Monday, March 20, 2017

Beware the Counter-Message

In the face of repeated Pakistani-backed terror attacks inside India, India is responding in kind on the ground with (non-terroristic) ground raids to avoid higher levels of conflict that might escalate to nuclear warfare. That works until Pakistan reacts.

This is a new form of Indian retaliation against Pakistani efforts inside India:

Since 2015 Indian special operations troops have carried out two successful cross border raids where the special operations troops went in on foot at night, carrying all their weapons with them, attacking an enemy base (Indian tribal rebels in Burma in 2015 and Islamic terrorists in Pakistan Kashmir in 2016). In both cases the commandos went in with heavy loads, quickly marched long distances in the dark, carried out their attack (expending most of the heavier weapons) and then quickly marched back into India via another route without being detected or intercepted. The commandos involved reported that their biggest problem was not the dark or the enemy, but the weight of the gear they had to carry.

The problem with a publicized Indian policy to reassure Indian voters that the government doesn't consider dead Indian civilians and troops acceptable collateral damage is that Pakistan in now pushed to respond to a policy that highlights what Pakistan doesn't want to highlight--their support for "good" terrorism.

So Pakistan has incentive to work very hard to intercept those Indian special forces entering or leaving Pakistan. This will show their own civilians that India is a threat that justifies budgets and a lot of political power for the Pakistani military.

What will India do if Pakistan cuts off the Indian special forces on the way out?

Will India let their force be wiped out or captured?

Or is there a rescue plan that starts with a battalion of helicopter-borne Indian infantry with artillery support and ends with a heavy division functioning as an "integrated battle group"--ready under Cold Start--pushing into Pakistan backed by air power?

And now we have a higher level of conflict when both countries have nukes and short flight times.

Pakistan has played a dangerous game. India has been forced to respond in kind.

Have a super sparkly South Asian day.

Oh, the bulk of the Strategypage post quoted focuses on the ongoing infantry load weight issue, which is useful even thought the potential nuclear escalation angle is what disturbed me.