Surgical strikes a message to Pak, more if necessary: Army Chief

NEW DELHI: Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday warned Pakistan that it should desist from promoting cross-border terrorism, stressing that India has a range of retaliatory options available to thwart its nefarious designs like it showed through the cross-border “surgical strikes” a year ago.

The Indian Army, with a strong counter-infiltration grid along the 778-km Line of Control and robust counter-terrorism operations in the hinterland, is also ready to keep on “welcoming” infiltrating terrorists and “burying them two-and-a-half feet under the ground”, said Gen Rawat.

Speaking at a book launch here, the Army chief said the successful surgical strikes unleashed against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir by Indian Special Forces on September 29 last year were intended to send a loud and clear message to Pakistan.

“The surgical strikes were a message we wanted to communicate. I think they have understood. If the adversary does not behave, and it is required, we can conduct such operations again. We can repeat them, if not in the same form and shape,” said Gen Rawat.

India, as a “strong country”, is capable of taking such decisions if and when required in keeping with its national security objectives, he added.

Asked about the upward trend in infiltration, the Army chief said the Pakistan Army-ISI combine will continue to push terrorists across the LoC to foment trouble in Kashmir.

“Hum taiyaar hai. Sarhad ke us paar se atankwadi aate rahenge. Aur Idhar hum unke swagat me baithe hue hain. Unhe receive karke, hum dhai foot zameen ke neeche unhe bhejte rahenge (Terrorists will keep on coming from across the border. We are ready to welcome them and kill them),” he said.

The Army chief’s stern message to Pakistan comes a day after the security forces foiled a major terror strike in the Kalgai area of Uri in J&K, killing four terrorists after an intense gunbattle.

The terrorists had apparently planned a major attack similar to the strike on the Army camp in Uri on September 18 last year, in which 19 soldiers and four militants were killed, and led India to plan and eventually conduct the surgical strikes across the border. “I can assure you that the Indian armed forces will never, ever let you down. They are ready for any mission anywhere, any time. You can count on us,” said Gen Rawat.

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