Difference between ‘cross-border actions’ and ‘surgical strike’


                     Surgical strike 2016                                                Balakot air strike 2019

This evening (May 5, 2019), on a TV channel, 4 former army officers rubbished Congress’ claim of ‘surgical strikes’ during the UPA rule. They said that the earlier actions were small-scale ‘cross-border actions’ taken by local commanders without permission of their seniors and information to them after the actions. Such actions had no political implications while ‘surgical strikes’ are major military operations taken only after government permission.

The retired Armed Forces officers explained that what the Modi government did in 2016 and 2019 were major actions by the Indian Armed Forces with the permission of the central government and resulted in heavy casualties inside POK in 2016 and inside Pakistan in 2019. They  said such actions have been taken only thrice after the Second World War. Israel did it in Uganda during Idi Amin’s dictatorship and the US did in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. They said, had surgical strikes of 2016 or 2019 failed, the Modi government would have fallen.

They said, never before Modi had any government given free hand to the Armed Forces. The Armed Forces were feeling helpless and frustrated when terrorists attacked the Parliament or when terrorists attacked Mumbai in 2008 because they were not allowed to retaliate. The Armed Forces’ morale had never been so high as today, the added. Another important thing with a said that had the Modi government publicly paraded the jawans and officers of the Armed Forces who carried out operations in 2016 or 2019 to take credit, that would have been politicisation of the Armed Forces; referring to the bravery of the forces in 2016 or 2018 does not amount to politicisation.

Devendra Narain



Written by Devendra Narain
Date of birth: January 1, 1941 Educational qualification: Master of Arts (First Class) in Political Science Visiting Fellow: (one year, 1978-79), University of Oxford, UK. Job Experience: Teaching job: Lecturer in Political Science, Patna University (February 1963 to October 1965) Indian Revenue Service: November 1965 to December 2000. Important positions held in Government of India: Head of the Project Appraisal Division (Planning Commission), Head of the Project Monitoring Division and Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary (Department of Programme Implementation), Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and Member, Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property. Retired from Government of India on December 31, 2002, as Member, Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property. Experience as trainer: more than 50 national and international training programmes on project management International Experience: Indian member of Inter-governmental committee on project management system by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1985; Member of Indian delegation to the (erstwhile) Soviet Union (1986) Area of expertise: Project Management (ex-ante Project Appraisal, CBA, Monitoring, ex-post evaluation). Experience as author: Co-author of a book on Indian Constitution in 1970 (now out of print); More than two dozen articles on different aspects of project management; 11 stories (10 satirical and one serious) in English and Hindi, published in leading magazines and a leading Hindi newspaper. Presently writing articles on social, political, economic and administrative issues available on my website and LinkedIn. Website: https://www.devendranarain.com Present on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) Published collection of short stories in Hindi: "ये टेढ़े मेढ़े रास्ते". Paperback available on Amazon and Flipkart; ebook available on Amazon.