The final decision on this rests with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Top army officers, speaking off record, said that the army is keen that India releases evidence that will answer those alleging the strikes never happened.
This recommendation was made in the wake of Pakistan’s military establishment persistently claiming that the September 29 predawn strikes never happened.
Weighing Pakistan response to move
Since then, some Opposition politicians in India, including Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam, have asked for ‘proof ’ of the strikes.
Top government officials, also speaking off record, told ET that the decision on whether or not to release the strike footage will depend on the larger call on likely Pakistani response. One possibility being considered is whether making the video evidence public may escalate Indo-Pak tensions by forcing the Pakistani establishment into a corner.
The army, its top strategists said, has ample evidence to show the cross-border strikes were highly effective. There’s video footage as well as photographs, shot by both ground troops and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were deployed to monitor the operation.
“There is no doubt at all that the strikes inflicted heavy damage. The proof is available with the government that clearly shows our troops engaging the targets effectively,”a senior government official said.
So far, armed forces’ only public comment on the surgical strikes has been the September 29 statement from the Director-General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh. Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who is the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, said on Tuesday that comments are not being made as the situation is still “live”.
“I think I should not say anything because it is very sensitive and things are still live,”he said. Air Chief Marshal Raha also said the Indian Air Force holds the “power to punish” but any decision on using IAF in an offensive role has to be taken by the government.