October 02, 2023

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2019: A year of tectonic shifts in Indian politics - Part1

 If not a week, a year is definitely a long time not only in politics but also in the life of a nation. And what a momentous year2019 was? Year2019 will be celebrated pompously and boisterously by those who yearned for shifts and turns that India has taken. It will be recorded by discerning historians, intellectuals, columnists and commentators for the paradigm shifts India as nation witnessed in its policies related to national security, judicial pronouncements, mainstreaming of politics that was questioned, derided, lampooned and rejected by 'intelligentsia' of India merely half a decade back. 

India2019 was an arrival of a confident nation whose policies and ideas are in tune with time and reality and supremely focused on its national interest. In this series, we will focus on major events and their lasting impacts on our national life. Part 1 is focused on Pulwama attack and Balakot retaliation.

The year was an election year for India and banality of politics had given way to euphoria and celebration of biggest democratic festival of India. On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir resulting in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and the attacker. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed. 

The nation was aghast at this dastardly attack and its collective anger was palpable and visible. A befitting revenge was cry of the masses. National security can be a powerful electoral rallying cry for ruling party BJP and Pakistan had amplified it further. Inaction or stoicism or patience was no longer a political choice that PM Modi could exercise in this important year of election.

But this tragic terror incident also provided attractive platform for mass mobilization of public opinion centered on national pride and patriotism, only if retaliation was equally fatal, demonstrably forceful and swift. Modi government chose to move ahead with retaliation option.

In the early hours of February 26th, Indian Air force dispatched 12 Mirage fighter aircraft across the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed a training facility associated with JeM in Balakot. The fighter aircraft returned without an iota of casualty. IAF claimed that Balakot base was completely destroyed and around 300 terrorists. 

The retaliatory strike had many messages embedded in it. It was the first time since the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 that fighter aircraft had crossed the Line of Control.  India was no longer a passive victim crying on international forum about terrorism from Pakistan. As part of national security policy, Pakistan was made to realize the heavy cost of exporting terrorism to India. Even by most conservative account, it was significant escalation after surgical strike post Uri.

Pakistan’s nuclear bluff was given befitting rebuff. Nuclear threat ceased to be an issue in the minds of Indian policy makers and Balakot proved that it is possible to have viable military options below the nuclear threshold. And threshold was incapacitated due to flippancy displayed by Pakistani establishment.

Election2019 reverberated with issues and emotions of national pride. PM Modi returned with full majority and more seats. This election witnessed biggest swing in favor of ruling party in terms of jump in vote percentage. The idea of passivity and redundant talks with belligerent neighbor in the face of unwarranted aggression shown was summarily rejected. A pragmatic, muscular and confident India was reborn.

 To be continued......



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Last modified on Friday, 27 December 2019 21:32
Savyasachi Samdarshi

Savyasachi is a writer, thinker and a motivator. He works in MNC during the day and turns into a writer by night. 

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