The cross-LoC surgical strike was carried out by the Indian army after “specific and very definite” inputs about terrorists at launch pads in PoK planning attacks in this country, the government said today. The strikes were carried out with absolute precision and the targets were completely destroyed with no casualty being suffered by the Indian forces, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in the Lok Sabha. Replying to a debate on Demands for Grants for Defence, Bhamre said the changing global geo-political dynamics present the nation with multiple security challenges and the defence forces have to constantly review their operational preparedness to meet these challenges.
“We have always been pursuing peace with our neighbours. But since many many years, cross-border terrorism, proxy wars are forced onto our country… Our armed forces are committed to defend our country from external and internal threats,” he said.
“India has one of the finest armed forces in the world. Our armed forces are well prepared to meet any challenge and the Indian army is meeting challenges of insurgency and cross border terrorism as seen during the surgical strike,” Bhamre said. The minister then talked about the surgical strike carried out by Indian forces in September last year at terror camps across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The surgical strike was carried out about 10 days after a major terror attack on an army camp in Uri in Kashmir. “When we received the specific and very definite inputs across the border that there were several terrorist teams positioned at the launch pads, ready to carry out strike in Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of country with an aim of causing destruction and damage to the citizen.
“Then our army conducted a surgical strike with precision without causing any casualty on our side but causing destruction of terrorist and people supporting them,” he said. Bhamre said during 2016 and 2015 there were 228 and 152 ceasefire violations, respectively, by Pakistan. During 2016, 27 infiltration bids have been eliminated wherein 37 terrorists have been killed, he added. The security situation in north eastern states remained “complex, fluid and dynamic” during 2016 with the sporadic incidence of violence, Bhamre said.
“Proactive approach, coupled with the intelligent base operation undertaken by the security forces have resulted in the successful curtailment of scale of violence in insurgency prone areas of North East,” he said. Owing to successful execution of comprehensive action plan of security forces against the insurgent groups, violence level registered a decrease, he said. He said the situation along the India-China border continues to be “peaceful”.
On the opposition charge that defence budget in proportion to GDP has come down, Bhamre said it may not be always proper to consider defence spending in terms of national economic output. The MoS Defence said if the economy grows at a faster pace, the spending decreases as a percentage of GDP but it does not mean that the level of spending has fallen or has become inadequate. “A small slice of big pie can easily outsize a proportionally larger slice of small pie. Looking at spending as a percentage of GDP creates an illusion of declining spending by ignoring the size of economy,” he said.
“In the years to come, we need to stengthen the capital budget to accelerate modernisation of defence forces,” he said, adding “I would like to assure the House there is no dearth of money”. During 2017-18, defence Budget allocation has been increased by about 6 per cent from Rs 2.59 lakh crore last year to Rs 2.74 lakh crore. Bhamre said an increasing number of friendly foreign countries have shown keen interest to engage with Indian Army, which has extensive combat experience. He said the government is taking steps to reduce procurement time and all efforts are being made for increasing self-reliance by buying domestic equipments.
“Defence Production Policy aims at achieving substantial self-reliance in design, development and production of equipment, weapon system,” he said, adding preference has been accorded to ‘Buy Indian’ over ‘Buy global’ category. Bhamre said the reforms undertaken by the government in the defence sector have resulted into 141 contracts with a cumulative value of Rs 2.11 lakh crore being signed.
Out of this, 90 contracts amounting Rs 83,344 crore were signed with Indian vendors and only 51 contracts involving Rs 1.16 lakh crore were signed with foreign vendors for capital procurement.