Saturday, February 4th, 2023 01:46:26

Trumpeting A Covert Operation

Updated: July 4, 2015 10:15 am

Possibly the seniors, especially the Defence Minister, in the Modi Government has never heard or intentionally ignored what covert means. Succinctly put it means secret. And the operation of the kind claimed by the Government, in which army personnel of one country entered another country—even with its permission—are usually kept under wraps. No country wants the world to know that a foreign army conducted some kind of operation in its territory. This time again when the Myanmar Government saw that India was claiming to have entered its territory and carried out an action in which the commandos allegedly blew two camps and killed around 150 militants, its President issued a statement saying no action took place in Myanmar. Even if granted that permission for the Indian army to enter Myanmar was taken, the Indian government by shouting about the action from the rooftop forced Myanmar to issue a contradiction. A highly awarded Lt. Gen. said the suggestion or impression sought to be created by the government that this kind of operation was done for the first time was fallacious. He said a far more daring attack was carried out during PV Narasimha rule but was kept secret. Only much later details emerged. The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said “Myanmar operation was extremely bold step: Defending his stance over Indian Army’s surgical strike inside Myanmar Rathore asserted that the military operation was an overt one and not covert as being described by some factions of the media. Very strange statement—was it meant to counter severe critisticism?

“Some journalists called me saying that I should not have tweeted on chappan inch chaati. In this operation, which was overt, our soldiers were in uniform, TV journalists should know all this,” Rathore said. Referring to recent statements made by both Pakistani military and political leaderships regarding India’s Myanmar operation, Rathore said: “Attack was somewhere else but pain was felt elsewhere. Pakistan reacted, their PM also made a statement. Why even General Musharraf issued a threatening statement. He barely got permission to enter his own country and now he is threatening India.” Rathore’s comments over Army’s surgical strikes in Myanmar was dubbed by opposition parties as boastful and chest thumping. “It was a much-needed decision that was taken by the Prime Minister. This decision was extremely bold in nature. And it involved our Special Forces crossing the border and going deep into another country,” said Rathore, a retired Colonel, on the day of Army’s ‘first of its kind operation’.

Rathore also chose to mention 56inchRocks as hash-tag in his tweets to send out a message that the action was possible only because of the Prime Minister’s courage. These comments by Rathore were slammed by opposition parties with Congress terming it as boastful and jingoistic and also asked Modi to counsel his ministers to avoid chest thumping. The parties also felt that the kind of statements made by the Union Ministers were not going to help the operations of India’s special forces. But the Army Commandant who directed the operations issued a statement on correct lines. He said the army carried out operations along the Myanmar and Nagaland border.

This brevity should have been an example for politicians who have been chest thumping and damaging the gravity of the hot pursuit by our commandos. The unnecessary belligerence by Pakistan could have been avoided. This should have been expected with even junior ministers claiming that the Myanmar surgical operation carried a message to Pakistan. Such statements are not conducive to political ambience.

Such bravados will affect efforts of Narendra Modi to show that India is a team player. It is a benevolent Big Brother and not a bully. He has been visiting SAARC member countries and the alacrity with which India provided relief to earthquake-stricken Nepal proved Modi’s sincerity in behaving like a good Big Brother. Now to the great glee of Pakistan, India is seen as a BIG Bully. But, one senior leader and a retired General put the whole thing in a different perspective. They said that the surgical strike was to avenge the insurgents daring raid in which they killed 22 army men. This was a hit at the sovereignty of India and affected the morale of the Army. Immediate retaliation was needed to restore the confidence in the army that the Government would not tolerate any attack on its personnel.

This is why this operation was not covert but a surprise raid. A senior minister said, “The copybook intellectuals and retired army officers might criticise us but the people are happy that for once we hit back bloodied the noses of insurgents. And it is the people who matter.” So we have two different views and both are partly right. The way out could have been methodical leaking of details of the operation. And Rathore and his ilk could have kept their mouth shut.

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