TO WAR... A REALISTIC STUDY OF ALL POSSIBILITIES:
AIR STRIKES ON PoK TERROR CAMPSIAF's ground attack planes-MiG-27s, Jaguars-and helicopter operations can accomplish it.Targets: All terror training camps. Risks: Enemy already prepared with radar, surface-to-air missiles and interceptors. No surprise will be achieved.Gains: Low-cost engagement; little adverse world reaction.
MISSILE STRIKES ON TERROR CAMPSThe Prithvis, armed with conventional warheads or fuel-air explosives, can accomplish it in a few hours.Targets: All terror training camps.Risks: The enemy may retaliate with its missiles elsewhere. There could be loss of precious Prithvis. They would be more cost-effective if used against advancing armoured columns and other hard targets.Gains: No danger to Indian lives.
AIR-LAND ATTACK INTO PoKSoften enemy positions with air attacks and artillery, and make a thrust with the infantry.Targets: Airfields, helipads, military installations at Skardu, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad, and defensive positions across the Line of Control (LoC). Risks: Long-drawn operation in difficult mountain terrain. India would be accused of crossing the LoC. (This would be the reversal of Kargil when India adhered to the LoC.)Gains: Territorial gain in Kashmir. India can assert that it was only taking what had been snatched away from it.
ALL-OUT CONVENTIONAL WARBomb or missile-strike on enemy nuclear assets, airfields, armoured concentrations, command-control structures, communication centres, bridges and roads. A quick armoured thrust from Rajasthan and check enemy's armoured thrust into Punjab. Block Arabian Sea and sea lanes to choke oil supply. Pound Karachi to smithreens.Targets: All airfields, corps headquarters (Karachi, Bahawalpur, Multan, Lahore, Gujranwala, Mangla and Rawalpindi) and lower formations. Missile armouries at Sargodha, Gujranwala, Okara, Multan, Jhang and Dera Nawab Shah as well as Karachi and Gadar ports.Risks: Surprise gone after five months of mobilisation. Enemy ready. Heavy man and material loss. India will be seen as an aggressor. Outside powers may intervene. High political costs. Pakistan may exercise nuclear option since it knows it cannot counter India conventionally. Thus, there is a high risk of escalation.Gains: A repeat of 1971 when India established its conventional superiority. Destruction of enemy military machine, which will take long to rebuild. Total destablisation of Pakistan.
ALL-OUT WARHaving foreclosed a nuclear first strike, India will not go for it. If Pakistan's nuclear assets are not taken out in the early stages of the operation, Pakistan will certainly escalate the war. India's mobile missile launchers may survive a Pakistan first strike and hit back obliterating Pakistan.Targets: Same as above. Risks: All the risks of a nuclear war. Global condemnation, and, probably, punitive action.Gains: Virtual elimination of Pakistan from the face of the earth.
.............Let us see what choice our leaders make