After Pulwama: What Are India’s Retaliation Options?
A Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) suicide attack conducted and claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (NH-44) in Pulwama District in Kashmir struck a Central Police Reserve Forces (CRPF) convoy on February 14, 2019, killing more than 40 Indian personnel. At the time the convoy included some 70 vehicles transporting some 2,500 troops from 12 different battalions. The attack brought to fore the 2016 Uri attack in which 19 soldiers had perished. In response India had claimed it had conducted “surgical strikes” to avenge the attack. The casualties inflicted in the Pulwama attack are the highest for a single attack and consequently an India-Pakistan military crisis seems imminent. As India weighs its military options, it is likely that a naval blockade may provide it with the least risky option.