Terror and Response - The India-Pakistan Proxy War 2008-2019
“To call the relationship between India and Pakistan of the early 21st Century “fraught” would be an understatement. Much of this was attributed to religious differences – India being 78-80 percent Hindu and Pakistan being well over 95 percent Muslim – and to differences over the ‘ownership’ of the Kashmir region. However, this was not only simplistic: it was almost entirely wrong; indeed, insulting to the huge Indian-Muslim population, which has been steadfastly loyal to the Indian Republic and its secular Constitution (despite occasional concerns over the attitude of ruling political parties), and thus, an integral part of India’s society.”
The author continues,
“The issue of Kashmir was always more complex. It was certainly the purported cause as espoused by the Pakistani leadership and, in particular, its military and intelligence agencies, for the continuing tensions between the two countries. There is also little doubt that since 1990, the region has been the scene of significant internal security challenges for India, which has responded with harsh but largely effective, counter-insurgency measures where, at great civilian cost, the insurgency has largely been contained. It is equally true that there was (and remains), a strong communal angle to the Kashmir situation, as it was (in 2019 it became a Union Territory), the only Muslim majority in the state of India.”
Thus, the book Terror and Response - The India-Pakistan Proxy War 2008-2019 opens and sets the stage for the next 69 pages. What follows is a mountain gale of information and history of fighting at very high altitudes between India and Pakistan. The conflict started after the partition of India in 1947 as both India and Pakistan claimed the entirety of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a dispute over the region that escalated into three wars between the protagonists and several other armed skirmishes. Additionally, the Sino-Indian War in 1962 played a key part in the tensions simmering in the area.
A book covering the entire India and Pakistan conflict would be too long for this book. The authors chose to focus on three incidents and India’s reactions to them, were primarily perpetrated by internationally recognized terrorist organizations emanating from Pakistan. Of particular interest is that from India’s last operation noted in this book, there has not been a single major terrorist attack on an Indian civilian target. The three incidents since 2008 were:
- Mumbai attacks of 2008
- Uri attacks of 2016
- Pulwama in 2019
In the Mumbai attacks, India failed to retaliate. The Uri attacks resulted in limited military operations involving a Special Forces raid. It was the Pulwama attack that made India “cross a threshold” and involved the use of airpower.
The authors begin with the history in 1947 when British India earned its independence, and two states were born: India and both West and East Pakistan. “The ghosts of this single event continue to haunt the subcontinent to the present day as the bloodshed, bitterness and anger that it left behind has not been addressed through any attempt at reconciliation and recognition of the resulting suffering, trauma, and lasting damage.” What follows are brief descriptions of the 1948 Kashmir War, the 1965 War, the 1971 India-Pakistan War, the Siachen Glacier, India’s Security Situation in the 1980s, Kargil 1999, Operation Parakram to Operation Tupac (a proxy war waged by Pakistan against India, that is still ongoing). After a quick and concise history spanning 13 pages, the book launches into its title material.
The book is presented in the @War series format, complete with black and white photographs, color photographs, maps, and a color profile section composing the following five chapters:
- Partition to Pakistan
- Operation Tupac and Pakistan’s Jihad Factory
- Mumbai 2008
- Uri and the Surgical Strike
- The Pulwama Attack and Operation Bandar
The Kargil War of 1999 proved that conventional war was “distinctly possible” between two nuclear powers. India took a long, hard look at itself and determined to focus on being able to launch a swift response in the future to wage a short war without running the risk of “crossing Pakistan’s nuclear red lines”. The 2019 Balakot raid against terrorist camps demonstrated that India was now willing to use its military in a targeted manner and wouldn’t be deterred by Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities.
This book explains the operations in detail and in 2019, two Union Territories (Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir) came under India’s state. While there was condemnation from Pakistan, and its ally China, there was not the expected large-scale violence and bloodshed. While tensions still exist, especially after US withdrawal from Afghanistan, there have been “no major mass casualty terrorist attack either in Kashmir or the rest of India since 2019.
For modelers, there are reference photographs and color profiles. Aircraft include helicopters in the form of Cheetahs, Mi-8, Mi-17MD, and HAL Druv helicopters; aircraft include MiG-21Ibis, Beriev A-50 AWACS, Embraer EMB-145, Dassault Mirage 2000H, Mirage III/5, Mirage IIIDP, and Su-30MKI. Pakistani aircraft include F-16A-MLU, JF-17, and Saab 2000 AWACS. Combat vehicles and equipment include BRAHMOS missile launcher, T-72M1, T-90S (and even Centurions, M47 and M48 tanks), FH-77B02 155mm artillery, Jonga (Indian version of the Nissan Patrol), Maruti Gipsy jeeps, and Mahindra Marksman APC.
Author Sanjay Badri-Maharaj, born in Trinidad and Tobago, received his Master of Arts and PhD from the Department of War Studies, Kings College London based on his thesis on India’s Nuclear Weapons Program. He has written four books on the nuclear capabilities and threats of India, Pakistan, and China. He has nine books in the @War series focusing on India and the Caribbean. This is Brazilian author Everton Pedroza’s first book. He has a degree in industrial design, works in the financial sector and has an interest in military aviation. Since 2019, he has conducted intensive studies of the Indian Air Force’s air strike on the terrorist camps in Balakot.
Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS-USA for providing the review sample.