New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government at the centre has admitted that Indian Army was involved in surgical strikes earlier too but not at this level. Meanwhile Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Tuesday said whether cross-LoC surgical strikes were undertaken by the army in the past only the military will know as no "message" about such assaults were conveyed.
"What FS said is that the key issue is that we went public after conducting the surgical strikes which conveyed a politico-military message. Whether any previous crossings had been done only the army would know. But it is irrelevant anyway because there was no message," sources in the government said.
The clarification about what transpired at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs, which was briefed on the strikes by Jaishankar, came after some opposition MPs quoted him having said the army had carried out "target specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations" across the LoC in the past too but this was for the first time the government had gone public about it.
An earlier report by a news agency said, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar gave this information to the Parliamentary Committee on Exernal Affairs when he was specifically asked by MPs whether surgical strikes have been done in the past. His comments assume significance in the context of claims by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's claims last week rejecting Congress's claims that surgical strikes were undertaken during the UPA government too.
Manohar Parrikar had said that it was the first time that surgical strikes had taken place in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack and what was undertaken previously were operations locally executed by commanders without involving the government. Meanwhile Congress has not stopped quoting the Foreign Secretary's earlier remarks, in an attempt to still try and milk the situation.