In 2008, India witnessed one of the most horrific terrorist attacks on its soil. The city was taken hostage for three days by ten heavily-armed terrorists from Pakistan who launched a series of coordinated attacks at several high profile spots. The horrific tragedy took away 166 lives, and injured 300 others. It was known as India’s 9/11 moment. Throughout the attacks, the focus was Hotel Taj. The terrorists also attacked Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ‘CST’ railway station. It was also the first time when foreigners were targeted in the country, making it a tragedy that had significant international ramifications. Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, was blamed for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Saeed lives freely in the city of Lahore and addresses rallies and gatherings across Pakistan despite the US placing a $10 million bounty for him.
In an interview to news channel Times Now, Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Fali Homi Major has revealed that the Indian Air Force had planned a surgical strike to take revenge for 2008 Mumbai attacks, but the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government ‘blocked’ any further action.
Major said the IAF had the plan as well as capability to hit the terror-training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2008.
Following the 2008 attacks, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called up a meeting with heads of the three services of Indian Armed Forces. According to Fali Homi Major, he told Dr Singh that everything was ready (be it logistics, weapons and planes), to strike terror-training camps in PoK, however, the then government never gave its nod.
According to the former IAF chief, the possibility of a surgical strike was an opportunity lost.
In 2016, following the cross-border surgical raids by the Indian Army, some leaders of Congress party had claimed that the then government had conducted quite a few raids across the border between 2009 and 2014.
However, the current revelations by the former IAF chief contradict all those claims.