Indian Army's surgical strike: Govt should award these eagles for their courage

The angels of good fortune rode on the shoulders of Indian soldiers who went in over the LoC and wiped out those terror camps.

The odds on something going wrong were very high. To drop paratroopers and send them into a battle zone without even a sprained ankle is incredible. For them to link up without losing a comrade or getting a chute tangled in a tree even more exceptional.

To not be seen by any farmer or other insomniac as they came in all the more fortunate. To get to seven separate sites and not be spotted by one sentry or terrorist taking a leak is picking up Murphy’s law and making a mockery of it.

If something can go wrong it will…but it didn’t.

If Prime Minister Modi and the top echelons of his Cabinet and the armed forces were tracking the operation on screen, it must have been the most nail biting suspenseful four hours. It is always a calculated risk and no one knows how it will pan out till it is over. There is nothing romantic sending men into combat.

 Indian Armys surgical strike: Govt should award these eagles for their courage

Representational image. Reuters

For those who often cavil over India’s failures in Intelligence, this time it was spot on.

That’s how good our guys are.

In 1971, during the battle of Basantar, the biggest tank battle since Rommel, our chaps got into those tanks like they were at an F1 rally…they had picked up large tins of biscuits from a Pakistani factory hanging from their machines and it was a matter of honour not to lose the tin. I was covering the war for the Times of India and rode the CO’s tank, scared to the bone and in slack-jawed admiration.

Ever since then I have always maintained the Indian soldier is probably the most disciplined in the world.

In fact the closest example of such precision and kismet to compare would be the Israeli raid in Entebbe Uganda in 1976 to rescue the passengers of the hijacked Air France flight. But they had casualties. A commando was killed, a hostage murdered and 45 Ugandan soldiers lost their lives.

In Black Hawk Down, the guts shown by US commandos in taking on Somalian militants was exemplary but they were caught out in the Mogadishu urban maze, the worst place to fight a battle.

Our guys did not get a scratch. While we do display our gratitude we should also display our awe that we had no casualties and were able to return home to base in tact.

Short of a Bruce Willis or Sly Stallone movie it is very rare and every Indian should feel blessed.

Somebody asked me last night why we haven’t released the pictures and the videos of the raid if the drones had cameras affixed to them. There are still some Indians who feel it is intellectually stimulating to sail on the ‘was there a moonlanding’ cynical ship. Why they opt for that is beyond me, like they are disappointed our men in uniform performed at the most professional level possible.

Would they rather we had failed.

Like all the Kejriwals who cannot tweet a message of shabash to our boys so they can sleep safe at night.

For them one can say, showing pictures and videos is not a priority. India has nothing to prove. How many photos did you see of the raid in Abbotabad by the Americans? The material has to be studied, the teams debriefed, terrorists identified and then the government may decide to release them or not. Doesn’t matter.

All too often the sanitised version works better and has more impact.

By that token we do not want our soldiers who went in to be identified or recognised and be targeted. But that said, one can only hope that the Indian government will quietly award these eagles for their courage and for making their country that much safer.

That’s the least we can do.

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Updated Date: Sep 30, 2016 11:33:20 IST