Sat, Oct 22, 2016 | updated 09:36 PM IST

Congress solidly backs Centre, salutes armed forces' valour

Updated: Sep 29, 2016 17:03 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 29 (ANI): The Congress Party on Thursday stood solidly behind the Centre and the Indian armed forces for carrying out surgical strikes last night on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) to neutralise terrorists planning to infiltrate into Indian territory.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a statement issued here said. "The Congress Party congratulates the armed forces on the success of the operation and offers its support to the government in our country's continuing battle against cross-border terrorism."

"The Congress Party stands with the government in its actions today to protect our country's security and deal with the menace of terrorism from across the border. This is a strong message that conveys our country's resolve to prevent further infiltration and attacks on our security forces and our people," she said.

Stating that the Congress hopes that Pakistan will recognise that it bears a great responsibility in the continuing cross-border terrorist attacks against India, Gandhi added, "The party expects that Pakistan will take effective action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism that it has supported and it ensures that its territory and the territory under its control is not used for terrorist purposes against India."

Saluting the Indian armed forces for carrying out successful surgical strikes on terror launch pads, former defence minister and senior Congress leader A.K. Antony said, "It is a fitting reply against the continuing infiltration by terrorists supported by the Pakistani Army It is a fitting reply against the continuing infiltration by terrorists supported by the Pakistani Army. I salute the Indian armed forces for a successful operation."

Hailing the action taken by the Government of India and the India Army, Antony said, "We fully support the action taken by the Indian Army and we also support the government also in its endeavour to protect our national security."

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, said, "I am very proud of the Indian Army, the real message has been sent to Pakistan. Well done. Whatever Indian Army did was very sensible, measured and proportionate form of retaliation."

What does Pakistan mean by 'unprovoked', questioned former diplomat Tharoor, while seeking to know from Islamabad that if the "killing 18 of our soldiers is not provocation?"

All India Congress Committee (AICC) communications in charge, Randeep Singh Surjewala in a tweet said, "INC wholeheartedly supports the surgical strike on terror pads in POK by Indian Army. Salute the valour of our armed forces (sic)."

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted, "We congratulate the Indian Army for undertaking surgical strikes on terror launch pads. We stand completely behind our armed forces."

"We stand united with govt in the nation's fight against terrorism emanating from Pakistan & will support any action required to mitigate it (sic)," tweeted Patel again.

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla tweeted, "Well Done Indian Army. I salute your valour for the surgical strike to destroy the terrorist camps. The entire country stands with you."

Addressing a press conference, Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said "significant casualty was caused to terrorists during the operation".

Lt. Gen. Singh said, "Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and in various other metros in our country, the Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads."

"The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country. During these counter terrorist operations, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them. The operations aimed at neutralizing the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for continuation of further operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise," he added.

"I have just spoken to the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations and explained our concerns and also shared with him the operations we had conducted last night. It is India's intention to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region, but we can certainly not allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack the citizens of our country," he said.

The DGMO said, "It has been a matter of serious concern that there has been continuing and increasing infiltration by terrorists across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. This is reflected in the terrorist attacks at Poonch and Uri on September 11-18, respectively. Almost 20 infiltration attempts have been foiled by the Indian Army successfully during this year. During these terrorist attacks and infiltration attempts we have recovered items including Global Positioning Systems and stores which have had Pakistani markings."

"Further, captured terrorists hailing from Pakistan or Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have confessed to their training and arming in Pakistan or territory under the control of Pakistan. The matter has been taken up at the highest diplomatic levels and the military levels at regular times. India has also offered consular access to the apprehended terrorists to Pakistan to verify their confessions," said the DGMO.

"In line with Pakistan's commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control for any terrorist activities against India, we expect the Pakistani army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region," Lt. Gen. Singh added. (ANI)