Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday rejected claims that cross-Line of Control surgical strikes had been carried out by the country earlier.

Mr. Parrikar said that as per his knowledge of the Ministry since he took charge, no such action was conducted by the armed forces against Pakistan in the past.

“There was no surgical strike earlier. It is possible that there were a few actions by border security forces, which could be local actions. This was a single, one-time operation,” said Mr. Parrikar, at an open dialogue session here on “Strengthening India’s Defence Capabilities”, organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security, anchored by security analyst Nitin Gokhale.

Following the strikes on terrorist launchpads along the LoC on September 29, several claims were made by Opposition parties of earlier strikes.

Without naming anyone, Mr. Parrikar refuted the claims. “Some may be be true, but many seem exaggerated. Those could be local covert actions taken by local commanders against the neighbouring local commander. These are conveyed to the government once they are over. In this case the decision [of surgical strike] was taken by the government and the Army executed it. But it was not a political decision. Had it been so, the Prime Minister would have announced it. But it is the Army which disclosed it,” he said.

On the ongoing row about alleged ‘chest-thumping’ over the military action and the Opposition questioning the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to claim political credit, Mr. Parrikar said only the armed forces and people of India who stood behind them could claim credit for it. “I am one of the citizens of India and can take credit only as such,” he said.

Lauds decision-making

However, Mr. Parrikar commended the Central government’s decision-making abilities to order such strikes. “The policy initiative definitely lies with the government. What matters here is the decision-making ability of the government. It was the burden of helplessness and frustration of 30 years [for not replying aggressively] that was lifted due to these strikes. People erupted in joy after the strikes were conducted,” he said.

Asked if such strikes would be repeated, he said, “Unpredictability will be the most lethal weapon from India. They [terrorists] had never predicted that India can do such a thing. Maybe that prediction of theirs resulted in 100% success to our forces. They won’t dare to do such things [terror attacks] in future.”

Accepting shortcomings in intelligence inputs after the Pathankot and Uri attacks, Mr. Parrikar said that to err is human.

“Have you ever seen 100% perfect intelligence? These non-state actors plan 10 attacks and succeed in one. They crave for the hype they receive. Publicity is their oxygen. If media stops reporting about stone-pelters (in Kashmir) 75% incidents will stop,” Mr. Parrikar said. He added that he saw no reason in removing AFPSA from some States. “I don’t think this Act is bad. Show me a single example of human rights violation in my tenure. Whenever there are small incidents, they have been dealt with. The Act is simple: Don’t touch civilians, but if you see a civilian with a gun, don’t treat him as a civilian,” he said.

Source: The Hindu