PM Modi’s comparison right, but Indian Army’s surgical strikes were actually better than Israel’s; here’s why

By: and |
October 18, 2016 6:05 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today likened Indian Army's post-Uri attack surgical strikes across LoC, to the exploits of the Israel Army.

PM Modi rally today, Modi India Israel Army, Indian Army Israel Army, Mandi Rally, PM Modi speechPM Modi may have under-stated what the Indian army achieved with its strikes in ‘enemy’ territory.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today likened Indian Army’s post-Uri attack surgical strikes across LoC, to the exploits of the Israel Army. He said that the Indian Army has shown that it is no less capable of decisively hitting back at enemies. “Our army’s valour is being discussed across the country these days. We used to hear earlier that Israel has done this. The nation has seen that Indian army is no less than anybody,” the Prime Minister said at a rally in Himachal Pradesh. The comparison is understandable, Israel’s army conducts several combat operations in a neighbourhood it perceives is hostile to its existence. However, in this specific case, PM Modi may have under-stated what the Indian army achieved with its strikes in ‘enemy’ territory. India may have actually bettered Israel with this operation!

Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd), Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) believes that Indian Army had to deal with a more organised enemy and tougher terrain. “In my opinion, what the Indian Army did was far better than an Israel Army operation. Across the Loc, what the Indian Army has to face is a regular, well organised army of Pakistan. The situation is completely different from that of an Israel Army operation. Our Army had to find gaps in Pakistan Army’s forward positions to conduct those surgical strikes,” Kanwal told FE Online. “Also, in India’s case the terrain involved was jungle-mountain. Israel mainly has conflicts with Palestine and with terrorists in Lebanese territory. So, to that extent it is a fight on plains,” he adds. “So yes, the Prime Minister was right in conceptually comparing the strikes of the two armies, in fact it is a good comparison. But, as I pointed out, given the extremely tough terrain and the Pakistan Army that had to be faced, I think it is remarkable that Indian Army came back without any casualties. In that sense, our operation was actually better,” Kanwal concludes.

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According to Colonel KV Kuber, Independent Consultant Defence and Aerospace, India used its Indian Army and diplomatic information warfare very effectively. “Typically a surgical strike means to strike deep into the enemy’s territory. It is not a shallow strike. However, even though the retaliation after Uri was not deep into the enemy’s territory, it qualifies as a surgical strike for multiple reasons. First, it was conceived and carried out across a 250 km length of the LoC, across 5 different locations. The strike may have happened anywhere between 500 m to 3 km across the LoC, but since you have an eyeball to eyeball contact, both armies watching, it was a very valiant and daring strike. Therefore, it can easily be called a surgical strike,” Kuber told FE Online.

Comparing the post-Uri strikes to earlier retaliations, Kuber says, “In the past, we have retaliated, but at a local level. This was on the other hand a well-thought out operation, with a break between the Uri attack and the retaliation. The statements made after the Uri attack were mixed, hence lulling the enemy into a false sense of security. It was a coordinated operation. So in many ways it was better than an Israeli Army operation.” “Israel’s best operation was that in 1976, when Israel rescued hostages from terrorists at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Israel para-dropped forces, while the government fooled hijackers into believing that the country was willing to talk. Even in India’s case, the information warfare was used very effectively. We confused the enemy,” he lauds.

The Indian Army on September 29 announced that it had carried out surgical strikes across the LoC, destroying multiple terror launchpads and inflicting heavy casualties. This was the first time since the 1971, that Indian Army announced crossing the LoC. DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh along with NSA Ajit Doval and Home Minister Rajnath Singh is reported to have said that around 200 soldiers were involved in the operation.

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