Ready to receive Pak infiltrators, will dispatch below ground: Army Chief

New Delhi: Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Monday that surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) could be repeated, if necessary, seeking to send a stern message to Pakistan.

He said cross-border infiltration will continue because camps across the LoC, from where terrorists are launched, are still operational, and warned that the Indian Army is ready to “receive” them and keep dispatching them to their graves.

“The strike was a message we wanted to communicate to them and they have understood what we mean…that things could follow up, if required,” Rawat said

He was speaking at the launch of a book ‘India’s Most Fearless’ authored by two defence journalists, Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh.

The book chornicles personal accounts of soldiers and their valour in extreme and hostile conditions, including of officers who participated in the surgical strikes.

Later, responding to a question by reporters on infiltration attempts, Rawat said, “Terrorists will keep coming because the (terror) camps are operational there
(across the LoC). Even we are ready. We will keep receiving them (infiltrators) to dispatch them two-and-a-half feet below the ground.”

The surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC were conducted on the intervening night of September 28-29, 2016, following a militant attack on an Army camp that killed 19 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

The strikes were carried out by the Special Forces of the Army who had crossed the LoC. An unspecified number of terrorists waiting to sneak into India were killed in action by the Indian Army.

When asked what impact did the surgical strikes had, Rawat said, “(It sent a message that) We are a stronger nation capable of taking decisions when time comes.”

Rawat’s predecessor Gen (retd) Dalbir Singh, who was the Army chief when surgical strikes were carried out, echoed similar views on their impact.

“They had struck well as deterrence and have enhanced India’s image abroad,” Singh said.

When asked about what was the difficult part of the surgical strikes carried out in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Singh said the worrying part was “extricating” the soldiers without any casualty.

When asked about an operation conducted by the Army against NSCN (Khaplang), after they killed 20 soldiers in an assault in Manipur in 2015, Singh said he took up the matter with the Defence Minister for training the Special Forces for such operations and upgrading their equipment.

“When I visited the Northern (Army) command after that (strike), I told the command that we need to train our people, and if people are required to be pulled out from the Valley for training let’s do that,” Singh said.