AJK Surgical Strikes Planned After Success in Myanmar: Parrikar

NEW DELHI: The Indian army was readied for its disputed surgical strikes inside Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) because an Indian TV anchor had needled the Modi government to take on Pakistan the way it claimed to have crossed into Myanmar, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar has said according to a report on Saturday.

The Indian Express said Mr Parrikar found it “insulting” that a TV anchor dared a government minister after the 2015 anti-insurgency operation along the Myanmar border to carry out a similar strike in Azad Kashmir.

Speaking before a gathering of industrialists in Panaji on Friday, Mr Parrikar, now the Goa chief minister, said: “The surgical strikes against militants [in AJK] were planned 15 months in advance.”

On June 4, 2015, north-eastern Naga militant group NSCN-K ambushed an Indian Army convoy in Chandel district of Manipur and killed 18 soldiers. Mr Parrikar said when he was informed about the incident he felt insulted.

“A small terrorist organisation of 200 people killing 18 Dogra soldiers was an insult to the Indian Army and we sat in the afternoon and sat in the evening and worked out the [plan for] first surgical strike which was conducted on 8th June morning in which about 70-80 terrorists were killed [along the India-Myanmar border].”

That was a successful strike, he said, adding that on the army’s side the only instance of an injury was a leech attaching itself to a soldier’s leg.

Contrary to some reports, no helicopters were used.

“I had placed helicopters [on standby] only in case of emergency evacuation,” he said.

“But one question [from media] hurt me. [Union minister] Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, an ex-army man, was on TV and he was explaining about all kinds of search operations. An anchor asked him, ‘Would you have the courage and capability of doing the same on the western front’,” Mr Parrikar said.

“I listened very intensely but decided to answer when the time came. The starting of September 29 [2016] surgical strike on the western border was 9th of June, 2015…. We planned 15 months in advance. Additional troops were trained. Equipment was procured on priority basis,” he said.

The Swathi Weapon Locating Radar, developed by the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation, was used first in September 2016 to locate “firing units” of Pakistani Army, though the system was inducted officially three months later, he said.

 

Source: The Dawn

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