Backtracking: India says no helicopters used in 'surgical strikes'

Published: September 30, 2016
Indian Air Force 'Garuda' commandos descend from a helicopter during IAF Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Pokhran in the western Indian state of Rajasthan on March 18, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Indian Air Force 'Garuda' commandos descend from a helicopter during IAF Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Pokhran in the western Indian state of Rajasthan on March 18, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Just a day after India claimed that its army carried out “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan with the support of military choppers, a senior Indian minister retracted the claim saying “these did not involve any aerial operations.”

“There were no aerial strikes,” Indian Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, himself an ex-Indian Army man, told The Hindu during an interview.

Rathore said the Indian Army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) “on the ground” for carrying out what he termed were “pre-emptive strikes”. “That is not like crossing the international border.”

‘Surgical’ farce blows up in India’s face

On Thursday, soon after the Indian military claimed that it had carried out “surgical strikes” against perceived “terrorist launch pads” on the Pakistani side of the LoC in disputed Kashmir region, the Pakistani Army ripped to shreds the Indian farcical claim as an “illusion being deliberately generated by the Indians to create false effects”.

Rathore’s remarks appeared to endorse the version of the army’s media wing, ISPR, which insisted: “there has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India.”

While Indian media grossly exaggerated New Delhi’s claim, the Pakistani media, however, questioned its authenticity.

The Indian Express had called it a “defining moment” but said the government must now be vigilant to ensure that the “clamour for more” did not fuel an escalation in hostilities.

The Hindustan Times welcomed the strikes in an editorial headlined “Befitting response”, and said India would “take satisfaction from the revenge, served cold”.

Strategic analysts laugh off Indian claim

The Indian army provided little insight as to how the entire operation was conducted. The media there, however, said the operation was a combination of heliborne and ground forces. Special forces were para-dropped for the operation, it added. It said alleged terror launch pads targeted were in the range of 2- 3 kilometres from the LoC.

Some Indian news websites, which mentioned the use of helicopters in the operation:

The Economic Times

The Quint

India Today

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (19)

  • Pakistani
    Sep 30, 2016 - 6:23PM

    Lol !! Poor Indians :(

    Good writing Tribune . SHABASHRecommend

  • Gaz
    Sep 30, 2016 - 6:29PM

    Within a few days all will become clear. I’m quite sure if no real video evidence is shown then most Indians will then also deep down know the truth.Recommend

  • Fast
    Sep 30, 2016 - 6:33PM

    LOL.I am waiting for the movie/video they made of so called strikes as according to them eagerly. I have heard the movie was a hit in india. The top actor was modi and also co-producer with indian army. But then I am informed that Bollywood movies banned in Pakistan. LOLRecommend

  • XoF
    Sep 30, 2016 - 6:47PM

    O God..insecurity of Indians is so annoyingRecommend

  • Reddy
    Sep 30, 2016 - 6:53PM

    where did he say helicopters were not used or when did india mention ariel warfare in surgical strikes…did US use heli mounted weapons to take out OBL,well even that isn’t a surgical strike either acc to pak….instead of hanging on to things why don’t you send your reporter over to said locations to verify our claims or are you not allowed thereRecommend

  • vinsin
    Sep 30, 2016 - 7:04PM

    As I said earlier there is no evidence presented yet for ‘surgical strikes’ and still stick to it. Some says Helicopters, others drone and some other commandos. Recommend

  • Irfan
    Sep 30, 2016 - 7:04PM


  • Moex
    Sep 30, 2016 - 7:12PM

    Bollywood has been working tirelessly these last 48 hours to create the footage. Hope it’s atleast a little convincing once it releases. Recommend

  • Tkay
    Sep 30, 2016 - 7:55PM

    Will the footage have Katrina’s item number?Recommend

  • Abrad
    Sep 30, 2016 - 7:59PM

    @Pakistani: so much ecstasy based on distorted understanding of Rathod comments in Hindu paper. Aerial strikes means bombing by choppers and planes. This was not done. Paratroopers dropping by helicopters is not aerial strike. Pls use some common sense. The minister also meant sarcasm when he said we didn’t cross the border, becos LOC is not border as POK is illegal occupation.Recommend

  • abhi
    Sep 30, 2016 - 10:40PM

    I think ou guys have problem with basic comprehension. Please read the DGMO briefing again and you will understand what is being said. If it makes you happy, you can believe nothing happened. And by the way i think SAARC is still happening in Pakistan isn’t it? and yes everything will be alright once CPEC is completed.Recommend

  • MK
    Oct 1, 2016 - 2:49AM

    India has a different definition of ‘surgical strikes’ to Pakistan, apparently. Recommend

  • psm
    Oct 1, 2016 - 7:06AM

    It would have been nice if some investigative journalist actually visits these places and talk to local population before refuting the Indian DGMO’s version of events. The impression one gathers is that a vehement denial is used as a shroud for keeping things under wrap. The so-called allies of Pakistan including China have not made any pro-Pakistan statement till now and that must be causing disquiet to the establishment.Recommend

  • leela4fun
    Oct 1, 2016 - 7:26AM

    Air strikes are like those that the PAF carry out bombing runs in Baluchistan and KP using F-16s. Mr. Rathore is right in that India did not carry out ‘air strikes’ against the terrorists. Who cares whether it was surgical or non-surgical? RESULTS MATTER!Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Oct 1, 2016 - 7:52AM

    Typical south asian reaction ….deflect from the core issue and look for answers else where….India has 700000 soldiers stationed in its side of the LOC ….and still you get infiltrated …army base attacked…you have much more deeper issues …why and how are main questions you can throw your toys out of the pram as much as you want there is a reason why there is a UN resolution on kashmir. Recommend

  • abood
    Oct 1, 2016 - 8:49AM

    Well as the drama unfolds.we suggest the indian army pick those 8 dead bodies and burry them.pak forces dont fire on those who come to pick them up.let them take the bodies.
    And neighbours hold will all be very clear to you guys that you people didnt do anything else than firing and trying to infiltrate which resulted in 2 of our and 8 of your soldiers dying.
    Peace is the way all should calm down.lets not kill our soldiers.its the politicians ,so called religious scholars and top ranking army men which need to die on both sides of the a common many can live in peace.Recommend

  • Agha
    Oct 1, 2016 - 9:02AM

    I wonder why the Indians did not pick the dead bodies which was being shown on tv. And your soldier captured who is with us. What do you guys have to say about that. This is the real prove. The best thing is showing then aND there while happening. Recommend

  • Kickass
    Oct 1, 2016 - 9:38AM

    I do believe indians because we did not see heicopter debris.Recommend

  • Rajesh
    Oct 2, 2016 - 12:20PM

    It is waste of time and money to show the proof to Pakistan as they do not want to accept the facts nor any proofs if India suggests. If the same proof if US submits then probably they may accept or they may also say US is friend of India. Recommend

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