Two terrorist attacks in J&K, one on either side of the Pir Panjal Range has angered the Indian state to the point of no return. The first attack in Poonch was fortuitously detected in time and all the four terrorists who had sneaked in were eliminated before they could cause mayhem. In the second incident, which occurred a week later on 18 September on the Army’s Brigade HQ at Uri, the four terrorists got lucky, when they managed to achieve surprise and kill 18 soldiers sleeping in a tent, before being eliminated in a swift gun battle. The two incidents were similar, but only the attack on Uri caused outrage, because the terrorists were successful in their venture. This highlights the weakness in our response to state sponsored terrorism by Pakistan. An incident does not become an act of terror only if it is successful. It remains so, if it was intended to cause terror. The Indian state and the Armed Forces must treat every incident of terror, whether successful or not as an Act of War and respond accordingly. Only then will there be deterrence in the minds of the Pakistani sponsors of terrorist violence.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that their will be costs to Pakistan for this blatant act of aggression in the diplomatic, economic, social and military domains. The isolation of Pakistan has begun, and a military response was delivered on 29 September with elimination of some terrorist bases in seven surgical strikes. If Pakistan now escalates the conflict, India must respond with even greater vigour. The Rubicon has been crossed and their is no turning back now.

We also need to deal with China, which is fighting a proxy war with India, using Pakistan as a stooge. How that should manifest is a work in being, but unfortunately, we seem to be losing the plot here as Chinese goods continue to be marketed by the government at the cost of Indian industry. Besides defence needs, Make in India must look into the requirements of Indian industry too. Chinese products can well kill the Indian manufacturing base in certain key sectors. One example is given below.

The electricity transmission grid is the life line of the country and ceramic insulators have played a vital role in building the same over the years. Yet, there is a sudden surge, led by the Power Grid Corporation of India, in replacement of the ceramic insulators, which are predominantly made in India, with polymeric insulators, (also referred to as composite insulators), made in China. This will not only effectively kill Indian industry, but is fraught with grave long term security implications as well. Polymeric insulators do give some advantages in polluted areas and are undoubtedly cheaper, but have a shorter life cycle of 8 to 15 years as compared to ceramic insulators which last for up to 30 to 40 years. The attraction of cheaper initial cost does not hold true if the entire life cycle costs are determined, but still the likes of Power Grid is adopting these insulators in the transmission lines at the expense of Indian industry. This is shortsightedness of the worst kind as it will lead over time to closure of the ceramic insulator industry in India, depriving thousands of people from jobs. That certainly will be a setback to the Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative.

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