Five days after Uri attack, a 'secret meeting', 'many options' and one decision - the surgical strike (Photo: Twitter/@BJP4India)
On September 29, 2016, 11 days after the deadly Uri attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian Army took the world by surprise and announced that it conducted a successful “surgical strike” on militant launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The Army claimed it killed 35-50 terrorists. The action was India’s response to the September 18, 2016 attack on an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri. In the Fidayeen attack by four terrorists of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad, 19 Indian soldiers were killed and several others sustained life-damaging injuries.
After the Uri attack, Indians ran out of patience and demanded no condemnation but uncompromising action against Pakistan – an action that the country “harbouring terrorists” on its soil will never forget. The next day, the Army came out with a strong statement – “We will respond befittingly at the time and place of our own choosing.”
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On September 23, five days after the URI attack, then Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag held a “secret meeting” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about a number of options, including carrying out across the border strike.
The prime minister had a tough decision to make as other options would not have the kind of impact Indians wanted this time and surgical strike was risky. It could wage a full-fledged war between the nuclear power nations. After due deliberations, Modi approved the surgical strike – a decision, he knew, could have unimaginable consequences and potentially change the course of South Asian demography.
There was a sizeable amount of international pressure too. Both China and the US wanted India to take a diplomatic route. But there was no other choice before the prime minister but to show the world that India will no more give up to the international pressure.
“After due deliberations, PM approved the option (of the surgical strike) that we had recommended. We executed that option successfully and did the nation proud,” ANI quoted Suhag as saying as he recalled that eventful day.
“This was a very bold decision by PM,” he added.
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However, even after the announcement of surgical strikes, uncertainty prevailed as Pakistan outrightly rejected the claim and stated that Indian troops didn’t cross the border. Pakistan said that its troops had only skirmished with Indian forces at the border and reported just two injuries on its side, while claiming eight casualties on the other side.
The Indian Government stood its ground but didn’t seek to give any explanation about the surgical strike. It knew that the damage had been done. The killing of its soldiers had been avenged and Pakistan would never accept the fact owing to more humiliation. However, after almost one-and-half year, India released a partial footage of the surgical strikes that silenced the doubters.