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'Those questioning surgical strikes are treacherous'

Last updated on: October 04, 2016 18:46 IST

Indian special forces

 

'Military operations demand the highest degree of secrecy.'
'Those who are demanding transparency in military operations must understand what military operations are all about.'

General Shankar Roy Chowdhury was chief of the army staff from 1994 to 1997 when he retired after 40 years of service.

The general is furious after some politicians questioned the army's surgical strikes in Pakistan on September 29.

"These people are definitely anti-national to question the army's surgical strikes," the general told Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Some politicians are questioning the army's surgical strikes in Pakistan.

Let me choose my words very carefully without taking names. The political leaders who are questioning the cross border strike of the Indian Army in Pakistan have plenty of company.

Many others are also questioning the same thing. To begin with the Pakistan army, the ISI (Pakistan's directorate of Inter Services Intelligence), terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

So many are saying the Indian Army never carried the cross border surgical strike. Politicians are also questioning it. They are questioning the one-hour presentation of the Indian Army's director general of military operations. I think they are in good company because Pakistanis are doing the same.

Do you think by questioning the Indian Army, these politicians are taking an anti-national stance?

Of course. I am also saying it is treachery.

Do you think it is time to stand together as one nation behind our army and our prime minister?

I really don't care what these politicians do. There is lot of anger in the Indian Army against politicians who are making such treacherous anti-national statements in such times.

These comments came possibly because the Pakistan army took international journalists to PoK to claim there was no surgical strikes. Why not give the proof of the surgical strikes and shame Pakistan?

Pakistan will not be shamed, so just forget about that. Pakistan is an enemy country, so leave that out.

Showing the Indian Army and Indian Air Force videos of the strike will be a tremendous breach of security because it would reveal how the operations were carried out.

Everyone will come to know how the Indian Army carries out (anti-terror) operations. We cannot make a public display of how we carry out strikes (against terrorists).

So it is in the national interest that we do not show these videos?

It is in the interest of the nation, if the nation understands. It is in the interest of the nation if our politicians understand it (as) the Indian Army understands it.

And if someone speaks to the DGMO of India as opposed to the DGMO of Pakistan he will say the same thing.

Earlier governments approved such surgical strikes by the army, but those governments did not highlight such strikes.

I will not speak on this issue, if you don't mind.

Opposition parties say the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is trying to gain political mileage out of the surgical strikes by the Indian military.

I will not speak on this issue except to remind today's politicians that when the Indian Army was fighting the Kargil War in 1999 precisely the same thing was happening.

The Congress, then in the Opposition, was trying its best to praise the Indian Army, but not support the government. The BJP was in power then too.

These are games politicians play and let them keep playing, but they should not be treacherous to the nation.

As far as special operations are concerned, I would not like to speak further as it is a case of national security.

The argument here is we are a democratic nation and therefore we need to have proof of the surgical strikes.

I have to say that it is a very foolish idea. Military operations cannot be carried out with transparency. Military operations demand the highest degree of secrecy.

Those who are demanding transparency in military operations must understand what military operations are all about. It is foolish to expect transparency in active military operations.

What do you think the armed forces are feeling after these politicians accuse them of a 'fake operation'?

There is anger, extreme anger and resentment against those who are questioning this surgical strike.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com