New Delhi (Sputnik) — Defence experts have welcomed the decision to release Indian Airforce Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan by the Pakistan government, but believe that more must be done, especially from the Pakistani side, to ensure that there is a de-escalation of the ongoing hostilities. In the wake of the prevailing India-Pakistan situation, Sputnik talked to Group Captain Ajay Lele (Retd.) who is a senior fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and heads its Centre on Strategic Technologies.
Sputnik: Things seems to be easing out in the last twenty-four hours in the Indo-Pak standoff. What are your observations and comments on the situation?
Ajay Lele: The fact that Pakistan has decided to release the IAF pilot is a welcome step and must be a tangible step in the de-escalation of the ongoing stress between India and Pakistan. We hope the release of the pilot will further give way to more fruitful interaction across the table.
Sputnik: What is your reaction to the confrontation which took place in the last couple of days?
But the underlining factor in this engagement is that the Indian action has sent in a message to its neighbour [Pakistan] that India cannot tolerate any more non-action with regards to the people responsible for the terror act across the border. There will be people who will have to be accountable for it.
Sputnik: As an analyst, do you completely agree with the Indian government view that the Pulwama attack was the handiwork of Pakistan-based elements.
Ajay Lele: Yes, we do believe that Pulwama cannot be the result of a domestic homegrown terror module.
The magnitude of the terror attack cannot be managed and executed without multiple chains of handlers helping and guiding the whole attack. And that the master handler must have been from across the border is a fact that cannot be refuted nor has it yet been refuted by anyone.
Ajay Lele: There has to be tangible action from Pakistan on the terror modules and the use of its soil for terror purposes.
The fact that terror camps operate from the Pakistani soil is an open secret and unless Pakistan takes stern action against these elements the risk of the present circumstances repeating cannot be written off.
Ajay Lele: Yes, the shrill voices of the Indian media are worrying.
Especially worrying is the fact that many of the media platforms are resorting to dedicate their screen time to discuss the so-called war strategies in the comfort of the studio. We should be more concerned because these channels are talking to former defence officers who were in strategic positions to discuss these things. This issue has to be addressed.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.