Indian Army shares a very emotional bond with the Indian populace. We sing the praises of them as our heroes. Government may or may not have our reverences, but the army always commands it. Every reprisal from our side to wanton hostility from the other side of the border is appreciated. We are the nation of the warrior prince Rama and the respect for the armed soldiers guarding our territorial borders comes naturally to us. And when incidents like June 4 attack on the Army convoy take place, entire nation wears a mien of gloom. Not a single hero of ours deserves to be slain, let alone a whole convoy of them.
The June 4 attack on the army convoy which claimed the lives of 18 army men in Manipur’s Chandel district shattered us a nation. They were massacred in cold blood by militants drawn from various factions, including NSCN-Khaplang and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup. We were baying for their blood but the army was uncharacteristically calm. They were gearing up for vengeance. A strategy was being laid on the basis of ‘credible and specific intelligence’. Targets were been identified and marked.
And once the planning was done, they attacked the militants with full power. The Indian Army, in a joint operation with the Indian Air Force, engaged the militants at two locations on the Indo-Myanmar border and wreaked havoc. There were no causalities on our side and if sources are to be trusted, our men killed more than 100 of militants. One of the bodies of militants recovered from the ambush site has been identified as the leader of the group of the June 4 attack. Swift and brutal. While the government has downplayed the operation as a pre-emptive step but it is only wise to assume that it is a strong message to militants of all creeds and tribes, with purpose or without it, gun wielding or suicide bombing, native Indian or a foreign excreta. And the message was loud and clear “Don’t mess with us, we know you and we know where you live. We are capable of killing you inside your safe havens”.
And as soon as the news went public, the atmosphere was electric in the nation. People were happy as the deaths of their heroes had been avenged. The faith on army and the Indian Government was restored. China was quick to issue a statement that PLA wasn’t involved in the ambush. Pakistan issued a shaky statement that they are no Myanmar. Media reports ranged from extoling the army to toning down the “Chest Thumping” by the Government of India.
But did the Army became so awe-inspiringly daring just like that? Did it lack the temperament and technique to perform a cross border or even a near-border operation like this one? Did the army lack the man power or ammunitions? Or was the Indian army never ambushed before? Weren’t there cases of unprovoked aggression before?
The answer to all the aforementioned questions will be a big NO. The Indian army undergoes a tough training. Their character and methods are beyond suspicions. Their commitment to their nation is superlative and their valor is matchless. But they were like brilliant coders waiting for a go ahead from the top management to start coding an application. And they never figured in the priority list of the top management. The Indian army never lost its valor, not even for a second but it took the BJP Government’s determination, clear thought process, Modi’s go ahead, Parrikar’s free hand and Doval’s directions to the military for their competence, willpower and valor to shine through. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval dropped out of Modi’s tour of Bangladesh at the last minute. Manohar Parrikar and Army chief General Dalbir Singh were to visit the UK. But they dropped out at the last minute too. Needless to say that together they planned and coordinated the surgical strikes. India may play diplomatically by saying that it maintains good relations with Myanmar and that it was informed well in advance about the operations but it is safe to assume that it was as clandestine an affair as it could get. Our army men went along (or inside) Indo-Myanmar’s borders and our army men killed.
The Media seems to have a problem with the phrase “56 Inch rocks” which took twitter by storm. They took it as “yet another” chest thumping exercise by the “show-off PM”. They took it as the PM’s attempt to deprive the army of their well-deserved and well-earned accolades. But a pertinent question? Does the 56 inch not rock? Does it not take a 56 Inch chest to administer a nation as vast, as vulnerable and as prone to terror strikes as India? Does it not take a 56 inch chest to send shivers down the spines of the enemies of India? Does the 56 Inch rock? Oh yes it does. This trend doesn’t take the credits from the Indian army in fact it strengthens the fact that the Indian Army rocks. Now the brave men have a brave man in the decision making position. And until he is there, we as a nation can afford to feel safe.
Glory to the Indian Army.
Picture Credits: rediff.com