We're lucky our jawans are alive: Vir Chakra awardee on surviving a surgical strike

Colonel Anil Kaul explains what happens when the operation goes horribly wrong.

 |  2-minute read |   08-10-2016
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The recent controversy over the surgical strike in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir by the Army has been going on ad nauseum as a factor for scoring brownie points between various political parties. We are lucky that this operation went off well and our troops came back unscathed. Period.

I have been part of just such a surgical strike, while operating with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka way back in 1987. We too used helicopters to insert para-commandos and supporting infantry, we moved in after dark, we did not have the luxury of the latest electronic gadgetry available today. Yet we went. The aim was to kill or capture the LTTE leadership holed up at Jaffna university.

loc_100816101234.jpg Thank our stars the operations across the LoC were a success. (Photo credit: AP)

As known to all, this operation went horribly wrong. The helicopters were shot, the supporting infantry was decimated, the para-commandos also took casualties. We lost 35 Indian soldiers that day. My onerous task was to extricate this hapless force or what was left of them. To cut a long story short, I reached the university leading a troop of T-72 tanks, only to see the dead and the wounded, whom we transported back. In the bargain, my tank was hit by an RPG and I suffered injuries that have left me with 80 per cent disability for life. To hear such statements does hurt one's sensibilities even after almost 30 years to the day: October 12, 1987.

Nobody has taken ownership of the action, where we went in without maps or radio communication - so much so that even a short film made on the Indian Army and screened during Army Day this year omits any reference to the IPKF.

It seems rather sublime now to listen to politicians, particularly the Congress who sent the IPKF into Sri Lanka and now claims to have ordered similar surgical strikes on other occasions. Thank our stars the operations across the Line of Control (LoC) were a success. Thank God. Stop commenting on it hereafter. This is an earnest appeal from a combat veteran.

Also read: [Exclusive] Inside story of India's daring surgical strikes against Pakistan

Writer

Colonel Anil Kaul VrC Colonel Anil Kaul VrC

The author is a Vir Chakra recipient who served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF).

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