New Delhi : Former Home Minister P Chidambaram has gone on record to assert that the much-hyped surgical strike for punitive action against the terrorists crossing the Line of Control last Wednesday night was not for the first time.

He says a similar “major strike took place in January 2013, when the UPA government was in power but it chose not to go public in keeping with its policy of strategic restraint.”

He says it would be premature to describe the strike as a “paradigm shift” in the country’s policy towards Pakistan as claimed by the government. “We need to evaluate over a period of time whether this leads to a decline in cross border terror and deters Pakistan, before passing any judgment,” Chidambaram asserted, adding that in any case the government will have to own up the consequences of its decision.

He, however, made it clear that the Congress is fully behind the Modi government on the issue nd will continue to support it in the matters related to nation’s security.

Meanwhile, the retired Army generals say the Indian Army has been carrying out attacks on the Pakistan Army and the terrorist camps consequent to Islamabad’s continuing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. They cited one such attack on the Pakistani post across the Line of Control (LoC) 17 years ago, just six months after the Kargil wear, on January 22, 2000 in which 16 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the Chhamb sector.

They said the Pakistan Army too has been carrying out similar attacks on the Indian positions after cross the LoC.  These trans-LoC attacks by both Armies stopped for a while after the November 2003 ceasefire, but there have been occasions even after the ceasefire when the India conducted retaliatory attacks across LoC such as one in response to decapitation of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army in January 2013.

The Indian Army reportedly beheaded some five to 10 Pakistani soldiers in retaliation. The retired Army officers say it is for the first time that the government has officially acknowledged what the Indian Army has been doing for many years now by going public on the shallow-distance strikes carried out in the wee hours of September 29.

The strikes directly against the terrorists and not against the Pakistan Army has made known India’s resolve and capability to cross the LoC to strike at the terrorists at will, they said.

Most of these retirees want the government to make it a policy to conduct the preemptive surgical strikes on Pakistani terror factories on a relentlessly continuous basis to truly make it expensive for the terrorists and its Pakistani patrons. They said prevention, rather than cure, is ideally the answer to the problem but this requires both human and electronic intelligence to obtain real time actionable information. They say the well-equipped Special Forces will have to be on permanent stand-by to work in conjunction with the intelligence agencies.

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