On Thursday, Indian officials smugly claimed that their military helicopters dropped special forces on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC) to target so-called ‘launch pads of terrorists’ in a story that was described by analysts as ‘too good to be true’.
Interestingly however, plot holes emerged in the script of their drama on Friday when an Indian minister tweaked the narrative, making the so-called surgical strikes even more dubious. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the minister for information and broadcasting, said the ‘surgical strikes’ did not involve any aerial operations.
“There were no aerial strikes. No helicopters were used,” Rathore told India’s English-language daily The Hindu, Rathore, who is a former Indian army officer, claimed Indian soldiers crossed the LoC ‘on the ground’ to carry out the assault.
Some Indian media published minuscule details of the supposed strikes, claiming on the authority of senior military officials that helicopters flew special forces to alleged ‘terrorist launch pads’ in seven locations on the Pakistani side of the LoC. The Indian troops supposedly conducted their raids simultaneously for hours before somehow returning back to their side of the LoC unscathed.
The Indian minister’s remarks lend even more credence to Pakistan Army’s version that India only carried cross-LoC firing which it was trying to pass off as ‘surgical strikes’.
Meanwhile, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said his country’s government was doing everything to free an Indian soldier who, according to him, was captured by Pakistani troops after he strayed across the LoC a day earlier.
“All attempts are being made to secure his release,” Singh told reporters in New Delhi after attending a meeting to discuss internal security. According to the Indian Express newspaper, Singh said New Delhi would take up the matter with Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2016.