The strikes carried out by the Army on September 28 were not the first “target-specific counter-terror operations” it had conducted, but they were announced publicly this time as part of a new strategy, the government on Tuesday told a parliamentary panel on external affairs. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is also believed to have said that this was the first strike in which the Army had crossed the Line of Control. However, Jaishankar did not use the phrase “surgical strikes”.
While the government has not confirmed all of the conversations that took place at the meeting, multiple reports quoted lawmakers as confirming the revelations.
The panel was led by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and included party Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Other members questioned the government on whether more such strikes had been planned, to which the government responded that “the strikes had served their purpose for now”, The Indian Express reported.
Jaishankar also told them that India was working on getting Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar on the United Nation’s list of designated terrorists. India blames the JeM for the militant attacks in Uri and Pathankot, but China has consistently blocked its bid to get Azhar on the UN’s banned list.
The government and Army had announced that they had launched "surgical strikes" on "terror launchpads" along the LoC on September 29. The Army's operations were widely seen as a response to the Uri attacks of September 18, in which militants from across the border killed 19 Indian soldiers. There has been some controversy around the strikes, with Pakistan refusing to acknowledge that they were anything more than regulation cross-border firing, and the Opposition demanding evidence to prove that they actually took place.