India has sent a strong message to Pakistan that New Delhi would not hesitate to cross the border to check terrorism by carrying out surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday night.
The Indian Army confirmed on Thursday that the operation was basically a combination of heliborne and ground forces, as the Indian armed forces destroyed a number of terror launch pads inside the Pakistani territory. The Army also claimed that 38 terrorists and nine Pak military personnel were killed in the operation.
Although Islamabad has dismissed India’s claim as “fabrication of truth” and slammed New Delhi for creating media hype by re-branding cross-border fire as a surgical strike, the Indian Army said that the entire operation was video recorded by a drone camera. Even Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also held an emergency meeting with his Army Chief Raheel Sharif and the development clearly indicates that the operation has left the Pak PM rattled.
Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday morning, Director General Military Operations (DGMO) of the Army Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that the operation began at around 12.30am (Indian time) on Thursday as the commandos were airdropped at the LoC, from where they crossed over to the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). According to Singh, Indian commandos entered 3km across the LoC to conduct the ‘surgical strikes’ that were carried out in Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel and Lipa sectors, 500m-2km across the LoC. The DGMO told the press that those killed included terrorists, their guides and handlers. During the mission that ended at 4.30am, members of the Indian Special Forces mainly targeted “some terrorist teams” positioned at launch pads on the LoC.
In the presence of External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, Singh said: “During this counter-terrorist operation, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who support them. We can’t allow terrorists to operate across the LoC. There has been a surge in infiltration.” He added: “Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the LoC with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and in other big cities in our country. The operations were basically focused on ensuring that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carry out destruction and endanger the lives of citizens of our country.”
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Army for conducting the “successful” operation and thanked National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval for monitoring the operations for four hours. On Thursday evening, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and NSA Doval held a meeting with senior leaders of different political parties to inform them about the government’s plan to tackle terrorism. During the meeting, Home Minister Singh said that all schools within 10km of India-Pak border would remain closed till further orders. According to him, all border villages inJammu and Kashmir and Punjab Provinces are being evacuated as a precautionary measure to avoid escalation in firing from Pakistan.
While jubilant Indian people took to Twitter to celebrate the country’s response to Pakistan after Uri terror attacks and to thank the Army, rising tension between the two neighbouring countries had an impact on India’s financial markets, with the equity benchmark index tanking 572.89 points in a knee-jerk reaction to the Army’s claim that it conducted surgical strikes on Pakistani terror bases.