After years of terror strikes supported by Pakistan, the Indian Army has hit back with a textbook surgical strike that caused heavy casualties including 2 Pakistani soldiers and destroyed seven terror camps. The latest imagery suggests that the number of casualties of terrorists across the LoC is around 50.
Ghatak platoon of 6 Bihar and 10 Dogra units were made part of the surgical operations as they were familiar with the terrain. It also gave them a sense of responsibility in avenging the deaths of their fellow jawans. Both units suffered losses in the Uri terror attack on September, 18.
Few hours after the surgical strikes in PoK, Pakistan government has released the photographs of 2 dead soldiers. They have been identified as Havildar Jumma Khan and Naik Imtiaz.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army has issued a statement, saying one soldier from 37 RR with weapons inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the LoC. It has denied reports of any Indian casualties.
India Today has got exclusive details of the inside story behind the surgical strikes.
It was around midnight when the Army’s Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters with 25 Special Forces Operatives from 4-para and 9-para crossed the LoC into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The helicopters dropped the Operatives at earmarked spots and returned. They were now in enemy territory.
HOW THEY REACHED THE TARGET
The Special Forces Troops crawled through mud, rocks, and even landmines for about 3 kilometres with the threat of being caught in the Pakistan army’s crosshairs. Their destinations included seven launch pads where a large number of terrorists had gathered.
The launch pads were for terrorists waiting to infiltrate into the Indian side of the LoC to carry out terror attacks in the country. The terror launch pads were located in Bhimbar, Kel, Tattapani and Leepa areas.
The launch pads were under close surveillance by the Indian intelligence agencies. RAW and Military Intelligence had kept an eye on every single movement of terrorists in the target zone.
THE SURGICAL STRIKE
The surgical strike team had six targets in mind, three of which were completely destroyed during the operation. Commandos were equipped with Tavor and M-4 guns, grenades and smoke grenades. They also carried under barrel grenade launchers (UBGL) and night-vision devices. They wore camera-mounted helmets.
After reaching the target spot, the commandos used the element of surprise to mount rapid and deadly attacks on the enemy. With the terrorists taken by surprise, the crack troops added to the chaos by firing a flurry of smoke grenades into the terror camps.
Their actions were so precise and quick that by the time terrorists and Pakistani army personnel realized what was happening, at least 50 terrorists had been killed. Two Pakistani army personnel were also killed in the action.
Two Para commandos of the strike team received injuries during the mission from landmines.
Meanwhile in Delhi, in a scene similar to the US mission to take out Osama bin Laden, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag monitored the entire operation in real time, receiving footage from the helmet cameras as well as a drone.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being regularly briefed on the progress of the operation.
Parrikar congratulated the Army for its successful operation. He said that Army had “credible information about the presence of terrorists in the area and we carried out surgical attacks on those camps.” PoK is part of India, Parrikar added.
In an important diplomatic move, Doval spoke to his American counterpart Susan Rice and took her into confidence about the cross-border operation.
A DINNER SKIPPED AND A WAR ROOM MEETING
The operation that began at 12.30 am past midnight ended at around 4.30 am on Thursday. Army headquarters in Delhi had finished its preparation for the operation by 8 pm on Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, in fact, there was a dinner at the Coastguard Commander Conference in New Delhi. Besides Parrikar, Doval and General Suhag were expected to attend the dinner party.
However, the three skipped the dinner and held a war-room meeting at Army headquarters, where they reviewed the plan for the surgical operation and gave their final approval.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said that the army had done what it said by “giving a befitting reply at the place and time of its own choice”.
VIGILANT AFTER STRIKE
After paying back Pakistan in the same coin, the Indian Army’s morale is high but it has also stepped up vigil along the LoC and the border in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Punjab.
All the three armed forces and paramilitary forces have been put on the highest alert. The leaves of Army and BSF personnel have been cancelled.
Areas adjacent to border and LoC in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are being evacuated. Additional deployment of BSF personnel is also being made. There is a high alert from Gujarat to Kashmir along the border and LoC. Coast Guard has been asked to be extra vigilant.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Army on successful counter-terrorism operations.
Meanwhile, the UN has asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and encouraged them to continue their effort to resolve their differences peacefully and through dialogue.
“We are obviously following the situation with great concern concerning the increase of tensions across the Line of Control,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
ALERT AND AT WORK
Satellites, radar chains and NTRO facilities are monitoring the situation 24×7. The officers in Military Operations room are constantly analysing the inputs coming from the LoC and Indo-Pakistan border. The army has got inputs that suggest troop movement and mechanised infantry mobilisation by the Pakistani army.
Highly placed sources confirmed that matching response machinery had been put in place to counter any misadventure by the Pakistani army. Western air command fighter bases and platforms were on operational readiness mode.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag were in office till 11 pm on Thursday monitoring the situation.