Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday the Indian Army’s surgical strikes against militant shelters in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir injected “uncertainty” into the neighbour’s mind, as he brushed aside criticism amid intensifying ceasefire violations at the border following the September 29 operation.
More than 30 people, including 20 security personnel and 12 civilians, have been killed in Pakistani shelling and firing after the surgical strikes, triggering questions about the results the army’s operation achieved.
“The surgical strikes have introduced a degree of uncertainty... obviously, uncertainty itself creates decision-making bottlenecks. You will never know them,” the defence minister said at the 14th HT Leadership Summit.
The army’s cross-border operation came after 19 soldiers were killed in an attack on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri that India blames on militants who crossed from the Pakistani territory.
“Earlier, one thing was sure that India won’t cross (the Line of Control). Now there is one thing that’s missing. In strategy and such kind of issues, you need to put uncertainty in their minds. That has been achieved,” said Parrikar.
The minister said the nation was satisfied with the targeted operation carried out by India’s special forces. “It was a continuous insult to be treated like this... Someone comes, hits us and we can’t do anything,” he said.
Asked if India could carry out more surgical strikes, Parrikar said the “principle of uncertainty” should be allowed to operate. “It will be beneficial to all of us.”
On an attack in Nagrota that left seven soldiers dead on Tuesday, Parrikar said it was obvious that “some sort of lethargy” had set in over a period of time and it was “painful to see soldiers die.”
Parrikar spoke about the need to use smart technologies for perimeter protection of sensitive bases but said infrastructure could not be created overnight.
He said the Defence Research and Development Organisation has been tasked with finding smart solutions to secure military bases. “The DRDO has been asked to try fences of different kinds - microwave, laser, smart fence that can pick vibration and CCTV cameras that can pick movement at 1km.”
Parrikar indicated lengthy army procedures were coming in the way of swift action. The minister said he had taken the initiative for the army to experiment with three to four types of fences on a pilot basis but “they have massive procedures.”
After a militant attack in Pathankot, an Indian Air Force audit identified 54 vital bases where security is being upgraded at a cost of more than Rs 8,000 crore.
The airbases are getting smart fences, vibration detection systems, mini-drones, thermal cameras and night vision equipment to detect trespassers and respond swiftly in case of an attempted breach.