Amid renewed chatter about 2016 Surgical Strike, here is how Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia described the unprecedented mission

Congress leaders and many other politicians of India had denied the authenticity of the 29 September 2016 Surgical Strike done by the Indian Army to wipe out terror launch pads in the PoK across the Line of control. Recently the Army had released a video footage with a time stamp that established the veracity of the claim.

Congress had come up with claims that there were surgical strikes carried out during their regime too. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had claimed that UPA II had ordered surgical strikes across the LoC but had never made any noise about it. Surjewala had given 3 dates on which he had claimed that strikes were carried out. 1st September 2011, 28th July 2013 and 14th January 2014.

However, Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia, who was India’s DGMO from 2012 to 2014, in an earlier interview to Times Now had denied any such Surgical Strikes. Amid the renewed chatter around the strike, Lt Gen Bhatia took to Twitter to replug and reiterate the fact that this Surgical Strike was first of its kind.

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Lt Gen Bhatia had stated that the 29 September surgical strike was the first of its kind operation on Pakistani terror launch pads. He added that while the army had always been prepared to carry out such strikes, it had never been executed in a manner like the 2016 strikes. Speaking to Times Now after the 2016 strikes and Congress’ claims, the former DGMO had clarified that in June 2015, the Indian army had done a similar operation inside Myanmar territory. He added that the Indian Army special forces personnel carried out those strikes across a widespread area sweeping from Bhimber to Lipa Valley, Kel and Tapta Pani etc on both sides of the Pir Panjal range. He added that on that occasion Indian Arny proved that it is not only capable of strategic restraint but has strategic resolve too.

Lt Gen Bhatia added that these strikes were both punitive and preemptive in nature. He stated that surgical strikes are very delicate operations planned at the highest level and involve meticulous details and pin-point synchronisation. He asserted that the slightest mistake can result in a national embarrassment and thus they leave no scope for error. He had further added that the Para special forces performed an excellent task with great success and registered zero losses.

He added that local level cross-border operations cannot be called surgical strikes. He explained that these cross-border operations are very common, frequent and it involves only a few members of local units. He explained that such operations happen during pursuit operations, counter infiltration operations and ceasefire violations. He explained that the surgical strike had a much higher level of planning, execution and impact and risk factor involved.

The Directorate General of Military Operations had recently also stated that there are no records of any surgical strike prior to the September 2016 one. In response to an RTI query, the DGMO had stated that there is no record of any surgical strike being carried out between 2004 to 2014. Lt General DS Hooda, who was in charge of the surgical strikes operation has stated yesterday that the order to hit the terror launch pads had come from the central government and the Army had agreed with it.

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