September 29, 2016, around 3AM in the morning a few men with their valour changed the ‘soft state’ image of India in front of the world. These most fearless men crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and avenged the gruesome killings of the Indian soldiers during the Uri Attack. In an exclusive in conversation with NewsX the men who carried out the Surgical Strikes narrated how exactly they made Pakistan pay for the various terror attacks carried out by the terror state in India. They narrated how distance was decided and shed light on the crucial details of infiltration route that Indian soldiers took to carry out the strikes.
The first team to approach the target was at 2-2.5 km aerial distance and on-ground distance was approx. 4-4.5 kms. The other team’s aerial distance was 3-3.5 kms and ground distance was roughly 5-6 kms.
After crossing the border, the aerial distance of the first team was almost 4 kms, and on ground, for those who went on feet, the distance was about 6-6.5 kms. Around 2PM, on September 28 the Special Forces met the recce team on site and they were briefed the team about the target again and said it was at the same spot.
The target was at a very steep the Indian forces were informed beforehand.
How the infiltration route was decided
To approach the target 2-3 routes were selected so if the team went in via one route, they could return via another. So the ‘route in’ and ‘route out’ were different, therefore no one would be able to easily target the teams.
2-3 routes were selected for some targets, and for some targets, 3-4 routes were decided. The teams carried out close target recces for these. Indian forces walked on these routes and came back having identified places from where to fire, from where to identify and where will the support team be stationed and finally decide where will the strike team be headed. All this was ensured in discussions and recces on the ground.
The men on the mission informed NewsX that it was a very difficult route and there was 65 to 70 degree gradient in walking downwards. While climbing down, the force simultaneously secured the rope. The Indian Special Forces had left in small numbers in a very relaxed manner. However the troops were only able to cover only 100-150 meters in an hour. There were forests and the undergrowth was dense. Before advancing the troops had to be 100% sure that there is nothing ahead. There was fear of minefields as well. The team made a very deliberate move and reached the target.
The teams worked hard to figure out a route that enemy would not imagine considering.
Once into enemy territory the Indian forces gave special importance that their movement was not detected. On the route there were a few small patches which were exposed but the rest were covered. The exposed patches were covered at night by the teams.
The team tried its best not to walk, but crawl instead and cross.
The most important thing in the entire episode was the element of surprise and the Special Forces were not willing to lose it at any cost. The teams at all time kept in mind that somebody was observing them and their plan might lead them into ambush. Until the area was covered the teams did not move ahead. The teams advanced only after negating enemy presence.
The team started from the 19 Div and advanced towards POK’s Leepa Valley. It is quite a big valley, with ample defence deployment. That is actually a terrorist launching pad; just like our Kashmir Valley.
During the advancement, the team came across a mine area and in the middle; there was a cable that was disturbing for them. If their feet slipped on the cable, they would fall and the mine could explode. So they had to be very careful. The teams had to make sure they fell on the path in case so that the mine didn’t explode.