Surgical strikes

A surgical strike is essentially a swift and targeted attack on specific target that aims to neutralise them while ensuring minimum collateral damage to the surrounding areas and civilians.

How is it carried out?

These attacks can be carried out via air raids, airdropping special ops teams or a ground operation.

India Army’s Parachute Regiments have highly trained para-commandos that are specially drilled to carry out such operations. The Indian Navy boasts of its feared marine commandos or MARCOS and the Indian Air Force has Garudas for asset protection and containment.

On 29 September 2016, India conducted surgical strikes against terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, and inflicted “significant casualties”.

Implications of Surgical Strike

This was the first operation conducted by the Army across a wide frontage of well over 100 kilometres at multiple terrorist targets along the LoC.

Second, by taking ownership of the strike, India snatched the initiative from Pakistan, which had continued its provocations through terrorist attacks at regular intervals.

Third, the Army raised the cost of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy by a couple of notches.

Fourth, the Pakistani narrative about the absence of India-targeting terrorists on its soil stood exposed for the world to see.

Fifth, the strikes proved to be an important element for maintaining the morale of the people of India and the armed forces.

Sixth, the strike reinforced the credibility of the government and displayed its resolve, even as justified restraint and maturity was on display.

Seventh, India called into question the Pakistani belief that it would not react to terrorist provocations because of the fear of escalation.

Eighth, Pakistan’s ‘high effect low cost war’ becomes a ‘low effect high cost war’ and that is exactly what the surgical strikes have achieved.

Nine, There is a danger that the new dynamic in India-Pakistan relations could lead to the termination of the ceasefire on the LoC. It could lead to the destruction of the LOC fencing which has played a significant role in reducing infiltration.

Ten, This could aid a new  project of stepping up the Kashmir heat on India. Especially if the current situation of civil unrest festers, it could help Pakistan by creating a new crop of militants, as well as a support structure which could be utilised by a new wave of infiltrators.

Eleven, China is unlikely to get involved in the situation if it simmers at its present level. Neither India nor Pakistan show an inclination to go further. India has made its point that it intends to police the LoC more intensely. For the present, Pakistan has conveniently sidestepped the challenge by denying anything happened.

Twelve, Pakistan’s ‘high effect low cost war’ becomes a ‘low effect high cost war’ and that is exactly what the surgical strikes have achieved.


The surgical strikes are a game changer and Pakistan will be subjected to more such strikes as and when it crosses the Lakshman Rekha.