The Surgical Strike: Reminiscences
by Jaibans Singh on 30 Sep 2018 6 Comments

“Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control (LOC) with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and in various other metros in our country, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads,” said Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, Director General Military Operations, Indian Army on September, 29, 2016.


At that point in time the common man in the country was not even aware as to what a “Surgical strike” entailed. Later, it became known that our brave soldiers had, in a daring overnight operation deep into the Pakistan side of the LOC, destroyed more than seven terrorist camps. The attack was carried out simultaneously at four different locations of Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel and Lipa and resulted in the death of 38 terrorists and two Pakistani soldiers. No casualties were suffered by the Indian raiding parties.


It became quite apparent within a few days of the strike having taken place that the strategic perspective of the country would never be the same again. The operation established the nation’s will to take the fight into Pakistan-held Indian territories (Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir) in order to ensure its security and territorial integrity.


The operation added to the shame of the Pakistan Army that was already facing flak for having engineered, through its notorious Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency, a cowardly attack on an Indian army establishment at Uri in the Kashmir valley on September, 18, 2016.


Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh made it amply clear that the operations were, “Basically focused to ensure that the terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country.”


The terrorist attack at Uri had demonstrated the inability of the Pakistan army to face its adversaries head-on. By resorting to cowardly indoctrination of impoverished civilians and putting them on the path of terrorism and using them as cannon fodder to further its unholy objectives, the Pakistan Army shamed not only itself but the soldiering community of the world.


The Indian “Surgical Strike,” on the other hand, was unique in its righteousness, planning and conduct. Unlike Pakistan that sent in terrorists to create violence in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army, in keeping with the highest tenets of soldiering, sent its soldiers to destroy the enemy. Unlike Pakistan, the Indian Army was quick to acknowledge that it had carried out the operation for the sake of national security.


Now, as the second anniversary of the surgical strike approaches on September 29, a visibly embarrassed Pakistan is trying to deflect attention from its perfidy by carrying out covert operations against India. The barbaric killing and mutilation of Head Constable Narender Singh at Ramgarh, Samba, in Jammu region, and abduction followed by killing of two Special Police Officers and one Policeman of Jammu and Kashmir Police, are a part of the Pakistani plan to save face. A massive infiltration bid by Pakistani terrorists in the Tangdhar region has been foiled by the Indian Army and five of the infiltrators have been trapped and killed.


The Pakistani establishment is resorting to such desperate means to keep up the morale of their depleting terrorist cadre in Kashmir Valley, by a misplaced show of bravado. They wish to give an assurance to the terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir that they are with them all the way.


The Indian Army, on its part, is least affected by the carefully choreographed machinations of the Pakistani establishment. The Northern Command of the Indian Army, along with the state Police and paramilitary forces, with the full support of the local people, successfully thwarting the evil designs of Pakistan. It is carrying out intensive and sustained counter-terrorist operations with great success.


A day after the barbaric killing of Head Constable Narender Singh at Samba, Indian security forces carried out an incisive operation at Bandipora, Kashmir in which six terrorists were eliminated; operations are continuing in other areas also along the LOC. The Northern Command, incidentally, is now commanded by Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh who, as DGMO, masterminded the surgical strike. He is fast emerging as the biggest thorn in Pakistan’s evil designs.


The surgical strike was not successful in putting a lid on the proliferation of terror into Jammu and Kashmir. Such a development was, in any case, not sought by the military commanders who planned and carried out the strike. The operation, however, did revive the morale of the Indian forces who got into counter-terrorist operations with renewed gusto and went on to cause irreparable damage and casualties to the Pakistan-sponsored terror structure operating in the state, especially in the Kashmir Valley.


Pakistan did not receive even an iota of support from the other countries and it felt the heat of international isolation. The situation led to a degree of introspection by the political leadership in Islamabad and unfortunately resulted in the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on flimsy corruption charges and the subsequent installation of Imran Khan as a proxy prime minister, ready to do the bidding of his own Army Chief. This turn of events makes the unassailable position of the army in Pakistan amply clear. It also indicates that all voices advocating reasonable dialogue with India will be throttled ruthlessly by the Pakistan Army. Under these circumstances, it is better for India to desist from opening any dialogue with the neighbouring country. Cancellation of the meeting between the foreign ministers is a step in the right direction.


The India-Pakistan relationship and the environment of foreign-sponsored terror in Jammu and Kashmir is not critical but, at the same time, it has not improved to any great degree. The security challenge remains as does the resolve of the security forces to meet it with all energy at their disposal. 


It is being widely speculated whether the Indian Army would carry out a surgical strike again. It can be said with all confidence that the Army would not hesitate from doing anything that it perceives to be necessary for the security of the nation. The Indian army reserves the right to strike and retaliate against Pakistani misadventures at the time and place of its choosing and at a scale it considers appropriate, with full support from the Government of India and the people of the nation. 

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