The Attack On The Sunjuwan Army Camp Shows Our Failure To Defend Our Soldiers

Posted by Aniket Verma in Politics, Society
February 13, 2018

In the aftermath of the attack on Sunjuwan army camp, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came up with the usual warnings which are issued after every attack.

“Pakistan will pay for this misadventure. I repeat Pakistan will pay for it,” she said. So, is another surgical strike around the corner? Will we cross the LOC, kill our enemies, come back and feel proud of avenging the deaths of our soldiers – and is this all that we can do? Are we only supposed to have retaliatory responses to such attacks rather than concrete preventive measures to stop more personnel from falling prey to such dastardly acts?

The attack on Sunjuwan army camp claimed lives of five soldiers and one civilian. It is the latest in a list of similarly targeted killings of security forces in the areas close to the border with Pakistan. An air force station was attacked in Gurdaspur in 2015. This was followed by what the media reported as “the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades” – an attack on an Indian army base in Uri which resulted in widespread national outrage. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), military casualties have been steadily increasing in Kashmir region.

This presents a very disturbing trend wherein areas which are heavily fortified and monitored have been intruded by terrorists at will. The ease with which such elements breach the border fencing raises questions on the overall system in place. And the failure is not at only one level; it is the collective defeat of all agencies including intelligence, state police and security arrangements at army bases. While terrorists have been neutralised ultimately, it did not happen before the martyrdom of our men.

But we don’t seem to be learning from of our mistakes. There is this usual “kadi ninda” after every attack and a promise to attack the enemy which aims to unify the country in times of setback. The jingoism of the media goes to another level, almost directing the army to cross the border in what they assume as an adventurous trip and come back thumping their chests. They fail to realise the consequences of any ill-planned move which will claim more lives of our soldiers.

As civilians, all we do is flood our Facebook timelines and our Twitter handles with beautiful tributes to soldiers.Then there is the unprecedented bashing of our neighbouring country. The very next day, we move ahead and start making plans for valentine’s day and Shivratri. I wonder what sort of valentine’s day the spouses of slain soldiers celebrate.

This normalisation comes from a very flawed understanding by the public. Our education system and our governments have been feeding into our minds that an army personnel on duty is bound to protect the country – and if he dies in the process, this is nothing but routine. As a result, the value given to such incidents is also diminishing.

While our media devotes enough time for hate mongering and promoting war-like policies, comparatively less time is allotted for discussing the failures of the system and devising plans to avoid such an attack in the future.