Veterans differentiate between tactical and strategic operations
While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress both slugged it out politically, former chiefs and veterans made a clear distinction between operations in the strategic and tactical domain.Updated: May 04, 2019 21:35 IST
Minister of state for foreign affairs and former chief of Army Staff General VK Singh on Saturday took on the Congress, which claimed that operations across the Line of Control (LoC) – the de-facto border between India and Pakistan – by the Indian military did happen in the past as well. In a tweet, he said: “... Will you please let me know which ‘So called surgical strike are you attributing to my tenure...”.
General Singh was chief of Army Staff between April 2010 and May 2012.
While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress both slugged it out politically, former chiefs and veterans made a clear distinction between operations in the strategic and tactical domain.
“Yes, we do carry out cross the border, but these operations are tactical in nature, carried out at the initiate of local formations, there was no political clearance,” a general officer, who retired as director general of military operation, said on conditions of anonymity. “Importantly, the scale of the previous cross-LoC strikes were limited. The targets were single unlike the 2016 operations when multiple targets spread across an arc of 250 km were hit simultaneously,” he added.
General Deepak Kapoor, who led the army between 2007 and 2010, underlined the difference between strategic and tactical level operations across the LoC.
Local or tactical level operations “don’t have political clearance or backing”, he said and are generally done by local commanders for reasons that are completely local, whereas the magnitude of the strategic operations are much bigger in “magnitude and nations use to message adversaries. By claiming the 2016 operations, the government backed the operations and therefore should get credit,” he said and added, “Government backing gives credibility and shows strong resolve.” General Kapoor, however, had a word of caution; “The Indian Army is a professional military and should be kept away from politics.”
General Syed Ata Hasnain who commanded Srinagar-based 15 corps echoed a similar view. “The politics around cross-border operations is unfortunate. Local operations at the initiate of senior commanders do happen. But 2016 strikes across the border or the 2019 airstrikes, had a strategic message behind them: India is capable of hitting back,” he said and added “Comparing the operations of the tactical domain with those in strategic domain are like comparing apples to oranges.”
First Published: May 04, 2019 21:12 IST