Army chief General Bipin Rawat said the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force were on stand-by during the surgical strikes carried out on September 29, 2016, in case the strike escalated. In an exclusive interview with NewsX, General Rawat made the statement hinting that all three wings of the Indian armed forces were ready to respond in case the strike led to full-scale war. This is the first time that the Chief of Army Staff has said the other forces were ready for any eventuality. Para commandos of the 4th and 9th battalions of the Indian Army crossed the Line of Control on September 29, 2016, and killed dozens of Pakistani terrorists.

Speaking ahead of the second anniversary of the surgical strikes which is being observed as Surgical Strike Day on September 29, General Rawat made it clear that India won’t hesitate in launching another surgical strike if Pakistan doesn’t stop cross-border terrorism.

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Recalling the top-secret military operation, General Rawat, who was the vice-chief during the surgical strike, said the directions came directly from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval was simultaneously updated about the sequence of events in planning. The Army chief said the mission was kept guarded for a long time as it was a difficult operation and the Army kept the info only among people who needed to know.

General Rawat said in the aftermath of the Uri attack, there was a lot of anger in the Army and the forces were given complete freedom of action after a unilateral decision was taken to avenge the cold-blooded murder of jawans.

Terming the surgical strike “a big victory for the Indian armed forces and for the nation”, the Army chief said celebrating such a victory is to recall the courage and valour of troops who participated in the operation and it’s the nation’s way of acknowledging the soldiers and the planners.

India carried out surgical strikes in 2016 on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control with the Army saying its special forces inflicted significant casualties on terrorists preparing to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

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