Indian Army Strikes Terrorist
Launch Pads in POK
NEW DELHI. Indian Army commandoes struck seven terrorist launch pads on September 29 along the Line of Control (LOC) but inside the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) in multiple sectors, killing some 40 terrorists along with half a dozen Pakistani soldiers escorting them. The Director General Military Operations ( DGMO), Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, announced the strikes at a press briefing shortly after, saying that the special forces of the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes in the early hours of the day to preempt terrorist groups from infiltrating into India and attacking border towns and metro cities. Each launch pad normally houses 10 to 15 terrorists, and the Pakistani army infiltrates them into India in batches of four or five under cover of diversionary fire.
The nearly four-hour operation was supported by drones on the Indian side and satellite connectivity to beam it through night imagery cameras to the Army headquarters in New Delhi where Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval, Army Chief, Gen Dalbir Singh, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, and top officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force as well as the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs had gathered.
Pakistan denied the Indian strike, saying there was only an exchange of fire in the area, killing two Pakistani soldiers.
Indian officials said they expected “ugly” responses from the Pakistani army, which has sponsored sabotage and terrorism against India for a quarter century as it has been beaten in every war it initiated.
SOLDIERS CROSSED OVER ON FOOT
Although Indian soldiers went to the terror camps on foot, it is logical that they would have had the cover of Combat Air Patrol (CAP) on the Indian side from the Indian Air Force (IAF), which of course has not been mentioned. Helicopters from the IAF as well as Army were reportedly on standby with backup troops to take on any enemy firepower eruption or to meet any contingency.
This would be a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), just in case the Pakistanis reacted hysterically. Incidentally, IAF has also done routine exercises earlier this week along the border, and again, various aspects of possible Pakistani diplomatic and military retaliation would have been calculated and counter measures placed appropriately.
The action was tactical in nature, close to the LoC, and the DGMO called his Pakistani counterpart to explain the operation before he called the press conference to announce the strike to an anguished country, angry over the Uri terror attack 11 days back in which 18 soldiers (and one more later due to injuries) were killed by Pakistanis.
“I have just spoken to the Pakistani DGMO and explained our concerns and also shared with him the operations we had conducted last night,” Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said.
Surgical operations are invariably secret
and target details are not disclosed even to the participating soldiers till the last minute even while they are prepared through exercises for an offensive.
The Indian Army suffered no casualties in the beautifully executed operation to insert troops, hit the targeted terrorists with precision and extricate own troops along with material evidence including Pakistani marked GPS devices and reportedly also a few of the Pakistani terrorists. A launch pad can simply be a shed or even the shade of a tree where few people can gather as commonly seen across India and Pakistan.
INDIA FINALLY GOES ON OFFENSIVE DEFENCE, INTRODUCES NEW DYNAMIC
Indian officials said the strike was limited to contain the terrorists getting ready to infiltrate into India, and was not a declaration of war. The action though indicates a landmark change in India’s policy of strategic restraint towards offensive defence. There will be a different dynamic from now on in
Director General Military Operations (DGMO), Ranbir Singh and external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup after addressing a press conference, in New Delhi
the military relations between the two neighbours.
This is the first time after the 1971 War that India has officially acknowledged crossing the LoC, and although the Indian armed forces have been put on alert for any retaliation, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said the operation against the terrorists was over.
DGMO ASKS PAK ARMY TO JOIN HANDS IN COMBATING TERRORISTS
Lt Gen Ranbir Singh though asked his counterpart to join India in eliminating terrorism. That is a wishful thinking however as virtually every terrorist in the world passes through Pakistani schools of terrorism, and former Pakistan President and army Chief Gen Parvez Musharraf is on record saying his country will sponsor and support those terrorists who hit India. Those who attack Pakistan have been described by him as bad terrorists. Pakistan, whose defence minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif had threatened to nuke India just a day before, officially denied any Indian Army insertion, saying there was only a border skirmish in which two of its soldiers were killed.
WORLD SUPPORTS INDIA
Understandably, there was hardly any sympathy for Pakistan from the international community, and the US and other
western nations, themselves sick of export of terror from Pakistan, asked Islamabad to cooperate in elimination of terrorism.
Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar briefed envoys from 22 countries to explain the operation and emphasise the necessity of international cooperation in eliminating the evil of terrorism globally.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who cleared the Army action, received full political and popular support from across the spectrum of parties and people across the country. Gen Dalbir Singh and top military officials paid several visits to the border areas, and there were meetings between the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force also.
Notably, the Army brass is being welcomed everywhere, and Lt Gen Ranbir Singh is being patted with smiles and Thank You wherever he is seen. Invariably, the Indian Army has seethed in anger after periodic terror hits on India, but has been restrained by the political leadership from retaliation.
Procedurally, it is the Prime Minister of the country who has to authorise any “intrusive mission” by the armed forces or intelligence organisations, and after decades, according to Lt Gen BS Pawar (Retd), free hand has now been given to the Indian Army to hit back as and when the Pakistani army does any mischief. As for Pakistan, it may be recalled that Pakistan has always denied everything, including involvement of its army troops in the 1999 Kargil War, or the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai in 2008 despite overwhelming evidence.