There is much backslapping and some intemperate statements by government ministers hailing the recent Burma operation against militants a "great success". The operation became inevitable after 18 Indian soldiers of the Dogra regiment were killed in an ambush. The prime minister himself authorised the operation and it was planned by Ajit Doval, security advisor to the government.

I have met many people on the road and at parties who have felt great satisfaction that anything from 50-150 militants have been killed. The first man to strike a discordant note was my friend from the local military police who opined the operation a failure. What really happened? Now I can write without anyone asking me how I got this information as IBN Live on 15 June broadcast that the operation was a failure as one of the camps was empty , with not a single militant available and in the second camp there were very few militants and the army could count only 8 bodies after the operation. One can stretch it and  say that perhaps 10-12 militants were all that were killed.

The operation was thus a military failure. One of my friends still in service told me that the security advisor had no experience of any covert operation earlier and he was not prepared to strike like the  Green Berets in Vietnam and the SEAL in Afghanistan. The requirement was to use heligunships for the attack as this would have saved at least an hour. The government and the advisor were not prepared to use gunships as it would violate the air sovereignty of Burma and escalate the operation. The troops were dropped some miles away from the camps and made it there by foot and all they could get were empty camps as the militants had fled. 

In short it was a badly planned operation and no fault can be attached to the army for this. Worse many ministers began crow about the " success" of the operation and the fallout is not good. Burma is miffed at this operation and its unlikely they will allow another operation. The security advisor is now despatched to Rangoon to assuage the feelings of the Burmese. The damage is done by the government ministers from Raj Nath Singh downwards who have  a lot to answer for. Such covert operations are firstly not advertised and they are only broadcast in case there is significant success. In this an operation that yielded just 10 militants killed is nothing to crow about. In turn we have antagonised the Burmese and this will affect future military cooperation.

Its best to be realistic and avoid chest thumping, that its a warning to Pakistan. Such talk  can be dismissed as just talk. The reality is entirely different and  such operations can only be a success when we match China militarily and overwhelm Pakistan, which is not the case.


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