The Indian army conducted surgical strikes across LoC in wee hours of Thursday and destroyed seven terror launch pads. In an operation which was covert, swift and effective the army used its newest entrant into the battle field -surgical striking. These are used when the army hopes to fight low-intensity conflicts or ‘sub-conventional operations’ (SCO) and targets the civilians’ hearts and minds-and not dead terrorists as the centre of their operations.
However, as claimed by many on social media this method is not being used for the first time and time and again it has been deployed to minimise or rather avoid civilian casualties and inflict maximum damage on the enemy. Though the Army had never claimed to have crossed LoC, there have been instances in the past when troops have carried out operations within safe distances across the de facto border. But such operations were never made public and they remained buried at a tactical level. Speaking to NDTV, former Army chief General Bikram Singh said that India had crossed the Line of Control many times in the past but has never been made public and never at this scale.
This doctrine was unveiled by Army Chief General J.J. Singh and was used back in 2006 as well. A 2007 news report by India Today reports of how this method has been compiled by the Shimla-based Army Training Command and recommends old-fashioned boots on the ground to hunt down terrorists, using high technology and intelligence, but without alienating the civilian populace.
The almost two decade old conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and North East have called for more ‘people centric’ approach in dealing with civilian crisis and hence the surgical strike has been used time and again to counter threat of cross border infiltration.
Also, the doctrine targets the terrorists hiding among the civilians and the army hopes to fight this guns-and-roses war through manoeuvres and force multipliers, like surveillance devices, helicopters for troop insertion, drones and dogs. “Earlier, we would directly confront terrorists. Today, we use an indirect approach,” says General Singh.
The doctrine is to be reviewed every five years and judicious use of force is always advised.