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Army asked to study all pros & cons

After 5 high-level meetings, PM, HM, DM discuss response to Pak

The Union Government said today that it reserved the right to give “adequate response” at an “appropriate time” to Pakistan following deadliest strike by Pakistan backed four militants at Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri sector of Kashmir valley yesterday in which 18 soldiers were killed. Five high level security review meetings took place in the Union capital today including the one chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by top political leadership of the country apart from officials of Home and Defence Ministries, Intelligence, Army and para-military officials. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Prime Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a high level meeting with Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Nipendra Mishra, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. The meeting came immediately after the Home Minister, the Defence Minister, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh and top officials of Home and Defence Ministries, NSA, the Army chief, Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Dineshwar Sharma met for more than one and a half hour to decide India’s response to Uri attack. The meeting, according to sources, asked the Army chief to prepare comprehensive report on the kinds of response Army could give to Pakistan and what the hostile neighbour could do in that event. “The Army has been asked to study all pros and cons of the situation that could develop in the sub continent if India target militant training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), carrying out strikes across the LoC and launching an offensive against the militants and their Over Ground Workers (OGWs), within Jammu and Kashmir and preparedness of the troops to meet with such attacks in future,” sources said. They added that the Centre Government wanted to be sure that the Indian response to Pakistan was not only “appropriate and adequate” but it was tackled efficiently in case of any retaliation from the neighbour or the militants within the State so that the people were not put to any kind of inconvenience anywhere. “Everything including surgical strikes in PoK, attack on the militant camps, Pakistan army posts, which were engaged in aiding infiltration of the militants and striking at the militant hideouts within Jammu and Kashmir offensively figured in the meeting that was chaired by the Home Minister,” sources said, adding the Government didn’t want to act in haste but would decide its action very coolly. In the meantime, the Government has asked Army to present all “actionable evidence” to Pakistan Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) during the DGMO level talks between the two countries, who speak on hotline every Tuesday. At the same time, sources said, Rajnath and Parrikar directed the Army and other security forces to ensure that any such attack in future was neutralized with minimum casualties for which the Army chief was asked to take all preemptive measures and convey them to the Commanders. Though the Army had killed all four militants within a couple of hours but by then they had managed to inflict 18 fatal casualties of the troops and left many others injured. The Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the MoS in PMO were briefed by top officials present in the meeting that there was enough evidence to nail Pakistan at the international forums. They decided that India will give entire evidence to Pakistan during the DGMO level talks. The evidence included Pakistan army made arms, ammunition and grenade launching gun, maps, Global Positioning System (GPS) and various eatables having marking of `Made in Pakistan’. “India will confront Pakistan with all evidence though it is a different matter that similar evidences were also given to the neighbour during January 2 Pakistan attack,” sources said and added that the evidences will also be used to nail Pakistan at the United Nations, whose General Assembly is scheduled to meet in next few days, which will be addressed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who didn’t attend today’s meetings called by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. Sources said action will be taken only after proper planning, coordination, exploring all options and taking everyone concerned into confidence, sources said. They recalled that in the case of Myanmar last year, the Army carried out an operation along the border against NSCNK militants involved in the killing of 18 soldiers in Manipur in June, 2015 only after a week. “Here, we have a hostile Pakistani establishment. So any hasty action is completely ruled out,” they said. Sources said after the meeting, the Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the Finance Minister besides the NSA, Home Secretary, Defence Secretary and the Army chief met the Prime Minister at his 7 RCR residence for about an hour in which all possibilities to retaliate Uri attack were discussed. The Principal Secretary to the PM was also present. Though no official statement was issued after the meeting, sources said the Prime Minister listened to all options discussed and debated in the earlier meeting chaired by the Home Minister. The Prime Minister is reported to have issued some directions during the meeting to the Ministers and top brass of the administration, sources said. Modi had yesterday declared that those responsible for despicable attack in Uri wouldn’t go unpunished. Earlier in the morning, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had visited Kashmir yesterday along with Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, met the Prime Minister and briefed him about Uri attack and security situation in the Valley especially along Line of Control (LoC) and the measures taken by the troops to thwart intrusion bids and Uri like attacks in future. Parrikar had been briefed by the Northern Army and Chinar Corps Commanders Lt Gen DS Hooda and Lt Gen Satish Dua respectively at Srinagar yesterday about the incident and the operation launched to neutralize the terrorists. The briefing included discussions on the soft points and how the terrorists managed to get in. Sources had said possible “action plan” was also discussed about how the Army can respond to the attack. Sources said the decision will be taken at a higher level on the kind of action to be taken but this would be highly confidential. Meanwhile, in the evening Parrikar had a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag to discuss the kind of reaction by the Indian troops and steps to tighten security at all Army camps to prevent such kind of attacks in future. Earlier in the morning, the Home Minister had met the MHA officials including the Home Secretary and other Ministry officials Incharge of Jammu and Kashmir before holding high level security review. Meanwhile, MoS in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh in an interview to a national news channel, said Indian Army has set highest standards of human rights, which was evident from the fact that it has suffered equal number of casualties as the others. “Army have guns, but they don’t shoot, Army have bombs, they don’t hurl, Army has ammunition, they don’t use it simply because they exercise self constraint so that no harm is caused to the innocent people,” Dr Singh said adding the human right activists should realize that Indian Army is adhering to human rights while the militants and Pakistan were violating them. To a question on Pakistan, the Union Minister said the perpetrator of terrorism don’t escape from it very long. “Involvement of Pakistan in terrorism hardly required any evidence. The world is accepting Indian view point that Pakistan is epicenter of terrorism,” Dr Singh said. On action against Pakistan as retaliation to Uri attack, he said it would be decided keeping in view the aspirations of 1.2 billion people and taking interests of the country into account.

Source:- Daily Excelsior