International Laws regarding the Legality of the Indian Military Strikes on Pakistan
What Really Is A Military Strike?
Military strikes or surgical strikes are only designed to deal with specific
targets. It intends to cause damage only to legitimate military targets, while
causing little or no incidental damage to civilians, general public
infrastructure, vehicles, surrounding structures and utilities.
In other words, this is a rapid and targeted attack (usually without prior
warning), so the average person is least affected. The use of military /
surgical strikes to neutralize targets also helps prevent full-scale warfare.
These kinds of attacks can be conducted by air strikes, special operational
forces can be airdropped also, or by sending commandos or regular troops to
conduct rapid ground operations.
In the contemporary context, surgical strike is an action that can disable or
greatly reduce the enemy's head. For example: On May 2, 2011, Osama Bin Laden,
the founder of Base Helicopter Company, was picked up by the US (SEALS) Navy on
a helicopter in Abobttabad, Pakistan The SEALs killed, this is an example of a
surgical attack. Successful surgical strikes often achieve their desired goals
and have devastating effects.
Recent Military Strikes Conducted By India
The line of control is located between the Indian and Pakistani control sections
of the former princely state Kashmir (J & K). This is the de facto border and is
generally respected by both parties. However, Indian and Pakistani troops
sometimes attempt to change the areas under their control during large-scale
operations. Cruelty and cruelty are common occurrences in LoC. As we all know,
soldiers and militants of the armed forces crossed the border and exceeded a
post, causing a large number of casualties and using beheading as a humiliating
act. The two sides accused each other of conducting such cross-border attacks
and denied that they were involved in such raids.
Indian Loc Strike, 2016
India has operated on the launch pads of militant groups allegedly in
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and caused heavy casualties. The number of
casualties given by Indian media is between 35-50. Pakistan denied India's
claims. On September 18, 2016, four armed forces launched a Fidayeen attack at a
military base near Uri town. 19 Indian soldiers were killed. India accused the
Pakistani terrorist organization Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) of the attack. Eleven
days after the Uri attack on September 29, 2016, India announced that it had
operated on LoC of Pakistan occupied Kashmir's militant launch pad and caused
heavy casualties. Some shots of the strike were released to the Indian media on
June 27, 2018 as proof of the strike.
Balakot Airstrike, 2019
India carried out the Balakot airstrike in the early morning of February 26,
2019, when Indian warplanes crossed the de facto border of the disputed Kashmir
region and dropped bombs near the town of Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Province, Pakistan. The airstrike was named as a response to the terrorist
attack in Pulwama in February 2019. JEM claimed responsibility for the fatal
terrorist attack in Pulwama on February 14 and killed more than 40 CRPF
The characteristic of India is that this is a non-military pre-emptive strike
against terrorist training camps, causing a large number of terrorist deaths. It
attacked JeM's largest camp in Pakistan, which is speculated to be preparing for
a suicide attack in India.
The Indian Air Force has guarded the air defence system at international borders
and local governments in response to any retaliation by the Pakistan Air Force.
Question Of Legality
Immediately after the attack, Pakistani President Imran Khan held an emergency
meeting to review the situation. Pakistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah
Mahmood Qureshi said: India has violated the law of armed conflict and has
committed aggression, and Islamabad has the right to defend itself'.
The Pakistan National Security Council (NSC) also said: India has carried out a
silent aggression and Pakistan will respond to it at the time and place it
A few minutes after the Pakistani Foreign Minister marked the Indian Air Force's
strike in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as serious aggression', people questioned the
validity of the strike in international law.
Conjectures Are Unnecessary
Although there is no doubt that the bombings in Pakistan are more legally
affected than in the past PoK surgery, India still has comprehensive legal
defences, so it is not appropriate to speculate. India strengthened its position
by calling it a pre-emptive strike against terrorist attacks, and cited examples
of various strikes conducted in the past.
The United States claims to be acting in accordance with Article 51 of the
Charter of the United Nations. In August 1998, the United States launched cruise
missile attacks in Afghanistan and Sudan. India also ran out to UN Resolutions
1368 and 1373.
These resolutions recognize the terrorist attacks as a serious harm to the peace
and security of the nations worldwide.
The statement given by the UN Security council for condemning the attack in
Kashmir, and calling on all countries to actively cooperate' with the Indian
government and demand accountability for the perpetrators, organizers and
initiators of the attacks was also welcomed by India.
Legal Defences Put-Forth By India
Although it is indisputable that, in principle, the explosions that took place
in Pakistani territory had a greater legal impact than the surgical operations
in the former Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the ministry of foreign affairs of
India states that India has the full legal defence library, so it is speculated
that conjectures are improper.
The Use Of Force In International Law
India claims the existence of the defence in the UN Charter and claims that the
attack is a right of self-defence. It is specified by the article 2 (4) of the
Charter of the United Nations that all member states should avoid threatening or
using force in their international relations to threaten the ministerial
independence and integrity of the territory of any country, or in any other
manner that does not serve their purposes.
This article of the UN Charter prohibits the use of constraint and threat
against the independence or integrity of any country, as well as authorizes the
intrinsic self-defence rights of each member state to be an exception. This rule
is reflected in the 1945 UN Charter, which is a good reason to prevent a country
from using force at its own will. It is important to understand the use of
phrase self-defence in this situation as he Indian government has narrated the
strike to be a pre-emptive action.
The UN Charter- Article 51
If an armed attack is carried out against a Member State of the United Nations,
this Charter shall not damage the inherent right of individual or collective
self-defence; until the Security Council takes the necessary measures to
maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Member States to
exercise this right of self-defence shall be immediate Reporting to the Security
Council must not affect the actions and powers of the Security Council under
this Charter in any way. It is considered necessary to maintain or restore
international peace and security.'
Even if the UN Charter's definition of Article 51 excludes the self- defending
right in the lack of a military attack, the International Court of Justice tends
to downplay and expand the applicability of defence against non-state actors who
are addicted to terrorist acts. This was observed and also stated true by
justice Sima of ICJ during the case of armed activities on Congolese region, as
well as other opinions in the decision of the International Court of Justice on
the legal consequences of the separation of the Palestinian territories.
Of course, the use of force cannot be generalized. The UN Charter clearly
recognizes a country's right to self-defence. Article 51 stipulates that there
are no other provisions in the Charter if an armed attack is carried out on a
member state of the United Nations, the inherent right of individual or
collective self-defense will be damaged.
A controversial issue before jurists is whether the right to self-defence under
Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations includes a preemptive action.
Key Phrase: Pre-Emptive Strike
The Pulwama attack is clearly considered a candidate for an armed attack, which
may make the air attack a self-defence operation, but the fact is not so simple.
India must prove that Pakistan carried out the attack or allowed the attack to
happen, which is difficult to do. India's statement strategically avoided this
minefield and instead relied on pre-emptive self-defence to defend the air raid.
Pre-emptive self-defence says that a country can take self-defence actions
before carrying out an armed attack on them, provided that they can show that
the necessity of taking action is immediate, overwhelming, and have no other
This is why the Indian statement said:
In the face of imminent danger, it is absolutely necessary to pre-emptive
Pre-Emptive Self Defence: Protection In Customary Law
The right of self-defence is strengthened not only by the article 51 of the
Charter of the United Nations, but also stems through the customary
international law principles. In fact, according to the customary international
law, this is considered to be an inherent right, which means that it is equally
important as the concept of state, and it will also exist even if it is not
mentioned in the UN Charter and Article 51.
After Caroline's affairs, the Caroline test became one of the principles of
customary international law, and it was ambiguous that countries were allowed to
enjoy priority self-defence rights on the condition that they must be immediate,
proportionate, and necessary.
As the Indian Government insists that these strikes were based upon reliable
information it received in the near future about JeM's possible attack, it is
quite in line with the standards of customary international law. Also, it should
be noted that this was strike against the non-State actors, and not an act
against the country where the wrongdoers live.
Also to be noted that effective pre-emptive strikes against terrorist attacks
have also occurred in the past. The United States claimed to have taken action
in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. On August 20, 1998, the United
States conducted attacks with the help of cruise missiles in Afghanistan and
Sudan in reciprocation to its terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania.
It is also important here to state the technicality mentioned in the statement
by the Foreign affairs minister, in which he specifically denotes that strikes
are pre-emptive because they directly expect another suicide bombing. Therefore,
the direct reason for the Indian air raids is that suicide bombings may occur in
the future, but not in the past. This provides a good legal basis for India's
actions under international law.
Resolutions 1368 & 1373
United Nations Resolutions 1368 and 1373 reinforce India's position, which
recognizes international terrorist acts as a viable danger to worldwide peace
and security. In terms to provide a legal backing for armed attacks, India has
used various defensive measures. The Indian government also stated these
resolutions to prove that the attack was a pre-emptive action against future
suicide bombing attacks planned by JeM terrorists' organizations.
UN Security Council Resolution 1368
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1368
on September 12, 2001 after expressing its determination to combat the threat of
terrorist acts to international peace and security and recognizing the right to
individual and collective self-defence. The resolution calls on all countries to
cooperate to bring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the attack to
justice, and to hold accountable those responsible for supporting and harbouring
criminals, organizers and sponsors.
The international community is urged to implement counter-terrorism conventions
and Security Council resolutions through international cooperation and step up
efforts to prevent and combat terrorist attacks. Resolution 1368 concluded with
the conclusion of the Security Council. It expressed its willingness to take
steps to respond to and prevent attacks and combat all forms of terrorism in
accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
UN Security Council Resolution 1373
The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 was unanimously adopted on 28th
September, 2001 after the terror attacks against the US on 11th September, 2001,
is an anti-terrorism measure. The resolution was adopted in accordance with
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and it is thus binding on all United
Nations Member States.
This resolution aims at obstructing terrorist groups in various ways. It
recalled the provisions on terrorism in resolutions 1189 (1998), 1269 (1999) and
1368 (2001). Member States of the United Nations are encouraged to share
information about terrorist organizations to help reduce international
The resolution specified that all countries should also ensure that all
terrorist attacks are classified as serious criminal offences in domestic laws
and regulations, and reflect the seriousness of such acts in a true sentence.
This resolution also established the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security
Council to keep a check on the country's compliance with its regulations.
It also aims to restrict the provisions of the immigration laws:
Before obtaining refugee status, all countries must take relevant measures to
ensure that asylum seekers do not plan to assist or participate in any form of
terrorist activities. In addition, the states should ensure that any terrorist
attack the organizers, organizers, facilitators or sponsors do not abuse refugee
status, and politically motivated claims are not considered as grounds for
refusing to extradite accused terrorists'.
Therefore, India launched a major diplomatic attack on Islamabad after the
Pulwama attack and emphasized Pakistan's role in using terrorism as a national
policy tool. It gave a reasonable explanation for the air strike and largely
maintained its status as a non-violent country in the United Nations.
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