‘No record of any surgical strike prior to September 2016’, DGMO responds to RTI query

The Director-General of Military Operations(DGMO) in its recent reply to an RTI application, has said that there is no proof of any surgical strikes before September 29, 2016, responding to a specific question about surgical strikes had been carried out between 2004 and 2014.

The DGMO at the Integrated Headquarters of Defense Ministry(Army) clarified in a statement that, “This section does not maintain records of any other surgical strikes if any conducted earlier.”

In addition, the RTI application had also sought the definition of surgical strikes in the Indian Army. The DGMO said,  “As per the information available in ‘open source’ the definition of ‘surgical strike’ is ‘…an operation which is planned based on specific intelligence, on a legitimate military target for maximum effect and with minimum or no collateral damage. It involves deliberate insertion to the target area, precise execution and swift extrication of the body of troops back to the base’.”

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This RTI reply has nailed the claims of Congress which had claimed that there had been surgical strikes during its rule in 2013. This raises a lot of questions about Congress Party’s attempt to politicize the issue of counter-terrorism. The Congress, its President Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and majority opposition parties had united in asking the government and the army for ‘proof of surgical strike’. Rahul Gandhi had even hurled allegations that the strikes were being announced because the Modi government wanted to do “khoon ki dalaali’ and that even Congress had conducted surgical strikes but had never announced the same. The recent response to RTI puts those claims to rest to a large degree.

Indian Army Special Forces had conducted a Surgical Strikes along Line of Control on September 29, 2016, and had caused severe damage on Pakistani Terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba(Let) which had killed more than 20 terrorists. This was considered a major feat by India. Appreciation and support poured in from global quarters that said India was well within its right to defend itself from infiltration.

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