The nation has fully appreciated the “punitive fire assaults” the Army has mounted on the Line of Control in J-K to hit hard at the Pakistani posts in the Naushera sector providing covering-fire and other support to terrorist-militants seeking to exacerbate troubles in the Valley.

With the summer warmth having cleared the snow from passes and gaps in the mountain ranges, the “infiltration season” has well and truly got underway, and the apprehensions of another “hot” summer are materialising ~ as terrorist forays over the past few days confirm.

The most recent fire-assaults would also have been conditioned by the brutal mutilation of the bodies of Indian security personnel by a “border action team” that comprises both elements of the Pakistan army and members of jihadi outfits.

Not surprisingly, Pakistani authorities have denied the damage their forces have suffered, just as they had issued a “disclaimer” after Indian commandos had conducted surgical strikes last year.

Also not surprising is that from across the political establishment in India has come solid endorsement of the punitive fire assaults, and happily decisions on the level of response has been left to the Army to take ~ although some bellicose politicians will continue their sabre-rattling and call for befitting retribution.

It is to be hoped that a distinct line is drawn differentiating between the action on LOC and against militants, and the methods employed by the security agencies to contain public unrest in the Valley.

It is against the background of the “larger picture” that obtains in Kashmir that, alas, some suspicions are triggered by the timing of the Army’s publicising the punitive fire assaults of 9 May ~ almost a fortnight later.

Was it a “public relations exercise” to divert attention away from the widespread dismay and resentment over the Army Chief having formally commended the action of the RR Major who used a local person as a human shield in Budgam last month?

The “honour” has become a subject of controversy since neither the Army’s own Court of Inquiry, nor the J&K police’s investigation into the incident has been completed.

That a senior Army officer dealing with “Public Information” should address the media and release a video clip of the attack on the Pakistan post was a trifle unusual: it sparked off some intriguing interpretations since it coincided with the Army authorities in J-K arranging for Maj.

Leetul Gogoi to go “on camera” and explain the conditions in which he took the action that has earned both bouquets and brickbats.

Was the general approval for the fire-assault across the LOC intended to deflect the sharp criticism of “recognising” the officer who, under admittedly trying circumstances, made light of the Army’s hallowed traditions?

Another amateurish attempt at using the media as a “force-multiplier”?