Harihar Pai

Action Thriller Others


Harihar Pai

Action Thriller Others

Operation Wrath Of Kali

Operation Wrath Of Kali

12 mins

"Wh...What? Project Vishnu, hypersonic missile data has been leaked?" Manohar was enraged. Being Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy presented Manohar with new challenges daily. But this was by far his most difficult challenge.

The Chinese have increased their pressure along the border. Intelligence reports suggested they are preparing for the surprise attack. Pakistan, on the other hand, has become a paid assassin due to its debt crisis. It intends to sell its military services to China for a large foreign exchange.

Manohar had presided over an emergency meeting to deal with the crisis. The three armies have an agreement not to enter each other's territories, and the Chinese violated this long-standing agreement by sending dozens of tanks across the border.

There was an unusual silence in the room. Manohar looked around the table, hoping to find some solace from the terrible news he had been hearing. When he received no response, Manohar became sarcastic, saying, "I think we need to discuss the price of tea in China."

The other members were timid and insecure this time.

Dhoomal, a 1977 batch retired IPS officer, now his National Security Advisor was the first to speak. "Yes sir," he began calmly. "A junior DRDL scientist leaked some classified information about our hypersonic missile." He paused before continuing, "An ISI agent used the false name Preeti Aggarwal to lure him in. She befriended him on Facebook, posing as a journalist, and gradually elicited information from him about the missile. He was systematically honey-trapped. Details about the range and countermeasures were leaked. She later sent her photos, which included trojan horses. Our guy downloaded them, infecting the lab computers. The virus caused another leak related to our radar data," he added quickly.  "However, we have now secured the machine and installed additional firewalls to prevent future leaks."

"And the ISI passed it on to the Chinese spy agency, MSS." Manohar's face was parched.

"Sir, yes. The Chinese army and MSS are constantly attempting to use Pakistan to gather information about India."

"Now, even if the Chinese attack, we won't be able to use our most advanced missiles. They will have already devised countermeasures." Manohar wasn't done with sarcasm yet. One thing his life had taught him was that he should never rely on chance. "If the Chinese launch missiles and our radars fail to detect them, we will be completely at their mercy."

"So, General, how long can you withstand the Chinese assault? Can we extend the conflict into Chinese territory?" Manohar looked at his army general, who was holding a large file containing all of the reports.

"Sir, we are prepared. We can give the Chinese a bloody nose. The M777 howitzers are in their proper positions. Ladakh and Arunachal now have good roads. During the emergency purchases, we brought snipers and ammunition. Our soldiers are all armed with Sig Sauer and AK-203 rifles. Brahmos and Nirbhay missiles are capable of destroying their fortified shelters and airstrips..."

"And what if the Pakistanis pitch in?" Manohar interjected before General could finish.

"Sir, then, we're stretched. We have 45 days to fight both sides. We can defeat Pakistan in that time frame, but the Chinese are tough to crack. The ATAGS artillery has only recently arrived. Pinaka long-range MBRL, Dhanush artillery, K9 Vajra, and LCH are included only in the initial batches. We'll need at least two years to finish all of our acquisitions and be prepared for a two-front war. If the war lasts longer than 45 days, the situation will favour China." 

The Chief of the Air Force took the floor next. He is well-known for not exaggerating. The Air Chief cleared his throat before Manohar made another sarcastic remark. "Sir, the Himalayas work in our favour because we are in low-lying areas and can carry twice as much ammunition, but our squadron strength is low. Our squadron strength is 30 as opposed to the 42 required for a two-front war. The Chinese already have 5th generation fighters, while our 4.5 generation Tejas-2 have only recently begun to arrive. Three more S-400 SAM units are on their way.  The Astra Mark-2 180km air-to-air missile is still in testing. Our fifth-generation fighter, AMCA, is two years behind schedule. If Pakistan hands its base to China, we will be in trouble."

"So, Air Chief, you need two years to fight decisively, a two-front war?" 

The Air Chief looked down as if he couldn't do anything about it. "Sir, I assure you that we are well trained and that, with our current capability, we will do everything possible to win the war," he concluded.

The naval chief said at the end of the briefing: "We are war ready, and we can block the Strait of Malaca. This will hamper Chinese trade. However, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with the world's largest navy. China and Pakistan will work tirelessly to lift the blockade. Our submarine fleet consists of only eighteen, with eight others in various stages of construction. We don't have a backup so we must go all-in on this war. We will heavily rely on P8i Poseidon to track down Chinese submarines." 

"So, let me summarise it here." Manohar took a look around the table. "It will take at least two years to fully equip our troops for war.  Otherwise, we must make even more sacrifices and rely on their bravery.

"Future generations will question us for leaving our Agni Veers without a decisive edge in the face of Chinese wrath. We can't be at war, at least not right now." Manohar later expressed his sarcasm: "Gentleman, what do you expect me to do? Go tell the Chinese to wait two years until we're ready."

Mr Singh, the defence minister, added his voice, saying, "Do you think China will launch an attack? They've only been preening for the last three years."

"Ask, Mr Dhoomal." Manohar appeared calm this time.

Mr Dhoomal repositioned his spectacles. "We are already under attack. The Chinese hackers took down the Mumbai power grid. The entire city was in darkness for twelve hours. Our financial institutions, industrial sectors, and defence mechanisms are being targeted by a Chinese cyber cell. Our cyber force is effective in countering them, but they occasionally exploit a flaw and damage our systems."

The CDS, Mr Varma, did not wait for an invitation "On the ground, the Chinese have advanced 38 kilometres into the grey zone. They're using the Salami Slicing technique. The Chinese are far ahead in terms of next-generation warfare, swarm drones, cyber espionage, and so on. We're just getting started and closing gaps quickly."

Mr Singh took a blood pressure tablet and stated, "What about the American government? Will they assist us?"

"Very unlikely," said the foreign minister, an ex-diplomat. "Pakistan's F-16 has recently been upgraded. They are exacerbating our problems. Pakistan is assisting the United States by supplying weapons to Ukraine via Pakistan, thus the gift. The US is more interested in weakening Russia than in assisting us. America is also preoccupied with the Taiwan crisis. Russia is occupied by the Ukraine conflict. China is taking advantage of this opportunity to target us. Our other friendly countries will seize the opportunity and overcharge us for the weapons we buy from them. They are well aware that our public and private defence industries are unable to deliver warlike supplies."

Manohar couldn't take it any longer. "And on top of that, we don't know what all the information is leaked, and how much. As a result, the hacks have likely given China an advantage to outgun us in the current scenario."

Dhoomal attempted to calm him down. "Sir, our cyber cell in Mongolia has intercepted Chinese communication. They are not only conducting cyber espionage but have also planted a mole in PM's inner circle. These Chinese are notorious for deception."

"I was wondering how the Chinese got wind of the secret base-sharing agreement, I had discussed with the French President. We, from the land of Chanakya, should be the best at spycraft and diplomacy, but still, we are often caught off guard. Mr Dhoomal, ask the IB to track all of my staff and find the mole as soon as possible."

"OK, Sir."

Manohar looked over his vintage HMT manually wound watch. Despite being the face of a new, technologically advanced India, he wore the watch to remind himself of the power of "Make in India." He took a look around the room. "Gentlemen, this brings our meeting to a close. Mr Dhoomal will handle all future communication."

Dhoomal interrupted Manohar for the first time just as he was about to continue, "Sir, I believe we can hold tonight's meeting at the residence of the Defence Minister. IB sleuths have checked the house for bugs and verified the staff."

"All right, I'll be there at 9:00 p.m."

Manohar arrived at the DM residence on time as usual. Dhoomal and Mr Singh had prepared the meeting points before Manohar arrived.

Mr Singh was acutely aware of the gravity of the situation. To calm the situation, he called his assistant and said, "Raju, see if the dinner is ready."

 "Manoharji, an empty stomach may make the discussion tense."

After a few moments, Raju says, "Sir, the food is ready."

There was a brief exchange of smiles, but Manohar was serious. "Dhoomalji, as you are aware, Chinese understand only the language of strength. They will not stop the aggression unless they are convinced that, they cannot win a war against us. Is there a hidden move in our chess strategy that we can use to outmanoeuvre our opponents?"

"Now, only Kali and Durga can save us," muttered Dhoomal.

"This is the last thing I expected to hear; now the Gods will come and fight our battle."

"KALI stands for Kilo Ampere Linear Injector, and Durga is a laser gun."

Mr Singh wiped his brow with his towel. He was only moving the spoon on the platter of Dal Chawal the entire time. However, not a single bite had entered this mouth. "However, Dhoomalji, is it weaponised?"

"Sir, do you remember the avalanche in Siachin's Gayatri sector in 2012?"

Manohar was a voracious reader of all reports that came his way, and he was not like others who tended to forget the information they received. "Yes, I recall. The entire Pakistani division was wiped out. They lost approximately 130 soldiers. Natural causes were proposed as the cause of the avalanche. A rare occurrence, as avalanches in that area, does not typically occur in the early morning."

"Kali caused that avalanche, sir."

"What? How is this even possible?" Manohar placed the spoon on his plate. That information alone has filled his stomach.

"Sir, we mounted the laser on the IL-76 plane, and on board were the DRDO LASTEC scientists. The ice was broken by focusing the beam, which melted the glacier, causing the avalanche. It was Kali's first experiment in the field, and we named it Operation White Wash. We kept it very secret to avoid international criticism. However, a defence YouTuber and blogger obtained some of its information and leaked it on the internet. It was discussed for a week in Pakistani media. But they refuse to acknowledge India's capability. 

"In today's situation, the Chinese are directly in our trap; we have marked all the mountains with glaciers, and I can assure you that it will be the largest graveyard of Chinese army soldiers; we are waiting for them.Pakistan's army and bases will be of little use to China because it is nearly flooded. Chinese naval operations will be hampered by the patrolling Quad navy. We will undoubtedly have the upper hand and will be able to reclaim some of Askai Chin that we lost in 1962."

"That's finally good news," Manohar said, picking up his napkin. "In a week, give me a detailed report on this." He thanked DM for the meal and exited the venue.

In an unusual turn of events over the next few weeks, the Chinese initiated Panda diplomacy. They gave a few pandas to the Darjeeling Zoo in the name of World Peace. They withdrew their armed forces forty kilometres back and asked India to withdraw by five kilometres, widening the grey area in the LAC. The withdrawal of Chinese forces was confirmed by the Rustam and Heron UAVs.

"What happened to the Chinese?" Manohar asked during a meeting with Dhoomal ."They don't even negotiate on an inch of land. And now they are withdrawing unilaterally? "

Dhoomal smiled, "Kali, sir."

"Did they find out about the Kali as well?"

"You may recall Raju, Mr Singh's assistant, who served us dinner the other day. IB's counterintelligence department discovered Raju had been compromised by the Chinese. We have since taken him into custody. Interrogation revealed he leaked the information. Pakistan might also have alerted the Chinese about the DEW (direct energy weapon). They were forced into war by the Chinese death trap, although Pakistan was unprepared for war. So it's a win-win situation for Pakistanis as well."

"Anyway, it's better that there isn't a war right now. The heights have been retaken by our forces. Before I hold election campaign rallies in various states, I am calling a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). Swarm drones, new cyber offensive cells, A.M.C.A., submarines, and the new 125KN engine are just a few of the defence projects that will be approved all at once. I don't want to depend on our partners in case of an emergency once more."

After three years ...

"Congratulations, sir ... You are the first prime minister to be elected to a fourth term."

"You and my team do not allow me to grow old, Dhoomalji," Manohar said with a rare smile.

"A 16-hour workday schedule will never make you old, PM Saab."

"Dhoomalji, our armed forces are now well-equipped, the Indian economy and the industrial base are mature enough to produce any defence product. However, I'd like to see the Kali who defended us from the Chinese when they were about to attack."

"All right, Pradhan Mantriji, I'll set up your Friday trip to the lab."

Manohar and Dhoomal were both present at the lab visit. There was no media coverage because it was a private visit.

It was the Kali that Manohar saw. The railgun was at the end of a huge cylindrical container.

Manohar had a technical background. He immediately questioned the scientists present after noticing the apparatus, "This does not seem like a finished product, at least far from the weaponised form." 

"We are working on it, sir. After a single shot, it takes about an hour to cool down." The lab's director explained. "To use it as a weapon, we need to further miniaturise it."

"What was inside IL-76 aircraft, then?" Manohar fixed a glare on Mr Dhoomal.

Dhoomal grinned, "It only carried our soldiers. IB told me that Raksha Mantri's house had a mole in it. I purposely leaked the Kali information and tailored the IL-76 to support our case. It was devoid of any weapons, but Chinese intelligence may have captured the images of modified IL-76."

"Was the avalanche on the Pakistani post caused by a natural phenomenon? And what about Operation WhiteWash?"

"WhiteWash Operation is only on YouTube, sir," Dhoomal smiled.

"Oh!, mighty God"

"Sir, here are the full details of our plan and operation during the Chinese invasion." Dhoomal handed a file to PM Manohar. "Sir, last question, what shall we name this operation?"

Manohar smiled as he spoke,"Operation Wrath of Kali, perhaps?"

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