After the recent surgical strikes and a subsequent support shown to the NDA government, the Congress on Monday claimed that UPA II, like the incumbent government had also carried out “surgical strikes” but without making them public.
The party listed three dates — Septemeber 1, 2011; July 28, 2013 and January 14, 2014 when the strikes took place. Since these strikes were not made public, a look at events surrounding these dates might hint at the real action.
September 1, 2011
Five Indian and three Pakistani soldiers were killed in a shooting between August 30 and September 1,2011 across the LoC in Kupwara district. Following which, both the countries blamed each other for initiating hostilities, reports The Indian Express.
While Pakistani media reports claimed that the fighting was initiated by the Indian security forces, spokesman of the Inter Services Public Relations, Major General Athar Abbas, confirmed that the attack was unprovoked. He also added that three soldiers were travelling across a post when they got lost due to bad weather and it was after a 24-hour search that their bodies were recovered.
However Lieutenant Colonel J S Brar, spokesman of the Indian Army said that Pakistan had made and infiltration bid in Keran sector on August 30 which was foiled by the Indian forces. Brar added that on the night of August 31, an Indian border post was fired at by the Pakistani troops which in turn started a gunfight and consequent casualties.
Meanwhile, in April 2011, the commerce secretaries met in Islamabad urging Pakistan to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and India removing the non-tariff barriers to Pakistani products.
Prior to this, in May 2011, India released a list of 50 ‘Most Wanted Fugitives’ hiding in Pakistan, including Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed, in a bod to exert pressure on Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden. However, after two errors were spotted in the list, CBI removed the list from their website while the Pakistani interior ministry rejected it altogether.
July 28, 2013
On July 27, a Pakistani Army soldier was reportedly killed and another seriously injured in “unprovoked” fighting by the Indian side across the LoC. Condemning the shooting, Pakistani foreign office said that it was “unfortunate that such an incident should have taken place at a time when the two governments are making sincere efforts towards improving relations.” However, the Indian Army blamed Pakistani troops for violating ceasefire.
On July 30, 2013, four Pakistani men were reportedly killed near Katwar post in India. The latter claimed that the men were “militants” and “intruders” while Pakistan rejected the claim and said that those men were “local civilians” plucking herbs near the LoC and were abducted by the Indian Army.
Earlier in January 2013, Pakistan Army’s Border Action Team, wearing black combat uniforms, crossed the LoC and ambushed and Indian Army patrol squad, killing two soldiers of the 13 Rajputana Rifles and injuring two others. All through 2013, the relations between the two countries remained tensed and little progress was made in terms of diplomatic talks.
January 14, 2014
On January 13, 2014, the then Army Chief General Bikram Singh said that a strong reply had been given to last year’s cross-border raids by Pakistan, referring to reports that 10 Pakistani soldiers had been killed in Indian action across the LoC.
Asked what retaliatory action had been taken, the Army Chief said that soldiers “have reacted well as required” and that there is an endeavour “not to escalate the situation into operational or strategic arena”.
Two days after January 14, Pakistan’s commerce minister Khurram Dastgir Khan visited India and met his counterpart Anand Sharma and the two sides held talks on liberal trade regime.
Towards the end of the year, there were unprecedented cross-border violations since the 2003 ceasefire agreement came into place. A meeting between Directors General of Military Operation met in Wagah after 14 years to normalise the relationship between the two countries.
During the meeting, the Indian side strongly raised the issue of at least two cross-border raids that resulted in the death of seven Indian soldiers and also conveyed that it does not expect a repeat of 2013 that saw over 195 ceasefire violations on the LoC. DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia and Pakistan’s Maj Gen Aamer Riaz also decided to hold two flag meetings between the Brigade Commanders on the LoC.