Over the past week, the Indian media’s coverage of the surgical strikes reportedly conducted by the Indian army on the night straddling 28 and 29 September has been unapologetically hawkish. In light of this, it becomes important to take a fresh look at this excerpt from first official statement the Indian army made:
“Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along [emphasis ours] the Line of Control with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu & Kashmir and in various other metros in our country, the Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads.” Director General Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said in a press conference on 29 September.
Since then, there has been a deluge of news reports that have left nothing to the imagination. The stories are replete with precise details of an operation carried across the Line of Control (LoC): the battalions involved, the time and duration of the strike, the target areas and the number of dead enemies. These details have varied across several reports, but one aspect has remained common: The sources in all these stories were either absentees, or anonymous.