The political Opposition of India must be held guilty of dirtying the lustre of our rarest or rare “surgical strikes” undertaken in the wee hours of September 29, 2016. That was when some 200 Special Forces of ours sneaked from our soil into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, neutralized at least 40 terrorists and pulverized some terror launching pads there. All that was done without losing even one of our brave hearts. Bravo!
Sadly, Opposition political parties are making dirty allegations ranging from calling the strikes as “fake” to alleging ‘politicization’ by the Modi-led government in using the nation’s Army. The causes of that macabre, murky politics are duplicity, ignorance and fear,
Let us consider each of those causes.
Because Prime Minister Modi had, in his election campaign, said that “Bullets and bombs cannot go together with talks” (with Pakistan), the Opposition had ridiculed him and heckled him for not doing anything about that assertion in his 29-month stint after becoming the country’s PM. The Opposition, even the insignificant members like K.C, Tyagi of the JD(U), had ridiculed him for indulging in what they construed as biryani treatment of Pakistan, starting from inviting the Pak PM for attending his oath-taking ceremony to sudden landing in Lahore for a birthday greeting meeting with the Pak PM and his family.
But, when September 29 happened, these same political leaders revealed an utter lack of grace and instead indulged in duplicity. They were all so stunned that they had not a single word of praise for Mr. Modi. They extolled only the Indian Army, refusing to convert their previous barbs into fulsome bouquets for their Prime Minister.
Yes, Arvind Kejriwal, the self-confessed anarchist Chief Minister of Delhi, did salute our PM in a video message. But, behind that salute was a typically cunning demand. Couching his doubt about the act of “surgical strikes”, he asked for substantial proof of it, so as to counter the Pak propaganda that no such strike had happened. Certain foreign media persons were taken by the Pak to see “the proof” and had reported zilch, he said. Here, then, was a Chief Minister of an Indian State, who so clearly believed that Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), who announced the fact and features of the “surgical strikes”, was shameless enough to stand in front of the national and international media to make a statement that was false in content and intended to delude the Indian people. The truth was that, in the opinion of Lt Gen Satish Nambiar, (who served the Indian Army for nearly 40 years, including as a DGMO), Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh rightly gave out as much detail as was necessary and no more. The Modi government had also addressed an all-party meeting on September 29 to the same effect. But, Kejriwal, the anarchist, probably believed that everyone else, apart from himself and Pakistan, is a liar till proved otherwise.
Yes, Rahul Gandhi, speaking at Jantar Mantar, did say that, for the first time in his stint as PM, Modi had taken a decision befitting a PM. But, that was at best an aberration in his “Pappu” mind, because just a few days later, he raised his most despicable accusation that Modi, the PM, was doing khoon ki dalali, (trading in the blood). Why? Simply because some lower district official of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh had put up posters showing Jawans in the background of triumphant senior BJP leaders. This was another duplicity on show. That khonn ki dalali accusation was probably an excellent example of the Freudian concept of “Projection”, whereby the innermost thoughts of an individual are projected by him onto someone else.
But, this duplicity was no less an example of guttural politics than that of Sanjay Nirupam, some sort of a leader in the Mumbai Congress, who visually dubbed the Indian Army’s “surgical strikes” as “fakes”. A greater insult to our Army is unimaginable. But, Nirupam has gone unpunished by his party till the time of writing this. Why? Because, as some believe, Nirupam is, for some reason, protected by Rahul Gandhi. Seemingly, the “great” Indian National Congress has sunk to the point of vinash kale vipareet buddhi (at the self-destructive stage, the brain complies).
The Congress Party’s palpable ignorance of the concept of “surgical strikes” was evident just five days after the historic event in POK on September 29. In a media meet, the Congress sought to diminish, nay rubbish the surgical strikes, and claimed that, like the present NDA government, its own UPA government had also conducted “surgical strikes”, but without making them public. It listed three dates: September 1, 2011; July 28, 2013 and January 14, 2014.
Highlights of each of the three above, as given by the Congress itself, are as follows:
In the September 2011 episode, “Five Indian and three Pakistani soldiers were killed in a shooting between August 30 and September 1 across the Line of Control in Kupwara district. Both countries accused each other of initiating hostilities.”
In the 2013 episode, “On July 27, a Pakistan Army soldier was reportedly killed and another seriously injured in ‘unprovoked firing’ by Indian troops from across the LOC, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported. The Pakistan foreign office condemned the shooting. But the Indian Army blamed the Pakistani troops for violating the ceasefire. Later, on the night of July 30, there were reports that four Pakistani men were killed near Kawar post in India. India said the men were ‘intruders’ and “militants”, but Pakistan disputed that claim and said the men were ‘local civilians’ plucking herbs and had stayed close to the LOC when they were abducted by the Indian soldiers.”
In the 2014 episode, “On January 13, the then Army Chief, General Bikram Singh said that a strong reply had been given to last year’s cross-border raids by Pakistan, referring to reports that 10 Pakistani soldiers had been killed in action across the LOC.”
The Congress overlooked the Operation Ginger, when it gave the above details of the “surgical strikes”, which it said, had been undertaken during the UPA regime from 2004 to 2012. Operation Ginger happened in August 2011, as a tit-for-tat reaction to Pakistan’s audacity of beheading three Indian soldiers a month earlier in a remote military post in Kupwara district of Jammu & Kashmir. Major General (retired) S.K. Chakravorty, who planned and executed the strikes, as the head of the Kupwara-based 28 Division, confirmed the attack to the newspaper that sought to help the Congress out. He, however, refused to divulge any more information on the attack to the newspaper.
However, Lt. General Ravi Arora has a different take on that attack of Operation Ginger. “There is no doubt that it took place”, he said, but “The only debate is whether it was surgical strike or ambush.” It was his view that what the Indian Army had done was to launch an “all-out ambush attack on vulnerable posts across the Line of Control.” Now, an “ambush attack” is undertaken with “the enemies in front. If you attack from behind, additional damage will be dealt.” Such an attack is intended only to kill, unlike a “Surgical Strike” defined militarily by Collins as “a military action designed to destroy a particular target.”
Considering that General Arora has considerable personal experience in the academics of army tactics training, besides being the Editor of “The Indian Military Review” magazine, his view on the Operation Ginger must be treated with respect, if not with a salute. In fact, that is why perhaps the Congress ignored it in its media briefings on October 4 this year.
Even to the common man, it is clear that the above three specific episodes (cited by the Congress, not by a newspaper) are no more than just some firing skirmishes near the LOC. But you cannot expect more from arrogant and vain Congress spokespersons, who don’t do even some simple reading before they open their mouths. Below is some knowledge for them.
Reacting to the Congress trumpet-blowing, Lieut. Gen. Bhatia, who was the DGMO during the UPA rule, told a prominent TV Channel that “The previous Strikes in the UPA government were decisions at the lower level, for responding to firing by Pak across the LOC.” He added that “Earlier strikes were not even strikes, they were cross-border operations done at the local level.”
“There’s a qualitative difference in Strategic Strikes carried out this time. They had formal approval and sanction from Government” tweeted General Deepak Kapoor to ANI News. And remember he was appointed the Chief of Army Staff on 30 September 2007 and Chairman, Chief of Staff’s Committee, on 31 August 2009, and he retired on 31 March 2010.
That is also why Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar, from his sick bed of viral fever, wrote out an article in which, inter alia, he http://www.hvk.org/2016/1016/17.htmlsaid “My compliments to the Government of the day for giving the Indian Army the clearance for the conduct of the operation.”
Note, dear readers, the mention of “prior approval” and “giving the clearance to the Indian Army” in the above two quotes. They indicate the gravity and rarity of “Surgical Strikes” inflicted by the Indian Army on 29th September, when for the first time ever, Indian forces were allowed to cross the LOC and undertake a military attack on enemy-held territory.
Now, let us see how the term “Surgical Strike” is defined. In “Military Topic” of Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English, a “Surgical Strike” is “a carefully planned quick military attack intended to destroy something in a particular place without damaging the surrounding areas/places” Similarly, the Collins Dictionary define a “Surgical Strike” as “a military action designed to destroy a particular target without harming other people or damaging other buildings near it.”
And here, finally, is the view of Kiran Kumar, Chairman of ISRO, which provided satellite information to our Army in the surgical strikes. He told PTI that “A surgical strike is distinct from other ways of attacking an enemy because the mission should be completed with minimal collateral damage and casualties. In such cases, it is essential that the army receive highly detailed intelligence information. Cartosat 2C satellite, launched on June 22nd by ISRO is designed to provide such accurate information.”
After reading the definitions above, can you consider the three Congress exercises mentioned above as “Surgical Strikes”? If you do, you must be Randeep Singh Surjewala, the aggressive and pompous Congress spokesman.
Fear is the last factor why the Congress and other chronic adversaries of the BJP are resorting to a contemptuous brand of politics by opposing what has happened and therefore, indirectly helping the Pakistani cause.
The fact is that these adversaries never expected PM Modi and his Cabinet Committee on Security to do what they permitted our Army to do. The unexpected success of the NDA government in conducting the Surgical Strikes has now left them gloomy about their own electoral prospects in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa in 2018 and in the Lok Sabha elections to be held the year thereafter.
It is evident that the Opposition failed to assess how Modi government’s commitment to national security and national interest is very resolute. In contrast, General Bikram Singh told a TV interviewer on October 1 that he was not surprised with what happened on September 29. He said he had spent just two months with the Modi Government as the Chief of Army Staff (31 May 2012 till 31 July 2014) and, after analyzing some of its bold initiatives, he was not surprised at the launch of Surgical Strikes. In that interview General Bikram Singh had nothing but praise for the ruling government’s political will, which he said was so different from that of the earlier political masters.
The BJP adversaries are now afraid that PM Modi and his party will milk the success of their “Surgical Strikes” in the near future. But, let us not forget that the Congress were the ones, who had latched on to the triumph of creating Bangladesh by permitting Dev Kant Barooah, President of the Indian National Congress, to proclaim, c. 1974, that “India is Indira and Indira is India” (Ram Guha, India After Gandhi, p. 467), so as to let Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial ways continue as long as she wanted.
Whether Narendra Modi will retain his premiership after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is speculative. But it’s crystal clear that his adversaries already smell coffee and desperately want to change its flavor into that of a rancid brew.
Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Arvind Lavakere has been a freelance writer since 1957. He has written and spoken on sports on radio and TV. He currently writes on political issues regularly. His writings include a book on Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.