It has been just over a year since the ‘Look East’ policy of Government of India has actually transformed into ‘Act East’. And the last five days have been an epitome in it. The Prime Minister of India went on his maiden tour of Bangladesh and sealed the much-awaited border treaty. The event was totally historic and rather awaited for last 41 years.
And following this groundbreaking treaty since the last night, another groundbreaking news has been roaring in the media and that is of the ‘Deep strike’ of the Indian Army on the terrorists across the borders in the North East. Yes we have all heard it right this time. Following the treacherous attack by terrorists on the Indian Army convoy in Manipur last week that resulted in martyring of 18 bravehearts,the Indian Army in co-ordination with the Indian Air Force deployed a Mi-17 helicopter, drones and a commando team from the 21 Para Unit (Special Forces) and attacked two terrorist bases right across the international border in Myanmar (Burma). The bases belonged to the notorious Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and its allied terror groups. Various media reports have been quoting the casualties on the NSCN-Kside to be in the range of 20 to 50. The two attacks came across the international borders that the Indian states of Manipur and Nagaland share with Myanmar. What is more important is that the Indian side did not suffer any casualties.
The daring operation involved extremely well coordinated efforts from many quarters of the government machinery. It all started with the Indian intelligence operatives crossing over into Myanmar a couple of days before the actual operation and providing precise coordinates of the terror hideouts along with their photographs to the Indian Army. It was followed by the Indian Army and Indian Air Force jointly executing surgical strikes with military precision deep inside Myanmar. The Indian Army commandos were air-dropped and further had to actually crawl hundreds of metres to raid these terror bases. Further it was the Indian External Affairs Ministry that managed the show with their Myanmarese counterpart and the international community.
Its reportedly said that to preside over and direct this extremely crucial and critical operation the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval and Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag were themselves camping in Manipur. Ajit Doval even went on to cancel his visit to Bangladesh where he was slated to accompany the Prime Minister for signing of the important border treaty. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag too postponed his official tour to the United Kingdom.
What was the most striking feature in this one-off case was the immediate and complete approval from the highest power corridors in New Delhi especially from the Prime Minister Office. India has been incessantly facing cross-border terrorism but never before in the history of independent India has such an operation been commissioned from the highest echelons of power.
This operation was the first of its kind in many regards. This is first ‘hot pursuit’ by the Indian Army’s in the peace times. It is also the first joint surgical strike by the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force in a foreign country. It is also the first ‘seek and destroy’ attack officially acknowledged by the Army acting on specific intelligence inputs. The operation witnessed Special Forces’ first direct action against militant groups in the North Eastern theatre. And more importantly this was the first known and declared instance of the use of the doctrine of preemption by India. This doctrine has been so far used mainly by the Western powers and Israel only.
After the attack statements made by Indian authorities have been particularly hinted and aggressive, and have sent strong message across the borders to Pakistan, China and some nations and organizations that have been known to sponsor and train terrorism against India. Maj. Gen. Ranbir Singh, Addl. Director General of Military Operations, said in the course of the past few days, “credible and specific intelligence was received about further attacks that were being planned within Indian territory. These attacks were to be carried out by some of the groups involved in earlier attacks on our security personnel and their allies. In view of the imminent threat, an immediate response was necessary.” He warned that “any threat to our security, safety and national integrity will meet a firm response while ensuring peace and tranquility along the border and in the border states”.
Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. (Retd.) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told media that the hot pursuit was ordered by the Prime Minister Office. He further said, India could engage in similar surgical strikes on terror groups in Pakistan. Asked further Col. (Retd.) Rathore said, “This is a message for all countries, including Pakistan, and groups harbouring terror intent towards India. A terrorist is a terrorist and has no other identity. We will strike when we want to.” Asked how deep the Indian Army’s Special Forces went inside the Myanmarese territory, Col. (Retd.) Rathore said that “it was deep enough for the terrorists to feel safe”; and on whether Myanmar’s help was taken, he said, “Myanmar is a friendly nation and they always cooperate.”
So on behalf of all the Shraddhavans I am very happy to heartily congratulate the Government of India and the Indian Armed Forces who made this daring operation a great success and a symbol of the steel and metal of the power that India can wield if threatened.
ll Hari Om ll ll Shriram ll ll Ambadnya ll