New Delhi, Sep 29:
The Congress and other opposition parties, including the CPI-M, JD-U and NCP, on Thursday backed the Narendra Modi government and the army on the ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control (LoC).
“We are proud of the Indian Army. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of India. It was a good operation and there will not be any diplomatic ramifications of the actions of the Indian Army,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after an all-party meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
At the meeting, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal-United and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar also backed the government action.
Pawar, also a former Defence Minister, made a special mention of the role of army and the meticulous operation it carried out.
Sharad Yadav said the army needed to be complimented, as conducting such raids past-midnight in difficult terrains showed their “determination” and the “will” to ensure the nation’s security.
At the meeting, Rajnath Singh, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Defence Minister Manohor Parrikar briefed the opposition leaders, but did not reveal details of the operation.
The Home Minister shared government’s plan of actions about “internal security” in key states, like Punjab, and also that the government was keeping a track of possible Pakistan reactions.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, felt that Pakistan would not be very keen to escalate the conflict further.
The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Information & Broadcasting Minister M Vekaiah Naidu and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who gave a brief outline of the “successful” diplomatic efforts over the last few days to “isolate” Pakistan in international fora and expose Islamabad’s “double standards” on the issue of terrorism.
Naidu later said the army actions followed detailed and specific information that there were certain nefarious activities along the LoC and the international border.
“The information that terrorists were planning to attack some towns and important places prompted the army to act,” Naidu said.
DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh told the meeting that seven terror launch pads were targeted across the LoC by “special forces” of the Indian Army during the ‘surgical strikes’ overnight, which started post-mid night and ended around 4.30 a.m., lasting about four hours.
Heliborne and ground forces were used, sources said and also that the forces could enter 3-km deep into the LoC.
“The operation was carried out based on very credible and specific information that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control,” the DGMO said.
There could be 36-38 casualties among terrorists besides few soldiers of regular Pakistan Army, sources said, adding the “infiltrators” were planning to launch “terrorist strikes in Jammu & Kashmir and other metro cities”.
“The general mood at the all-party meeting presided over by Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the North Block building was of consensus and everyone apparently backed the army action,” a source said.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is unwell, to brief her about the surgical strikes and diplomatic efforts being pursued by the government.
In a statement on Twitter, the Congress chief has said: “A ‘strong message’ has been sent with the surgical strikes by army against terror bases.” She supported the “actions today to protect our country’s security and deal with the menace of terrorism from across the border”.
Rajnath Singh also tweeted and said: “I also congratulate the Prime Minister on taking a bold decision and showing true grit and mettle in crucial times.”
“We are proud of our armed forces. They have once again exhibited exemplary courage and valour by destroying the anti-India designs,” Rajnath said in one of his messages in the microbloging site.
BJP chief Amit Shah, who also attended the all-party meeting, complimented the Prime Minister for the leadership and the Indian Army for their successful operation.
“Today’s strikes signal the rise of a new India where the government did not get cowed down by nefarious designs of terrorists,” Shah said. (IANS)