No Regrets For Not Making Operation Ginger Public: Former NSA Shiv Shankar Menon

He said covert operations are intended to tackle ceasefire violations, "not to manage public opinion".

12/10/2016 8:40 AM IST | Updated 12/10/2016 9:55 AM IST
Jason Lee / Reuters
Former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon answers a question at a news conference ahead of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Sanya, China's Hainan province, April 13, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee

In an interview with The Hindu, Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon has said he does not regret not publicising the news of Operation Ginger carried out along the Line of Control (LoC) in 2011.

The decision to go public with such information, Menon added, depends on "the outcome you seek and the best way to achieve it". Covert operations, he explained, are intended to tackle infiltrations and ceasefire violations, "not to manage public opinion at home".

The last phrase is a presumably reference to the very different approach that has been adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, since it carried out "surgical strikes" on 28 September along the LoC in retaliation to the attacks on the army headquarters in Uri on 18 September.

Since then the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, current NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar have given out details of the operation in a series of public briefings. Cabinet ministers and other political leaders from the BJP have claimed credit for the strikes being a "first", while Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he had empowered the army "like Hanuman was".

Even though Menon dismissed the term "surgical strikes" as belonging to the Cold War era, he said the Uri attacks have been handled "as well as can be expected". He said it was more appropriate to call the operations tactical strikes, "designed to keep or restore peace" along the LoC.

Since ceasefire along the LoC was announced by Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Vihari Vajpayee and Former President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan in 2003, instances of infiltration have dropped significantly. Compared to 1,373 attempts in 2003, only 277 were made in 2013. According to the figures released by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Parliament last year, in 2014 and 2015, the numbers were 222 and 121 respectively.

Since the unrest in the Kashmir valley started after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July, there has been a 33% increase in infiltration attempts, police sources say.

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