For the first time since India announced that it had conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in September 2016, video clips of these operations were broadcast on several television news channels on Wednesday night.
These clips showed some terrorists being killed, besides destruction of bunkers and other military constructions. TV channels claimed these videos, which they had accessed from official sources, were taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Thermal Imaging (TI) cameras used by the Army to monitor the operation.
See surgical strike video below
“The videos are real. I can confirm that,” Lt General D S Hooda (retd), former Northern Army Commander who was directly in-charge of the surgical strikes told The Indian Express. The feed of these videos was reportedly being broadcast live during the surgical strikes to the operations room of his headquarters in Udhampur.
“When the surgical strikes happened, my view was that the videos should have been released as proof. It is good that they have come out now,” Lt General Hooda added.
On the intervening night of September 28-29, 2016, the Army had carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in PoK. The then DGMO, Lt General Ranbir Singh, had announced on September 29, 2016 that India had conducted surgical strikes on terror pads along the LoC using ground forces, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists.
The officers and men of the Army’s 4 and 9 Special Forces battalions, who had taken part in the surgical strikes, were later awarded gallantry medals by the government. The operation also featured in a documentary broadcast on History18 channel, which also featured NSA Ajit Doval.
Surgical strike: Indian Express reported eyewitness accounts
On October 7, 2016, The Indian Express had reported graphic accounts provided by eyewitnesses living across the LoC of the surgical strikes, describing how bodies of those killed before dawn on September 29 were loaded onto trucks for secret burials. The eyewitnesses also described brief but intense fire engagements that destroyed makeshift buildings that housed terrorists, before they left for the last stage of their journeys across the LoC.
In October 2016, the then urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu had rejected the Opposition’s demand for proof of the surgical strikes, saying that any further discussions would be an “insult” to the Army. This was echoed by other union ministers who said that releasing the video was not necessary as the Army had already issued a statement on the strikes.