Operation Search and Destroy
Ever since the 4th June attack on the 6th Battalion of Dogra Regiment in Chandel District, Manipur, the far Northeastern front (Nagaland & Manipur) has once again come under the flurry of the very controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).
From the Duthang village being deserted to other nearby villagers fleeing their homes, the retaliation of the Indian Army has become one of the most heated discussion in the country.
However, the big question that has everyone popping their head is, the authenticity of Indian Army’s Myanmar Ops carried out on 9th June 2015.
Here is how the confusion began:
The Indian Army and the National Media, for that matter, has claimed that the deaths of the ‘Jawans’ have been ‘avenged’ through their Operation Search and Destroy that cost the lives of dozens of militants. Some news channels went as high up as 50-100! The Army issued a statement saying that two separate attacks were carried out in the Indo-Myanmar border in Nagaland and Manipur.
The statement further implied that the attack was carried out in communication with the Myanmar authorities. Also adding “We look forward to working with them (Myanmar Army) to combat such terrorism in the future also.”
While eager denizens were still figuring their way out of this attack & counterattack, Myanmar issued another statement that India killed rebels inside its territory and not under Myanmar’s territory.
Following the statement, the national newspaper Times Of India (TOI) ran a story on Why India Did Not Keep Myanmar In Loop, quoted by the paper as coming from a ‘senior source’.
The paper also ran an exclusive story on “Myanmar op: How India crossed the line and completed mission in 45 minutes“, also with a supposed picture splashed in their front page as ‘photo taken after the attack, issued by defense ministry’. Not only was this picture used in TOI but also by Indian Express.
Seen here in IndianExpress is the picture which was uploaded in 2013, the same picture used by TOI in their front page.
These pictures used by many media claiming the ‘avenged’ victory mission are apparently archived ones. Here is another picture used by ANI where the same picture is found in DefenceForum. This picture was uploaded way back in 2009!
As the social media erupted with an uproar and trolls on these allegedly ‘victory’ pictures, the spokesperson of MoD tweeted a statement again that the MoD didn’t issue any pictures.
From the other side of India, the militant groups have been issuing statements ridiculing the news of the attack.
The NSCN (K) refutes the attack and the casualties as reported by the media. According to Nagaland post, their source reported that NSCN (K) camp was not attacked and that the group did not suffer any casualty. Their source even ridiculed the footage of the attack shown as ‘the Indian army was supposedly doing mock drill‘.
Not only was the casualties dismissed as ‘baseless’, the NSCN(K) source dared the Army to prove their statement with the dead bodies of cadres supposedly killed in the attack.
Adding to the commotion is another claim by Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) that quashed the claim of the Indian Army as a ‘mockery’. They instead claimed to have found bloodstains where the AR personnel had positioned themselves during the attack.
As the plot thickens and more eyebrows are raised, we cannot help but agree with Kishalay Bhattacharjee when he stated:
The death tolls are yet to be ascertained. It is still doing its dynamic round from 2 to 50 to 100. The militant groups still blatantly refuse to admit they had a huge loss.
It is the rule of thumb that neither forces in battle will never disclose the exact casualties. The militants may have lost many lives or even the Indian army may have had some casualties, but to the world they will claim their own victory.
That has left us appalled, and with a big question- Was ‘Operation Search and Destroy’ a success? Did it really happen?
Well, of course, the chances of seeing a wee bit proof on the Ops from the MoD is really skim, judging by its series of secretive ‘successful’ mission without any imagery proof. The militants are likely to carry the secrets to their grave than to come forward and admit their loss.
The Truth is, we will never really know what went down at the Indian Army’s Myanmar Ops.