Pakistani Forces Opened Fire As We Were Returning, Says Major Who Led Surgical Strike

| September 10 , 2017 , 21:08 IST

Months after India conducted the surgical strike past the border with Pakistan, the army major, who led the strike has spoken up revealing that despite entering an enemy base, the hardest part was coming back.

The information is revealed in the new book titled "India's Most Fearless: True Stories of Modern Military Heroes" where the army major who led the surgical strike, referred to as Tango, talks about the military operation on terror base in Pakistani land.

The pain of Uri attack was still fresh in the hearts of people when the army decided to use soldiers who had suffered in the terror attack on the military base for the strike.

A platoon was formed and a few selected soldiers were tasked to man the border positions and provide crucial information to support the mission beyond the border.

"Tactically," the book says, "this was a smart move - few knew the lay of the frontier land better than they did. But there was another astute reason. Involving them in the mission would at least begin to lay the ghosts of Uri to rest."

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It further goes to explain, "The target list was scrutinised along a top-secret chain of command that numbered barely a handful of people, with 'need to know' rules applicable throughout.

"The options were vetted by designated officers from the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing, before a final recommended brief was presented to the government."

Even though Major Tango had chosen every single man himself, he was worried about the de-induction, "That's where I knew I could lose guys," the book quotes him recalling.

The book marks, "Even the actual attack was not something that flustered the commandos."

"It was the return, an uphill trek to the LoC that was the truly daunting part. Their backs would be facing a blaze of fire from Pakistan Army posts, belatedly roused from their slumber. And the dominant position held by the posts would make the escaping warriors easy targets to spot and kill."

The team had destroyed a total of four terror launch pads operating in the area.

"Through a series of masked communications over mobile, Maj Tango's men contacted four 'assets' — two local villagers in PoK and two Pakistani nationals operating in the area - both moles in the dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group, men who had been turned by Indian agencies a few years before.

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"All the four assets separately confirmed the target information that was placed before them. In terms of intelligence, there was nothing further for the team to do on this side of the LoC."

The Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh written book tells 14 true stories of extraordinary courage and fearlessness of the Indian soldiers.

"Each launch pad is really a transit staging area for terrorist infiltrators before they are sent across the LoC. Both launch pads were close to Pakistan Army posts for logistical and administrative purposes. ISI handlers would often visit these launch pads before infiltration attempts," the book continues about the strike.

It all happened within an hour, from first bullet that was fired to the last.

"A total of 38-40 terrorists and two Pakistan Army personnel were killed at the four targets. The three separate teams had simultaneously struck 4 launch pads across the LoC. Their entry into PoK had been coordinated and precisely timed," it tells.

Then came the return, the major was already worried about this. He decided not to take the route from which they had entered. However, a different way would take longer, which means more time spent in a foreign land, still he decided it was comparatively safer.

It was during the return that Pakistani army posts started their fire. "At one point, the bullets were so close, they were whistling past our ears. There's a familiar put-put sound when rounds fly very close to your head," Maj was quoted recalling.

"If I were a foot taller, I would have been hit many times over."

"A particularly vulnerable 60-metre patch in the de- induction route gave the commandos their closest call. Still flat on their bellies, but with no natural feature hiding them, they needed to slither the full distance without being hit. Crossing in pairs as ammunition hit the ground inches from them, Maj Tango's team made it to the LoC before the sun was up, finally crossing it at 0430 hours," said the book.

-With Agency Inputs