New Delhi: One year ago, on the intervening night of September 28-29, the special commandos of Indian Army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) to hit the targets to the south of Pir Panjal range in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The next day, the Army announced having had conducted surgical strike in PoK. The surgical strike followed one of the bloodiest terror strikes on army camps in the country.
The operation that went on for over five hours not only dealt a massive blow to terrorists planning major attacks in India, it also avenged the Uri attack where 17 Army personnel were killed.
The targets had been identified on the basis of Indian Army’s knowledge about training camps and terror launch pads across the LoC. Two commanding officers of the Indian Army led two separate teams of para commandos (Special Forces). They crossed the LoC independent of each other but with the same purpose.
The then Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda held a few rounds of meetings with the political leadership including PM Modi, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The Army got a go-ahead nod.
ONE YEAR LATER
Speaking at a book release function in New Delhi on Monday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the surgical strike was successful and it sent a message. “The strike was a message we wanted to communicate to them and they have understood what we mean…that things could follow up, if required,” General Rawat said.
More than 450 ceasefire violations have happened along the LoC since the surgical strike in PoK. This means that the 2003-ceasefire agreement no longer exists.
For decades, India-Pakistan relation has followed a set pattern of diplomacy. After every major terror strike, India would blame Pakistani establishment for attack, scale down diplomatic relation, call Pakistan’s High Commissioner to lodge strong protest and raise the issue at international fora. And, after some time, fresh round of engagement would begin.
A similar response was expected by Pakistan after the Uri attack. But, under pressure after the killing of 19 soldiers – mostly in their sleep – in their camp, and having conducted a cross-border operation in Myanmar in 2015, the Modi government and the Indian Army prepared for something bigger.
The surgical strike stunned Pakistan. Before it could understand what happened in its own backyard, the Indian Army’s special commandos had come back to their side of the LoC by the daybreak on September 29. Pakistan was under pressure to respond but that could have meant serious escalation at LoC and possibly along the border.
One year later, when India exposed Pakistan’s doublespeak on terrorism at the UNGA, China, though unhappy with New Delhi’s tone and tenor, admitted that its “all-weather friend” encouraged terrorism.