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How 2016 surgical strike was different from the ones Congress is claiming under UPA

Indian Army officials say while cross-LoC operations keep happening & are often not reported, scope & magnitude of post-Uri strikes was greater.

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New Delhi: The Congress has claimed to have carried out six surgical strikes during the 10 years of the UPA government, but top officials of the Army say the post-Uri strike of 2016 cannot be compared to any previous operation.

Sources within the defence establishment said the 2016 operation was indeed “surgical” because of the scope and magnitude of the strike.

What was different in 2016?

Cross-LoC operations are a common phenomenon, and are often not reported. But these are carried out mostly at a battalion, brigade, or at most, divisional level.

But the planning of the 2016 surgical strike happened at the highest level of the government, where options and plans were discussed with top officials of the PMO and then-Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag.

“Cross-border raids have taken in the past also. The 2016 surgical strike was different in terms of the scope of the operation. Another difference is that the political leadership decided to own up the operation,” Lt Gen. D.S. Hooda (retd), former Northern Army Commander and the man who headed the operational planning of the 2016 strike, told ThePrint.

Hooda was the person tasked by the Congress to draft the party’s security doctrine for the nation.

Lt Gen. Satish Dua (retd), who was heading the Srinagar-based 15 Corps that was in charge of the Uri camp, said not only were there multiple targets at different depths from the LoC, other services were also put on alert.

“We had the entire Western Command put on high alert just in case Pakistan retaliated. Other services were also put on alert. Plus, we used both diplomatic and economic measures to counter Pakistan,” Dua said.

Also read: In Balakot, India tested a new military reaction much different from 2016 surgical strikes

‘Intent comes from political class’

Another important person involved in training and planning the cross-LoC raid on a larger scale was Maj. Gen. (retd) Naresh Badhani. Although he had retired from the Northern Command three months before the strike, he was one of the persons in-charge of the Army’s planning on what steps to take in different scenarios.

“The government of the day had the right to claim credit for the surgical strike. The capability was there but intent is needed, and intent comes only from the political class. Had anything gone wrong, the discredit would have also gone to the government of the day,” Badhani said.

Also read: General who led surgical strikes will now head Congress task force on national security

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  1. SCope and magnitude of the post Uri strikes were greater. The author does not provide facts and figures to show this.

    The entire National security apparatus was involved in the post Uri strikes. The earlier strikes were planned and executed at local command level. Does this not show that the UPA Govt had given a great deal of leeway to the troops to go cross border instead of their having to wait for the top heavy defence setup to okay such strikes. This seems to contradict BJP’s constant refrain that the UPA hamstrung the defence forces.

  2. Looks like the author is paid by Pakistan. And looks like he is going in and out of our air Force like a cockroach. Knows everything.

  3. Modi has started a presidence. Now even if Congress comes to power they have to follow it. The people would tear it apart. If they sleep on it.

  4. Now congress should provide proof these surgical strikes. Show us the videos, photos and number of terrorists died in those strikes.
    People are asking for proof. May be their ally pak government can come up in support of congress with acceptance of these strikes.

  5. Once the political approval for the scale and type of surgical operation was given by the political leadership, credit for success or loss of face for failure rested with Modi. After a long hiatus, if Congress now remembers that there were surgical strikes too in their times under UPA, it is laughable. No one at the highest political level took any responsibility for them and they were local tactical operations. Modi, one likes it or not, deserves full credit for surgical strike, Balakot air strike and Masood Ahmed listing as terrorist. Full stop.

  6. Congress leaders have eroded their credibility in the eyes of Indian public due to perpetually spreading lies and distorting everything that goes against Congress party. Why is Congress leaders are indulging in self suicide?

  7. The intersection of politics with national security, especially classified military operations, is a complex terrain, to be navigated with care. The column mentions taking credit, owning up responsibility for failure. Men died at Pulwama, Gadchiroli. Also in that chopper crash on 27th February. Tough questions will be raised by political opponents, who will wish to know if lapses have been analysed, responsibility fixed, punishment awarded.

    • When were opposition interested in learning and addressing Indian weaknesses? They have been interested in proving India a failed state for the last 5 years. Their aim was to save their existence faced with complete absence of issues with which to attack GOI.

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