India’s claims of cross-border ‘surgical strikes’ are being taken with a pinch of salt even by the international media.
Leading US newspaper, The Washington Post, in an article on Sunday published interviews of locals living along the Line of Control. The majority of villagers in the three areas along the LoC said that they did not witness any cross-border movement of troops or hear the sound of any helicopters.
The residents of Bhimber, Chamb and Sahmani said that a heavy exchange of fire did take place, although no one said that “they had seen or heard anything that supported India’s claim that it carried out cross-border strikes on several staging areas for militant groups that left “double digits” of militants dead,” according to the article.
Another well-reputed publication, ‘The Diplomat’, in a piece titled ‘Is India Capable of a Surgical Strike in Pakistan Controlled Kashmir?’ raised some serious questions about the capabilities of the Indian military.
The article asks whether the Indian forces have the requisite capability for those much-hyped ‘surgical strikes’. The piece takes a critical look into India’s defence system, stating that the majority of the acquired warfare mechanisms and machinery are along the ‘Cold War’ lines.
It also blatantly states that most of the Indian machinery is in a ‘training and testing’ or rather an ‘infancy’ phase.
According to a BBC Urdu article, when the locals residing merely two kilometres away from Indian check-posts were inquired about the strikes they said: “What surgical strikes? That day there was just more than usual firing.”
It seems that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under exceeding pressure following the Uri attacks, made a face-saving move, which lacks the substance to make it convincing and credible.
Moreover, the Indian army’s muddled up and porous information also raised more doubts regarding the authenticity of such ‘strikes’.
Interestingly, Pakistan Army after firmly denying the claims of strikes also took independent journalists to the LoC at Baghsir, 20 kilometres from Bhimber to show the situation on ground.
DG ISPR General Asim Saleem Bajwa stressed that while Pakistan has brought journalists to the LoC and is showing them the situation on ground, India is not allowing the same access to its own people which is suspicious.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2016.