In the first of its kind cross border operation, special forces of the army, in coordination with the Air Force, carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar last week and killed several militants in two camps of north-eastern rebel groups. The Myanmar government was informed hours after the commandos completed surgical strikes against the groups which had recently killed 30 Indian soldiers.
The operation, conceived as retaliation as well as the declaration of Modi government's intent to strike at terror threats across its borders, had begun at 3 am. The commandos safely returned to Indian territory after silencing the insurgents' guns in a 13 hour-operation in which IAF choppers and drones assisted the Special Forces (SF) soldiers. Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that the hot pursuit was ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said attacks on Indians, be it in Iraq or Yemen, were unacceptable. “This is a message to neighbours who harbour terrorists,” Rathore said.
Announcing the success, the government made it clear that it was not a one-off operation but symbolized its decision not to be constrained by borders and to be pre-emptive in dealing with terror threats. “While ensuring peace and tranquility along the border and in the border states, any threat to our security, safety and national integrity will meet a firm response,” the Army said.
The troops were guided to two camps of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and allied insurgent groups by intelligence which was gathered by operatives who crossed over into Myanmar a couple of days ago and returned with precise co-ordinates of the terror dens along with photographs. Specific details of the fatalities among the insurgents were not available but sources put the toll between 20 and 50.
More than the toll, the daring raid, which saw commandos crawling hundreds of meters to raid the camps, marked the unveiling of India's new response to unconventional threats irrespective of where they come from. This was the first declared instance of the use of the doctrine of pre-emption: a principle that the US invokes to disregard constraints of national borders to nip threats.
Briefing the reporters after the successful strikes, Major General Ranbir Singh made no bones of the fact that the twin operations were provoked by the killing of Indian soldiers.
Pak parliamentarians criticise Indian leaders statement
Pakistani parliamentarians have cut across party lines to criticise what they said were “hostile” statements made by Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Modi, in the wake of a cross-border raid by Indian troops. The resolution adopted by the Senate or upper house of parliament asked the world community to “take note of the situation, cautioning against any fallout on regional peace prospects, sovereignty and stability”.
The Senate resolution stated: “This house condemns the recent disturbing pattern of provocative and hostile statements from Indian leaders, including threatening strikes against Pakistani territory. Such crude attempts by India at trying to browbeat Pakistan are unacceptable and Pakistan rejects this hegemonic mindset.”
It added, “The Pakistan Armed Forces are fully capable of giving a befitting response to any incursion, and the Pakistani people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their armed forces.” The resolution in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament said it “vehemently condemns the irresponsible and hostile statements against Pakistan from the Indian ruling leadership”, adding that such utterances “called into question India’s desire to establish good neighbourly relations with Pakistan”.
Congress slams Union ministers' remarks
Congress came down hard on Union ministers for making "boastful and jingoistic" statements on the Army operation and asked Prime Minister Modi to give them "mentoring and counselling". The defence minister has "foot-in-mouth" disease and is in the "habit" of making "irresponsible" statements, said party spokesman Anand Sharma who also faulted the "56-inch-chest" remark by another Union minister.
"There should be sobriety and maturity. Jingoism and boastful claims are not going to help the operations of India's special forces," he said. “I would request the Prime Minister to give them mentoring and counselling.... PM should restrain his ministers so there is no repeat," he said
The Congress spokesman's refrain was that in matters of operations by special forces and those concerning India's neighbours, there should be sobriety and maturity in the statements and actions of Union ministers and others concerned.