In sharp contrast to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s claim that no surgical strikes were conducted in the past, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in a statement before the parliamentary panel has said the Army carried out such strikes before.
Jaishankar informed the panel that the Indian Army had carried out “target-specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the Line of Control in the past too but this is the first time the government has gone public about it.
Last week, Parrikar rejected claims that surgical strikes were undertaken during the UPA regime and asserted that it was the first time that surgical strikes had taken place to give a befitting reply to Pakistan for launching an attack at the Uri Army base.
Parrikar had said that a “major” share of credit for the army action last month goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had said all the 127 crore people of India, including “doubting Thomases”, and the Army share and deserve credit for the operation as it was done by the armed forces and not by any political party.
The panel, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, was briefed by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat and Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs M K Singla. BSF DG K K Sharma was also present.
Congress member Satyavrat Chaturvedi has reportedly asked whether this was the first surgical strike that India carried out against Pakistan.
He said soon after the September 29 operations ended, Pakistan’s Director General of Military Operations was informed.
When a member asked for evidence of the strikes, the government representatives replied that the Special Forces crossed the LoC to carry out strikes, not to collect evidence.
When a Congress member asked whether similar operations would be carried out in future, the officials said the strikes had served their purpose for now, and indicated that it would serve as a deterrent for Pakistan in the future.
On Jaishankar’s comments, Congress said it exposes the BJP and Modi government’s “lie” on the recent surgical strikes.