India's 'Surgical Strikes' on Pakistan - Controlled Kashmir

Introduction

The surgical strikes conducted by India as a military retaliation to the Uri attack has demonstrated a significant paradigm shift in India’s response to cross border terrorism.

Pakistan was caught unawares and literally napping while the Special Forces from 9 and 4 Para SF inserted across the Line of Control on the night of 28-29th September and smashed 5-7 terror camps, inflicting heavy casualties (approx. 38), without losing a single Indian soldier.

Surgical Strikes Led by:

Director General of Military Operations Lt General Ranbir Singh in a joint press briefing with the MEA revealed that Indian forces led by a Special Operations Group led the surgical strikes operation and caused significant casualties to terrorists and those who were shielding them.

What is a Surgical Strike?

A surgical strike is essentially a swift and targeted attack on specific target that aims to neutralise them while ensuring minimum collateral damage to the surrounding areas and civilians. Neutralisation of targets with surgical strikes also prevents escalation to a full blown war. Surgical strikes are part of India’s Cold Start doctrine and have proved effective in foiling a new infiltration bid by terrorists groups across the LoC who were ready to attack several locations in Jammu and Kashmir and other Metro cities in India.

Pakistan’s Modus Operandi for Infiltration:

i) Pakistan had gained confidence after the Uri attack, where 18 Indian soldiers had been killed by a Fidayeen attack on 18th September.
ii) In order to mount further pressure on India, especially with the prevailing law and order situation in J&K, Pakistan has put its complete weight behind inducting terrorists across the LoC. A total of 26 infiltration bids have been foiled by Indian troops during the very recent times.

Details about Conduct of Operation:

i) Indian intelligence and the forward troops were keeping a discrete eye on the developments across the LoC post the Uri attack.
ii) The specific launch pads of Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel & Lipa sectors, on Pak's side of LoC, that were targeted by the SF had been under constant close Indian surveillance for more than a week.
iii) Based on hard intelligence, the SF teams carried out through rehearsals about the conduct of the operation. Conduct of such a stealth operation, requires immense coordination and precision in timings and orders.
iv) The operation commenced at 12.30 am on the night of 28-29th September. As a deception measure, cross border fire of heavy mortars and guns on Pakistani posts in other areas was launched.
v) In order to not violate the Pakistani airspace and maintain the element of stealth, Dhruv, ALH was used to Para-drop SF close to the designated target areas.
vi) The identified launch pads were 500m to 2-3km from the LoC, and were reported to have 25-30 terrorist with their handlers.
vii) The seven SF teams comprising of 22-25 personnel each were inserted with stealth and completely surprised the Paki’s who did not even get an opportunity to retaliate.
viii) The complete operation lasted just about four and a half hours and having completely destroyed seven launch pads, the SF teams returned to base safely.
ix) The surgical strikes were recorded on cameras and also cameras fitted on drones’ were used to record the footage.
x) The entire operation was monitored through the night by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval, Army Chief General DS Suhag and other top officials from the Army headquarters in Delhi.

Actions Taken by Government Post-Surgical Strikes:

i) Government immediately called for an all-party meeting, where the complete details of the operation was explained to the leaders. Including the opposition, all politicians have applauded the bold action of the government and saluted the army for its courageous action.
ii) The Director General Military Operations (DGMO), Lt General Ranbir Singh called for a press conference and the news was made public. He also informed that the Pak DGMO was intimated about the attacks.
iii) As a measure of perception management, the government also called for the meeting of envoys of 22 different countries and briefed them about the surgical operation undertaken by the Indian Army.
iv) In order to put Pakistan on a back foot, India is not terming this as a ‘military action’, but an anti-terror strike, in the territory which rightfully belongs to India. Hence, it is not any kind of a violation of international code.
v) The forces have been put on high alert, leave of troops in forward areas has been cancelled, satellite imagery is being employed to observe Pakistan’s movement of troops and air force is maintaining a high alert.
vi) Besides the above, as a precautionary measure, civilians have been asked to evacuated villages within 10km from the border in Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Conclusion:

The multipronged punitive actions taken up by the Indian government has sent a clear message to Pakistan that India has had enough and it is now, payback time.
It all started with the efforts for diplomatic isolation, movements to aptly shape the global perceptions, gaining regional support by calling off SAARC Summit in Islamabad, application of hard hitting coercive tactics through threat of limiting the Indus water resource and suspension of MFN status, and now the final and the most humiliating military action by way of surgical strikes across LoC.

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