Veteran American bureaucrat and former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 88, has had his imprint not just in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he also played a decisive role in the India-Pakistan relations during the period of Operation Parakram of 2001.
Operation Parakram was a 10-month long military stand-off between India and Pakistan, which was sanctioned by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in response to the 13 December 2001 Indian Parliament attack carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
While India deployed a large number of troops at the Line of Control (LoC), ready to declare war against Pakistan in an effort to show New Delhi’s “coercive diplomacy“, the attacks never really materialised, thanks to the role played most actively by then US Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, among others.
Operation Parakram, which is also seen as a precursor to the Balakot strikes, began right after the Parliament attack by the end of December 2001 and both the militaries stood eyeball-to-eyeball till October 2002.
With tensions rising as the threat of a nuclear war loomed large, the international community — still grappling with the 9/11 attacks in the US in September 2001 — left no stone unturned to calm the waters between India and Pakistan.