Monday, January 09, 2017

The Surgical Strike - To whom should the credit go?

The Surgical Strike - To whom should the credit go?

(Editorial in Hindu Voice, November 2016)

Up in the skies and beyond the range of enemy radars, 30 Indian commandos armed with Kalashnikovs, Tavors, rocket-propelled guns and thermobaric weapons deploy parachutes on a dark, cold moonless night for a rare military insertion to ambush terror assets on the rugged Himalayan terrain of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

No audio devices on the ground are able to pick any sound either as they plummet down from a freezing height of 35,000 feet.


Simultaneously, seven other crews of the Indian army's dauntless Special Forces walk, crawl and slither through Pakistani barricades across the Line of Control.


All eight teams of the deadly warriors reach their targets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir without detection, and annihilate them with a sudden thunder of explosions, smoke bombs and gunfire.


This is what happened on the midnight of 28th September 2016 - Operation Surgical Strikes. Yes, our brave army entered into about 3 kms into the PoK and destroyed terrorist camps. The operation which started around midnight on 28th Sept. ended in the early morning of 29th Sept. 2016. 


What is remarkable is that none of our Army Men were martyred or even wounded. They all came back unscathed, after finishing their jobs.


Every Indian is proud of the achievements of our Army. They also congratulate the Prime Minister for taking this bold step to teach a lesson to Pakistan which has been sending terrorists into India and killing our armymen.


But look at what the opposition say. Arvind Kejriwal and some other leaders want proof of the Surgical Strike. The Pakistani media had hailed Kejriwal as a 'hero' for questioning the government's claim about successful surgical strikes across the LoC. One Congress leader even said that the surgical strike was ‘fake’. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘Khoon Ki Dalali’.


In no other country, you will hear such non-sense statements from the opposition. By their statements, they have insulted the entire nation and its army.


Some leaders have come out with the statements that such Surgical Strikes have taken place many times earlier too. The previous cross-LoC attacks have been of the nature of a local level revenge for an action by the Pakistan’s army. Any of these specific attack was not sanctioned by the government.


This time the strike was approved by the government, and the army was informed that they will handle the international fallout, if any. 


When the attack was announced by the government, this was done by the army and not the government. If the government wanted to go into jingoism, a minister could have read the statement that the DGMO did. The government clearly wanted the army to get the credit.
The statement also clearly stated the limits of the present action. It was against the terrorists and not the Pakistani army.  There is no jingoism in the statement.


It was only when the opponents, both political and in the media, started to question the veracity of the surgical attack, the government stepped in. 


When the political opponents started to say that when they were in power, they had also done the surgical strikes. This is jingoism, and an attempt to trivalise the September 29 strike as a trivial matter.


This trivalisation was also indulged in by many in the English media. Even before the political parties tried to take credit for the previous strikes, there were some in the English media who said that such strikes had happened before. 


Some of the ex-army people had, within a day or two of the Sept 29 strike, had said that the previous strikes were qualitatively different from the present one.  They mentioned that there was a political will this time, which did not exist earlier. Yet, the opponents, both political and in the media, continued to equate the earlier strikes with the present ones. As said earlier, the objective was to trivalise the present strike.


The BJP  has been accused of using the army by showing the interview of Gen Bikram Singh, the previous army chief. In this interview, Gen Singh mentions about the political will many times, and also made it clear that the previous strikes were like a local level revenge. There is nothing wrong in the BJP using the interview, because of the vicious attempts made by the opponents to trivalise the Sept 29 strike.


The people of the country appreciate that the government has acted in a deliberate and focused manner in handling the post-Uri events. The people are also disgusted by the way the opponents of the government are behaving and have allowed themselves to be used by the Pakistani propaganda,  that there were no surgical strikes.


There are reports that people in PoK are out in the streets protesting the terrorist camps near their towns, and saying that this is creating problems in the areas.  This too  is the effect of the surgical strike.


In politics, it is quite legitimate for the government to take credit for things they did right. Just as the opposition tried to blame the government of the day for any failures. 


The Congress took credit for the victory in the Bangladesh war. The credit for the nuclear explosion in 1974, and then in 1998, is also given to the respective prime  ministers. So also Nehru is said to have built the temples of modern India, while Rajiv Gandhi is said to have brought in the computer revolution in India. In all these cases, the credit is given to them because they took the administrative decisions, and not because they were scientists who actually did the tasks.


Similarly, in the case of the recent Surgical Strike, the full credit should go to our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

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