In the first such activity, Indian Army completed surgical strikes on seven terror launchpads over the LoC the previous evening with the Army saying its special forces inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists get ready to infiltrate from Pakistan-involved Kashmir (PoK).
Defence sources said seven terror launchpads over the Line of Control (LoC) were obliterated by special commandos of the Indian Army on the mediating night of September 28 and 29 in an about five-hour operation amid which heliborne and ground strengths were sent.
Sources said the launchpads in PoK were in the range of 2 to 3 kilometres from the LoC and were under surveillance for over a week while Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the strikes targeted 5 to 6 places across the LoC along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. Naidu said there was no casualty on the Indian side.
“Pakistan is guilty of increasing infiltration by terrorists along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and even the recently captured terrorists have confessed to their training and arming in Pakistan. The Global positioning systems (GPS) recovered from them established their Pakistani connect,” said Lt General Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), at a hurriedly called news conference on Thursday during which External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup was also present.
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These surgical strikes are the first military move made by India against Pakistan after the Uri assault in which 18 officers were killed as terrorists from Pakistan crossed into an Army camp not long ago. PM Narendra Modi had swore that the assault would not go unpunished.
General Singh said India shared with Pakistan details of the surgical strikes which followed “very specific information” that terrorists were positioning themselves in launchpads along the LoC. Pakistani troops had yesterday targetted Indian positions with small firearms along the Line of Control in Poonch district.
Prime Minister Modi had informed President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh about the strikes. Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti were also told.
General Singh said the strikes were launched after getting “very specific and credible” intelligence input that the infiltrators were being pushed to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and in some major Indian cities.
“The operations were basically focused to ensure these terrorists do not succeed to infiltrate India and carry out destruction, endangering the lives of citizens of our country,” the DGMO asserted. “During these counter terrorist operations, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who were trying to support them.”
“The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for continuation of further operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise,” he said.
The DGMO said there has been continuing and increasing infiltration across the Line of Control and the same is reflected in attacks in Poonch and Uri. “Infiltration of terrorists across Line of Control has been a matter of serious concern. Almost 20 infiltration attempts have been foiled by Army successfully this year” .
He said some terrorists caught were residents of Pakistan. He said they were trained in Pakistan. “Despite our persistent requests that Pakistan respect its commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, there have been no let up in infiltration or terrorist action inside our territory,” he said.
Singh further said, “If the damage has been limited, it has been primarily due to the efforts of soldiers of the Indian Army who are deployed in a multi-tier counter infiltration grid and most of the infiltration bids have been foiled at those locations. The Indian armed forces have been extremely vigilant in the face of continuing threat.”
He further said India’s intention is to maintain peace and tranquility in the region but it certainly can’t allow terrorists to operate along the LoC. “We expect the Pakistan army to cooperate with us to erase the menace of terrorism,” Singh added.
The declaration of the strikes was made not long after PM Narendra Modi led a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which was gone to by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag and DGMO Singh.
A surgical strike is a quick assault embraced by military on particular focuses with the aim to kill them while guaranteeing least inadvertent blow-back to the encompassing regions and regular citizens, and an ensuing come back to essential positions. It also prevents escalation to a full-blown war.
These assaults can be done by means of air attacks, airdropping exceptional operation groups or a ground operation. Each of the three Indian military have their different special forces groups. It requires detailed and extensive planning to carry out surgical strikes and achieve the objective. External intelligence is essential to do these strikes.
Meanwhile, Pakistan rejected India’s claim of ‘surgical strikes’ across LoC, saying ‘India fired at us from their side’.