The Indian Army was wary of Pakistan retaliating after the Special Forces conducted the surgical strikes in September last year, Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda told The Indian Express on Tuesday. Hooda was the commander of the Northern Army when the operation on terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was carried out.

“Of course, we were wary of retaliation,” Hooda said, ahead of the one-year mark of the surgical strikes. “But the moment Pakistan refused to acknowledge the strike, we knew we had won the moral battle.”

The lieutenant general said Pakistan had stepped up infiltration attempts and had also mutilated Indian soldiers since then. “But those were tactical actions to regain some lost ground,” he added.

On the intervening night of September 28 and September 29 in 2016, the Army said it had received information about infiltrators planning to cross the Line of Control with Pakistan and had decided to conduct surgical strikes. The move came after an attacks on an Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri district, where militants believed to be from Pakistan killed 19 soldiers.

Hooda said that the Indian Army was prepared to carry out another surgical strike as the “glass ceiling” had been shattered. “I think we have added one more serious option in our range of responses,” he said.

The officer said the goal of the “complex operation” wass not to finish terrorism in Kashmir or check infiltration attempts, but to show Pakistan that India would not “limit our actions only to our side of the border”. “This message was sent successfully and we scored a definite moral victory,” he told The Indian Express.