New Delhi: The daring surgical strike against terror camps operating in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) by India’s elite para commandos is undoubtedly one of the biggest high points of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-year old administration.
Seen by many as Indian Army’s most daring military operation ever, the details of September 29 surgical strike on terror launch pads along LoC were not divulged due to security reasons then.
However, on the 68th Republic Day, the government decorated some bravehearts who were part of the surgical strike for their daredevilry, giving a brief account of the combat operation by the elite Para Commandos.
According to a report in The Times Of India, while several top ranking Army personnel were involved in the planning and execution of the cross-LoC operation, the 19 para soldiers were integral part of the surgical strike, the citations say.
It has now emerged that one Colonel, five Majors, two Captains, one Subedar, two Naib Subedars, three Havildars, one Lance Naik and four Paratroopers of the 4th and 9th battalions of the Para Regiment took part in the surgical strike.
While Major Rohit Suri from the 4th Para was bestowed with a Kirti Chakra, Col Harpreet Sandhu, commanding officer of 4 Para, was honoured with a Yudh Seva Medal.
The team also won four Shaurya Chakras and 13 Seva Medals.
Colonel Harpreet Sandhu, who was tasked to undertake two simultaneous strikes on launch pads, was awarded a Yudh Seva Medal for formulating the strike plan and ensuring its execution flawlessly.
According to the report, the Indian Army began planning to execute the surgical strike on the terror infrastructure in PoK soon after the Uri terror attack in J&K in which 17 soldiers were killed, but it was awaiting an ‘amavasya’ (moon-less) night to execute the operation.
Finally on the intervening night of September 28-29, Major Rohit Suri, heading an eight-member strike team, was ordered to carry out strikes on the terror infrastructure.
After carrying out a recce, Major Suri directed his team to engage the terrorists in the open at a launchpad. Suri and his team came within just 50 m of the target and neutralised two terrorists.
Once the terrorists in the open were killed, Major Suri noticed movement of two suspected jihadis in the nearby jungle. The movement of two terrorists was also being tracked with an UAV. Major Suri, ignoring his safety, intercepted the terrorists and engaged them in close fight, eliminating both of them.
Another Major was tasked to undertake close-target surveillance of the launchpads on September 27.
The officer, along with his assault group, crossed the LoC 48 hours prior to the strike and kept the target under close surveillance till the day of the strike. His team mapped the target zone, location of automatic weapons and different firing positions the strike team could use. The officer destroyed a weapon shelter, killing two terrorists.
During the attack, his squad came under fire from a nearby weapon shelter. Sensing danger to his squad, the Major, who was honoured with Shaurya Chakra, crawled near the shelter and eliminated one more terrorist, silencing the gun fire.
The third Major along with his buddy closed in on a terror shelter and destroyed it, killing all jihadis sleeping inside. Thereafter, he guided other members of the strike group to safety. Major, who too was awarded Shaurya Chakra, kept his superiors posted about the progress of the operation during the strike.
The fourth Major was awarded a Sena medal for destroying an automatic weapon fortification with his grenade attack and killing two terrorists at close range.
The surgical strike was not an easy operation. The strike team came under heavy fire from terrorists.
The fifth Major spotted three terrorists carrying RPG (rocket-propelled grenades), who were about to target the squad led by the fourth Major. But before the terrorists could attack, the fifth Major, unmindful of his safety, engaged the terrorists in a gunfight and neutralised the two. His buddy eliminated the third terrorist.
Not only officers, even JCOs and paratroopers showed exemplary courage. Though no soldier was killed in the operation, a paratrooper, who was part of the surveillance team, suffered injuries during the operation. However, he too killed a terrorist even after stepping his right foot on a mine.
Source: Zee News