan that killed 80.) As Raman writes:

One of the very first questions raised in India by the [SEAL attack] was whether this was or was not an example for this country to emulate. “Yes,” said India’s extreme right and the security “experts” that give its rhetoric some respectability. They continue their campaign for a similar operation or series of operations from New Delhi to eliminate sources of anti-India terrorism seen to be harbored on Pakistani soil.

Of course

The demand is not entirely new. [For example, the] question that the Bush-ordered aggression on Iraq . . . provoked was: should not India, too, support “pre-emptive” strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan and the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir?

Raman also cites

. . . a pro-covert-action propagandist as saying, “If a Pakistan-based terrorist group carries out strikes against civilians in Mumbai … India must be able to assassinate its leaders and their financiers.”

For his part, Raman adds

Don’t the words sound eerily like someone speaking from the White House in early May?

But no one throws down the gauntlet with as much of a vengeance as Indian national security advisor Bharat Karnad, who Raman quotes.

Does the … government, encouraged by the successful action to finish off Osama, have the guts, gumption, but mostly the will, to rethink its … attitude, when it comes to doing what any self-respecting country would do when under terrorist threat – bump off those responsible in a major way for terrorist strikes within India?

After a grievous wound like the Mumbai attack, India would be better advised to concentrate more on making sure it never happens again than worrying about vengeance. Especially because, to terrorists, punishment is of zero value as a deterrent.

Meanwhile, as India pumps up the volume on calls for revenge and as the TTP (Pakistan’s Tehrik-i-Taliban) demonstrate more stealth and skill in its attacks within Pakistan, what’s to stop Pakistan from claiming that India is responsible?

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