Even as India will try to use diplomatic steps to avoid a confrontation with Pakistan, one needs to teach lessons to “those who are rogue”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said.
Asked at the Aaj Tak-2014 conclave about the disturbances created by Pakistan along the border, he said India was not closing any options for “harsh measures”.
“We are always prepared with counter measures. Eye for eye or ‘eent ka jawab pathhar se’ (befitting reply) appears to be an offensive statement. But ultimately, you have to teach a lesson to those who are rouge.
“How do we do it is a part of strategy, and I won’t reveal it here. But I am definitely not closing any … harsh measures,” Parrikar said.
He, however, added that this was not the only option and India would also try diplomatic measures like exerting political and diplomatic pressure.
“I know some people will say these have failed, have not yielded results, with a state like Pakistan where there is hardly any control by the political leadership.
“These might have some meaning but I think there are some effective measures that can be preventive.
“There cannot be always defensive measures. We can have preventive measures. We need not wait for someone to attack,” the minister said.
Parrikar said the response from India had been strong and terrorists have been neutralised.
“This year the number of neutralised terrorists is 102 compared to 66 last year. You can understand the level of engagements.”
He was asked about the risks of a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.
“Nuclear doctrine (advocates) restraint. I don’t think any state can resort to it. A full-scale war can be linked to the nuclear aspect of it, but if there are places where you get terrorists across, there are people who do it. Those people will have to be pressurised,” he said.
“I am not talking about going across the border. Why not use the same people who attack us, as we say ‘gun ka barrel ghuma do’ (turn the barrel of the gun around),” he said.
The minister added that increasing the morale of the security forces and providing them better equipment was a priority.
“The soldiers who neutralise terrorists at a height of 14,000 feet… Equip them properly. If we can give good boots to soldiers in Siachen, why not to these soldiers?
“When they go on vacation after two years, are you aware there is not enough space to get them back in the aircraft available?
“When you expect them to fight (at the border), their battle at home should be taken care of by the ministry,” he said.