Five years ago, India first publicly announced carrying out counter-insurgency operations on its neighbour Myanmar’s soil. Since then, India has gone ahead and executed similar operations along its western border against Pakistan in response to terror attacks. This suggests that India is now bolder in tackling attacks launched from neighbouring countries, but is that an accurate and complete representation?
A seminal moment
On June 9, 2015, the government’s minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced that Indian commandos carried out a counter-insurgency operation on Myanmar’s soil (though it is actually disputed territory). He stated that as retaliation for 20 Indian soldiers being killed by Naga militants in Manipur, the military conducted a ‘surgical strike’ on two militant camps operating along the border in another sovereign’s territory, which marked a first for the country.
This action, also referred to as ‘hot pursuit’ strategy, is a departure from India’s earlier efforts. In the past, while carrying out similar operations, India claimed that it has operated “alongside” but well within its borders. Many claim that India has long carried out operations in enemy territory but never acknowledged such actions. A departure from that practice highlights a desire to publicly raise the ‘cost’ imposed on those carrying out attacks against it.
However, India has not always been so bold. This was most apparent in 2002 and 2008 when India, sadly, demonstrated that no matter how significant the terror spectacle, it would make huge threats but would not follow up with action