Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and key ministers received counsel against rash military action at their first full-scale meeting Monday, government sources said.
Top military commanders warned that Pakistan’s army had raised its defensive posture along the Line of Control (LoC). Few details emerged from the meeting, but senior government figures pushed back against calls from their ranks for immediate military strikes against Pakistan, reports in Indian media said.
Read more: Indian army to asks govt to consider cross-border strikes
The meeting, attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, heard from National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Army chief General Dalbir Singh on possible long-term options to retaliate against jihadist logistics and the Pakistani military infrastructure.
The Prime Minister briefed President Pranab Mukherjee on the discussions late Monday.
Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha, who is also chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, was not present at the main meeting, a sign some security experts took to signal that the government was not, at this stage, considering air strikes across the LoC.
Read more: Indian Army battalions along LoC on ‘full alert’: TOI
Foreign diplomats based in New Delhi read the government’s decision to allow the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service to proceed as scheduled as another sign that India is not contemplating immediate escalation of hostilities along the LoC.
Indian army chief General Dalbir Singh, military sources said, based his advice to the government on conversations with senior commanders in the field, who he visited Sunday. Though the Indian Army has prepared plans for strikes against jihadist infrastructure and military positions using special forces, he was told Pakistan had used the time since the Sunday morning strike in Uri to fortify its positions, making a counter-attack risky.
In addition, field commanders also expressed concern that even localised battles along the LoC, with Indian and Pakistani forward positions trading fire, could facilitate infiltration thus helping jihadist groups already operating against the Army inside occupied Kashmir.
National Security Advisor Doval is believed to have separately discussed with the Prime Minister the options for non-conventional measures targeting the jihadist leadership. However, these were not discussed at the meeting, sources familiar with the discussions said.
For now, New Delhi has focused its strategy on gathering evidence New Delhi believes will be critical to legitimise any future military options it might exercise. National Investigation Agency detectives arrived in Uri late Monday, with their early effort focusing on recovering data from one of the two Garmin-manufactured Global Positioning Sets salvaged from the terrorists killed at the camp.
“Even if some basic data can be recovered from the set,” a source familiar with the investigation said, “we shall request the United States for help with recovering more information from Garmin’s servers”.
Read more: Uri attack: Modi wants immediate isolation of Pakistan