New Delhi: More details came to light on Thursday of the daring operation against terrorists by Indian Army para commandos behind enemy lines in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Even as some politicians demand evidence on the surgical strike, India Today received fresh inputs from intelligence sources on the manner in which the commando operation was conducted.
Following approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the DGMO activated the Special Forces units deployed under Northern Command.
The two units chosen for the task were the Udhampur-based 9 Para Commandos and the 4 Para Commandos. The commanders were told to provide their best ‘assault troops’ for covert strikes on terrorist launch pads which were being monitored closely by the local intelligence units in the Uri, Poonch and Bhimbher sector along the Line of Control.
The Special Forces squad comprised of four assault teams – a total of nearly 100 men. There were three assault teams and one weapons team with troopers who operate heavy weapons – including RPO7 flame throwers, PK machine guns captured from terrorists and rocket launchers.
The assault teams of 24 Special Forces operatives each from the 9 Para and the 4 Para were further divided into teams of 12 each. These small teams were pushed into PoK under the cover of darkness from four locations in Kel, Tutmari Gali, Nangi Tekri and Baalnoi post in Mendhar sector.
The artillery units in the area provided support and cover to the Special Forces by shelling Pakistani posts across the 250-kilometre arch besides diverting the attention of the Pakistan Army posts.
Around midnight, the troops began moving in to destroy identified launchpads which are used by terrorists as a waiting section. The commandos, in jungle camouflage, walked slowly using night-vision devices and night sights on their Israeli Tavor rifles.
When troops reached villages housing the launchpads, they used the element of surprise to barge into buildings firing the Russian RPO7 flame throwers which created 3,000-degree Celsius temperatures in the building, causing massive explosions and destruction.
Overall, in the almost four-hour-long operations, four to five launchpads were attacked and the number of kills in these attacks is close to 50, sources said.
Following completion of the mission, the Special Forces informed the higher ranks who instructed them to use the same infiltration routes that are used by the terrorists.
Once the troops returned, Army helicopters were sent to fetch the officers to take them to Udhampur and Nagrota for debriefing on the operation.
The government is of the view that though it doesn’t want to escalate the situation into a war, it also wants to be prepared for any eventuality considering the unstable situation in Pakistan, sources claimed.
Earlier today, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held a meeting with three services chief where the Army, Air Force and Navy listed critical shortages faced by them.
The Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag also visited South Western Command in Jaipur today to review operational plan and preparedness on Gujarat and Punjab border.