India lost credibility to criticize other countries after the air force base attack in Pathankot that led to a four-day operation in which several soldiers died.
It showed India is far from being the great power it believes itself to be, when it cannot protect a secret, heavily-guarded security installation right next to Pakistan border. It’s seven years since 2008 Mumbai attacks, and it shows that nothing has really changed when it comes to its internal policing, security force competence, intelligence gathering capability, geopolitical maneuvering, and first response capability.
On January 2, six attackers, from the Jaish-e-Mohammad group, a designated terror organization hunted by the EU, U.S. and U.K. that is part of a larger organization called the United Jihad Council with ties to the ISIS, attacked the air force base killing three soldiers.
Initially the attack was thought to have been dealt with in a day; however, after two quiet days, there then ensured complete policy paralysis and chaos as the attack was resumed. Several more soldiers died of their injuries in the hospital, as did the attackers. Major Indian cities were put on high alert.
Foreign reactions were also swift. The British High Commission in Delhi condemned the attacks, as did the Canadian embassy. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson noted that this attack might be deliberate attempt to stall the ongoing momentum of peace process with Pakistan, a thought shared by Indian analysts. The United States and Japan showed solidarity with India and vowed to fight Islamic terrorism together.
So far so good. It is understandable why the attack was launched. The Indian reaction even in the traditionally jingoistic media was comparatively muted, partly because this time they couldn’t get or share operational information as what was happening inside the high security air base, which differed from the attack in a city center like Mumbai or a religious temple like Akshardham.