Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, known for speaking his mind, put himself into an awkward position this week. He said the Army had managed to kill at least 6-10 Pakistani soldiers and an equal number of terrorists besides destroying three terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on Sunday in artillery strikes.
His remarks were surprising because this is a first in recent times when an Indian Army Chief was giving out speculative figures of casualties inflicted across the border. The security forces usually give out official details only after recovering the bodies as proof or after proper verification.
Former Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief, Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, had refused to comment on casualty figures even after the successful Balakot strikes in February this year. Former Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag and then-Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D.S. Hooda too did not state the number of casualty figures following the 2016 surgical strikes in Pakistan.
The argument was that casualties figures don’t matter because the message had been clearly delivered to the Pakistani military that there will be severe repercussions when they step over the so-called red line.
So, Army Chief Rawat giving out speculative casualty figures is surprising because it’s a break from tradition. Not only could these numbers be questioned and would thus make the Army look similar to Pakistan military’s propaganda wing, ISPR, which routinely claims multiple casualties on Indian side, but Rawat’s comments also came barely hours before the polling was scheduled in Haryana and Maharashtra.
Also read: Army chief says 6-10 Pakistani soldiers killed, 3 terror camps destroyed in counter-attack
Do not just be apolitical but be seen as apolitical
Political leaders, election strategists, journalists and people at large had started joking about the Sunday strikes and how it happened just ahead of the polling day.
Even serving officers wondered why a regular action at the Line of Control (LoC) was being played up so much in what was initially reported as Indian Army launching retaliatory attacks on terror camps inside PoK.
With certain journalists getting inputs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and even from a wing in the Narendra Modi government, the LoC flare up was played big with one channel calling it ‘Surgical Strike 3.0’ which killed 20 terrorists and another claiming casualties up to 100
The Army sent out multiple messages asking everyone not to speculate and even issued a formal statement to journalists on the beat without giving out any casualty figures.
But by evening, Army Chief Rawat surprised everyone with his statement, which gave a big backing to an otherwise exaggerated report being put out throughout the day by news channels and social media warriors.
The Indian Army should remember that it is not only important for it to be apolitical but also to be seen as being apolitical.
Also read: Pakistani fidayeen with AK-47 is passé. India must get ready for the next big threat
Indian military must not become another ISPR
Pakistan’s Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) quickly grabbed on to the words of Gen Rawat and countered it through a series of tweets. It even organised a trip for foreign journalists and diplomats based in Pakistan to the areas where Rawat had said terror camps were struck and casualties inflicted.
The DG ISPR was cunning enough to extend an invite to the Indian High Commission officials as well, which was of course not accepted. But this gave an opportunity to them to question the Army Chief again, saying the Indian High Commission officials failed to back their chief and accompany foreign diplomats to the location.
Army officers explained that Chief Rawat had to step in and give out actual figures as the media was running amok with speculation.
But if at all the Army had to control it, it could have used the Army’s PRO, a Colonel rank officer, to issue a formal statement or used its Twitter handle to put out the right information instead of the chief himself coming out to the front to issue a statement.
What this does is put a question mark on future statements. The Indian Army should not look like Pakistan’s ISPR, which puts out claims after claims without an iota of truth.
While the Indian military’s psychological operations department has a thing or two to learn from Pakistan’s DG ISPR, it should resist reaching a state where other countries view its claims with a double scoop of doubt just like they do the ISPR’s.
Hahahaha wow talk about taking dumb to a whole new level of uniquely stupid. This Indian chief is talking about lying and propaganda of ISPR and the indian media has actually printed it lol!!!!! You want to talk about lying and propaganda of Indian army and media go search YouTube for foreign media analysis on Indian media and Indian army you will find out the truth how professional and honest the two are. Let’s c of you leave this comment on.
Indian media has truly gone to gutter. The author keeps saying that Pak’s ISPR claims are false and lies without providing any backing. The Pakistani side took all foreign diplomats to said locations, Indian diplomats refused, this looks bad for India, not for Pakistan.
Its amazing how Indian media tries to fool their own country men. What nonsense is this.
Rightly said sir….we have forgotten where to shout and where to shut up. At least armed forces used to be professional and apolitical institutions but things have changed now. Somebody should at least tell Gen. Rawat to have grace on the post he holds.
As an Indian I am throughly embarrassed by the Hateful Political circus in the name Hinduism put on display by Goons of RSS & BJP. Now around the world Indian is loosing its democratic image and standing. The lies spread by IA on the orders of BJP has really damaged the credibility of Indian Arm forces. Why we are making claims of operations and Surgical Strikes without an iota of proof, only to be laughed at by Pakistan and now the rest of the world!
Hope we gain some common sense soon!
Even a kid can understand, how blatantly Indian COAS has lied about funny thing he invented named surgical strike. lolz. All 3 times Pakistan took international media and diplomats to the places and blasted Propagindians funny claims. Most funny is Indian Media who is now working as blind narrator of Indian Army and Indian army is now a campaign cell of Modi.. Both are trying to make modi Bhagwan.. RIP India….
Can print specifically tell the lies ISPR has told
Otherwise I would think The Print is lying and maligning ISPR
The Indian armed forces must have a detailed media management policy in place. And senior officers must resist the temptation of breaking away from time honoured traditions.
Not good for India’s image.Indians are supposed to change their Army chief.Keep any Bajwa jat from India.
Is theprint.in Bharatiya?
It’s really astonishing that Indian Generals Speak so much trash and expect it to be taken on face value.
Starting Balakot 300 terrorists killed, proved a pack of lies
One F-16 downed, no proof till date while all international reports disproved it
Now 3 terrorist camps destroyed, Pakistan took diplomats while also inviting Indian Embassy to send their representatives and it proved that it was also a huge lie to Indian nation and the World at large
So this is the quality of Indian Armed Forces Leadership
You to combat enemy jihadi propaganda with truth.
Maj gen asif ghafoor is the buffoon in ispr. Hope no one becomes buffoon in Indian army.
There’s already one: The army chief. To get 3 years extension he’s telling lies after lies and stupid people are believing him blindly while the world at large laughed and pooh poohed him. In all three imaginary Surgical Strikes’ Pakistan flew the diplomats and they found nothing on ground. This time around ISPR was clever enough to invite Indian High Commissioner to come along with other diplomats or at least share the coordinates of the ‘Terrorist Camps’, but as expected, he backed out to avoid embarassment in front of other diplomats.. Another intention of DG ISPR was to gauge the level of lies emanating from Indian army for their local consumption (Election in latest case).
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