Surgical Strikes A Message To Pakistan: Indian Army Experts
Indian Army’s “surgical strikes” on terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC)has sent a message to Pakistan to not take India for granted, security experts said on Thursday, and noted that there may not be escalation in the situation as Islamabad has denied there was any such military action. The cross-border strikes were carried out on Wednesday night in retaliation for Pakistan-backed terrorist action on Indian soil, the Army said. Defence sources said seven terror launch pads across the LoC were destroyed by special forces of the Indian Army on the intervening night of September 28 and 29 in a nearly five-hour-long operation during which heliborne and ground forces were deployed. The sources said the launch pads in PoK were in the range of 2 to 3km from the LoC and were under surveillance for over one week while Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the strikes targeted five to six places across the LoC along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Naidu said there was no casualty on the Indian side.
The Pakistani military, however, said there were no such strikes by India, and “instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon.” The Army action came 11 days after the terror attack in Uri that killed 18 soldiers Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that those behind the Uri attacks will not go unpunished.
Since then, there have been a series of toplevel meetings to firm up government’s multi-pronged response. India has blamed the Uri terror attack on militants from Pakistan. Former Army Chief Genenral VP Malik said that Indian Army’s military action was not against Pakistan or the Pakistani Army but on terrorist launch pads. “While India is not interested in the whole situation escalating but if Pakistan does something, we will have to be prepared,” Gen Malik said. The general, who was the Army chief during the Kargil war, hailed the “first-ever” calibrated surgical strike by the Army. “Chances of escalation may be minimal but in such a situation, you cannot rule (that) out. I don’t think it is in India’s interests to see an escalation but if Pakistan wants it then India will have to be prepared,” he added.
Uday Bhaskar, security analyst and director, Society for Policy Studies, said the surgical strike against the terrorist camps announced by the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, has confirmed what had been anticipated over the last few days - namely that the Modi team would ‘respond’ in an appropriate manner to the enormity of the Uri terror attack. “Two aspects merit notice. India has confirmed that the attack was against terror infrastructure along the Line of Control (LoC) - and that the objective had been realised. It was further added by the Indian DGMO that he had informed his Pakistani counterpart,” Mr Bhaskar said. “With this two messages have been conveyed. One, India does not wish to escalate the military operation and the target was terror - and not the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Pakistan. Two, the onus for restraint or escalation is now on Rawalpindi - the GHQ of the Pakistan military,” he added. Mr Bhaskar said that the domestic political message is clear. “PM Modi is indeed committed to defend India’s security interests - and will take firm action when required - as promised during his election campaign. However, what needs to be tracked now is the response from Pakistan and the sub-continental trajectory that the post surgical strike days will follow,” he said. A former government security official, who did not want to be named, said that Pakistan has reduced its options by denying the Indian military action.