Army strikes with surgical precision
In a media briefing on Thursday, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lt General Ranbir Singh said, “The operation was to hit out at the terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into Indian territory.”
“Based on very specific and credible information which we received on Wednesday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the line of control, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes last night at those launch pads. Significant causalities have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them. We don’t have any plan for further continuation of the operations. However, the Indian Armed Forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise,” General Singh, accompanied by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup, told mediapersons.
The action comes within days of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar conveying to Islamabad that “continuing cross-border terrorist attacks from Pakistan against India were unacceptable.” Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to MEA on Monday and given evidence of cross-border origins of Uri terror attack. This was the second time Basit was summoned to the South Block after the militant attack on Army camp in Uri.
According to sources, the operation which was launched after midnight on Wednesday concluded at 4.30 am on Thursday. “The terror launch pads targeted were in the range of 2 to 3km from the LoC and were under surveillance for over one week,” the sources said. The terror launch pads are such camps where terrorists assemble before infiltrating into the Indian territory with the help of the guides. Sources said the operation was a combination of helicopter-borne and ground forces consisting mainly of para commandos.
Pakistan, however, has refused knowledge about such an operation and termed it to be a case of cross-border firing but admitted that “its two soldiers died in the fire.” “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon,” it said.
Sources said that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and NSA Ajit Doval closely monitored the operations, which destroyed seven launch pads. Sources said, “The strikes targeted 5-6 places across the LoC along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. There was no casualty on the Indian side.”
The decision to make operations public was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on the situation along the LoC. The CCS is the apex decision-making body of the government on all issues pertaining to national security. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, Home minister Rajnath Singh, Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, Army chief Dalbir Singh, Home secretary Rajiv Mehrshi and Foreign secretary S Jaishankar attended the meeting.
At the briefing, the DGMO said he had spoken to his Pakistani counterpart and explained India’s concerns and also shared with him details of the operation. “It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but we can certainly not allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack the citizens of our country. In line with Pakistan’s commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control for any terrorist activities against India, we expect the Pakistani army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region,” Gen Singh said.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and former Prime Ministers Mahmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda were briefed on the surgical strikes. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti were also informed about the strikes. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj briefed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the strike. Later in the evening Home Minister Rajnath Singh held an all-party meeting where armed forces were congratulated for carrying out the successful strike.
Meanwhile,Border Security Force has put all border units along international border on high alert in the wake of the surgical strikes.
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