Surgical Strikes: India ups the ante
After offering Pakistan a basketful of sweet carrots, India has wielded a stick in its carrot-and-stick policy towards our western neighbour. That’s how the surgical strikes carried out by Special Forces on militant hideouts along the Line of Control in Occupied Kashmir on Wednesday night were described in some official circles.
The secret midnight operation is reportedly monitored by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval from the Army HQ in New Delhi.
Details of the operation were revealed on Thursday at a joint press conference held by the top officials of the ministries of defence and external affairs in New Delhi. Among the details that emerged at the press briefing, ground forces and attack helicopters were used to destroy seven terrorist camps located about 2-3km from LoC. The army has claimed at least 38 casualties on the enemy side and safe return of all our troops that took part in the operation.
While the limited ‘surgical strikes’ to neutralize suspected terrorist camps across the border had been on the cards for a while, this was the first time the Modi government had pushed it. While the operation was hailed with usual gusto, the logical question that arises is, will the relatively mild action –Air Force was not involved, according to the government – lead to a full-fledged conflict? What will be Pak response? If that country’s civil and military leaders’ rhetoric is any indication, they are “fully prepared to give (India) a befitting reply.”
Soon after India revealed its surgical strikes, Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called them “unprovoked and naked aggression,” adding, “our intent for peaceful neighbourhood should not be mistaken as our weakness as our valiant forces are fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of our country.”
The Pakistan Military, on the other hand, dismissed the Indian claim saying Delhi had fabricated a surgical strike out of cross-border firing. “The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists’ bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects,” the military said in a statement. Echoing Army’s rebuttal, Pak Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif called the raid a lie. However, he admitted there was an exchange of fire along the LoC in which two soldiers were killed.