In­dian Army Strikes Ter­ror­ist

Launch Pads in POK

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Gul­shan Luthra

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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