Pakistan for last 30 years is constantly bleeding India through her proxy war under the doctrine of death by 1000 cuts. Her intentions are clear to settle unfinished agenda of partition and capture Kashmir through military force.
Every time Pakistan hits to bleed India, be it on attack on parliament or Mumbai or killing Indian soldiers or fueling unrest in Kashmir, the matter is debated in Indian diplomatic think tanks and closed saying that there are no military option available and India must pursue the matter diplomatically with other world powers to put pressure on Pakistan.
Against the Pakistani doctrine of 1000 cuts, Indians are adopting the doctrine of exhaustion in a hope that one day Pakistan and Kashmiris will to resist will die down, so India must hold on the disturbed area with huge deployment of forces by total area domination. Such doctrine not only creates massive hardship to local civilian population but also keeps Indian Military under constant pressure. For sometimes it looked that situation has returned to the normalcy, elections were held with popular mandate and govts started functioning, but again Pakistan is able to fuel unrest bringing Indian govt and military on toes.
Though now relations are under stress but Pakistan is still a US ally and a possibility of US using Pakistan to keep India under pressure to bring her to US terms can not be ruled out. The given possibility, makes the situation more complex further suggesting no room for military operations. But is the situation so hopeless? Even if we take that US will not allow any Indian open declaration of war against Pakistan? Let us not forget during Kargil war, US had its say. What shall India do? Shall it continue getting beating like this? Politicians and Diplomats have developed a defeated mindsets?
It is known fact that when the political diplomacy faces a wall, the military diplomacy must break open a door? But some how this established principle is not even considered? May be diplomats do not want to give an impression of defeat and also they do not want Military to move into their turf. But shall India be allowed to suffer like this when no one consults the military and others have given up hoping some day things will be fine?
Let us consider what could be the available military option but before that there are some hard and bitter realities that shall be kept in mind
1. Pakistan is a nuclear state and also has tactical nukes with an open policy to use it against military targets. Which she can justify to the world specially so if it is used against advancing military forces within Pakistani territory?
2. Indian military itself is structured on WW II model and lacks required capabilities to deliver crushing punch. It is a defensive force with limited offensive capabilities. It looks, Indian military also lacks capabilities to conduct mobile warfare at the scale which are required to be conducted to win a nuke war.
3. Indian political leadership is more driven by economic interests of crony capitalists who do not want war or conflicts to grow to a scale to threat their money interests.
4. For economically growing country like India, It doesn't make sense to derail it by a conventional war?
5. World may not give that required space to India and Pakistan to fight.
6. China may not be neutral as it was in case of Indo Pak war in 65 or 71 and may move some troops to border not for war but to fix Indian military in other front thus putting stress on Indian reserves.
Pakistan knows all above facts well is taking full advantage to deliver 1000 cuts to India. But even then there are plenty of options if political leadership has a will and diplomats dont play their dirty games. These are:
1. Pay Pakistan in same coin. Stage a proxy war. Indian economy is strong and surely can sustain much larger operation against Pakistan. Keep the tempo low to just force Pakistan to retreat from Kashmir. or
2. Once for all decide to divide Pakistan by creating few fatal and poisonous wounds exploiting numerous existing fault lines to force her to crumble in her own weight. A doctrine of few fatal wounds against 1000 cuts.
3. Buy. Pakistani leadership is corrupt. Their military leaders make huge money. Use money power to buy them. There are plenty of ways of doing it.
4. India must go for assassination of terrorists leaders. One strike here in India two leaders are assassinated in Pakistan. I am sure RAW is capable if not give this task to Military Intelligence.
5. Pakistan's nukes are under close surveillance of USA. US naturally has plans to neutralize these if there are risks of these falling in terrorists hands. There could be some options there too.
6. Bring Pakistan in arms race. USA created a situation by arms race where in Soviet Union collapsed. India must focus on creating at least eight more armed divisions, build air force, have more attack hepters, Arty SP and submarines. Create a capacity to move armed divisions at least 250 to 300 Km in 4-5 days and It is possible. Restructure your forces. Withdraw army from CI grid by creating special CI force. Rather than building a strong Navy for USA, India must build offensive capacity of her military, close air support capabilities of Air Force and amphibious strike capabilities of navy. Increase Indigenous productions. It will work like magic.
7 India must make it clear to USA no partnership unless Pakistan is controlled and they can do it.
And there are some more which I shall not discuss here.
Options like cross border raids or air strikes on terrorists camps will have no impact as the same will not only be absorbed but will be retaliated.
India till now was living in shadow of poverty tugged under safety of Himalayas and Indian ocean and world actually did not bother much about her. Present defensive policy served her well. In last thirty years Indian economy has shown some promise, though a poor country with widening gaps, but still has managed to grow a market of a trillion dollar economy. Clubbed with huge size of market, rise of China has increased geo political importance of India tremendously. Indian ocean is heating up and so the importance of India. In given situation a passive defense policy will not work.
Indian dream of emerging as a soft nation, protected by credible nuke umbrella with a weak and defensive military and dominating police will not succeed unless India becomes part of a military alliance. But in that case too military alliance will also demand modernization of forces. Indian peace time soldiers shall realize that nukes in itself do not give protection unless used as add on to a military power. In fact going nuclear demands modern and potent military forces as essential. The policy of soft power if followed beyond a point is highly dangerous to the Indian security.
As the economic sphere of a nation grows, it brings her into conflict with other competing economies and beyond a point such competition sometimes turns into hostilities. Strong military in fact is a essential un-avoidable enabler. For economic prosperity, the path goes through few armed conflicts. The cost of such conflicts shall thus become part of the plans for economic growth. No nation can become prosperous with out a strong military and few wars. A strong military protects peace and ensures economic growth by deterring wars.
There is myth which prevails among most of the Indian diplomats that there will be no wars? They are arguing so ignoring the fact that most of the powerful nations are preparing for wars in crowded regions of Asia. India has no choice except to have a powerful military, which is structured around capabilities rather then just numbers.
Prepare or Parish there is no choice. Growing India needs a strong military to protect her path of growth. Grow your military to a point where there is no choice for Pakistan but to come to terms for peace and growth of South Asia. Pakistan right now is showing tendencies of a suicide bomber and has become source of terror to whole world. Such indoctrinated mindsets do not understand reasoning, their wisdom gets blurred and decision making disoriented. It is unfortunate though but Pakistan is not leaving any choice for India.