Surgical Strike a Copybook Execution Of Precise Planning
- NEW DELHI : "You don't get a maroon beret, you have to earn it," this is said about all those men who aspire to join Parachute Regiment, the Army's premier airborne strike force. The September 29 surgical strike on terror launch pads across LoC was the latest feat of daredevilry by the men from this elite force. But the government had refused to divulge the details of the operation in which 19 Para soldiers took part. It was only while bestowing medals to these bravehearts on the 68th Republic Day, the Army gave an account of the combat operation and the raw courage displayed by them in the citations of the gallantry awards, accessed by TOI. While scores of Army personnel might have been involved in the planning and execution of the cross-LoC operation, the 19 para soldiers were integral part of the surgical strike, the citations say. One Colonel, five Majors, two Captains, one Subedar, two Naib Subedars, three Havildars, one Lance Naik and four Paratroopers of the 4th and 9th battalions of the Para Regiment took part in the surgical strike.
- While Major Rohit Suri from the 4th Para was awarded a Kirti Chakra, Col Harpreet Sandhu, commanding officer of 4 Para, was honoured with a Yudh Seva Medal. The team also won four Shaurya Chakras and 13 Seva Medals. Colonel Harpreet Sandhu, who was tasked to undertake two simultaneous strikes on launch pads, was awarded a Yudh Seva Medal for formulating the strike plan and ensuring its execution flawlessly. The Army started planning to execute the surgical strike on the terror infrastructure in PoK soon after the Uri terror attack in J&K in which 17 soldiers were killed, but it was awaiting an 'amavasya' (moon-less) night to execute the operation. Finally on the intervening night of September 28-29, Major Rohit Suri, heading an eight-member strike team, was tasked to carry out strikes on the terror infrastructure.
- After carrying out a recce, Major Suri directed his team to engage the terrorists in the open at a launchpad. Suri and his buddy came within just 50m of the target and neutralised two terrorists. Once the terrorists in the open were killed, Major Suri noticed movement of two suspected jihadis in the nearby jungle. The movement of two terrorists was also being tracked with an UAV. Major Suri ignoring his safety intercepted the terrorists and engaged them in close fight, eliminating both of them. Another Major was tasked to undertake close-target surveillance of the launchpads on September 27. The officer, along with his assault group, crossed the LoC 48 hours prior to the strike and kept the target under close surveillance till the day of the strike. His team mapped the target zone, location of automatic weapons and different firing positions the strike team could use. The officer destroyed a weapon shelter, killing two terrorists. During the attack, his squad came under fire from a nearby weapon shelter.
- Sensing danger to his squad, the Major, who was honoured with Shaurya Chakra, crawled near the shelter and eliminated one more terrorist, silencing the gun fire. The third Major along with his buddy closed in on a terror shelter and destroyed it, killing all jihadis sleeping inside. Thereafter, he guided other members of the strike group to safety. Major, who too was awarded Shaurya Chakra, kept his superiors posted about the progress of the operation during the strike. The fourth Major was awarded a Sena medal for destroying an automatic weapon fortification with his grenade attack and killing two terrorists at close range. The surgical strike was not an easy operation. The strike team came under heavy fire from terrorists. The fifth Major spotted three terrorists carrying RPG (rocket-propelled grenades), who were about to target the squad led by the fourth Major. But before the terrorists could attack, the fifth Major, unmindful of his safety, engaged the terrorists in a gunfight and neutralised the two.
- His buddy eliminated the third terrorist. Not only officers, even JCOs and paratroopers showed exemplary courage. A Naib Subedar, who was awarded Shaurya Chakra, fired grenades at a terrorists' fortification, killing two terrorists and destroying the launch pad. When he saw a terrorist firing at his team, he pushed his buddy to safety and charged at the terrorist and eliminated him. Though no soldier was killed in the operation, a paratrooper, who was part of the surveillance team, suffered injuries during the operation. After spotting two terrorists who were moving dangerously towards a strike squad, the paratrooper chased them but accidentally stepped on a mine, which blew up his right foot. Unmindful of his injuries, the paratrooper engaged the terrorists and killed one of them.
Governor Purposely Delaying Swearing In, Alleges Sasikala
- CHENNAI : With governor C Vidyasagar Rao's visit to Chennai remaining uncertain even three days after she became leader of the legislature party, AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala alleged on Wednesday that her swearing-in as chief minister was being deliberately delayed by the governor. Ministers and MLAs who were to leave for New Delhi to seek President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention have been told to drop their plan at the eleventh hour after they were informed that the governor was scheduled to arrive in the city by noon on Thursday.
- However, party MPs have arrived in Delhi, apparently to attend the last day of the Parliament session. Hours after caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam made sensational allegations against Sasikala, the close-confidante of late CM Jayalalithaa, told mediapersons at her Poes Garden residence that she saw the DMK's hand in OPS's revolt. She paraded more than 120 MLAs at a legislature party meeting at the party headquarters on Thursday and said no one would be able to split the party. "Betrayals never win. It cannot win the AIADMK at all," she said, accusing Pannerselvam of aiding the DMK's plot. She said the caretaker CM was a liar for allegating that that "he was forced to resign" to pave the way for her to become CM. Even as senior ministers and MLAs dropped in at 10am, the scheduled time, Sasikala arrived in 90 minutes later.
- At that time, Panneerselvam was addressing the media at his Greenways Road residence. She sought to remind the MLAs that it was OPS who proposed her name as the legislature party leader. "He sat next to me and spoke. If he lied after 48 hours, what had happened in the meantime? Whom did he hold discussions with? As DMK's Duraimurugan spoke in the assembly (extending open support to OPS to complete his full term), was there any other means that were exchanged? Was he lured?" Sasikala asked" Interestingly, both Sasikala and other AIADMK leaders like Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai have exonerated the Centre from the charge of influencing OPS. They assert the plot was scripted by none other than Stalin and the DMK.
Don't Operate AIADMK Account Without My Written Consent, Panneerselvam Writes To Bank Of India
- CHENNAI : Caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam dealt another blow to AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala on Wednesday as he instructed the bank holding the party's funds to not operate the account without his consent. Panneerselvam has written a letter to the chief manager of Bank of India requesting the bank to "not let anyone else operate" the party's current account (No. 801220110000521) without his "written consent and instructions." Panneerselvam issued the letter in his capacity as the treasurer of the AIADMK.
- Sasikala had sacked Panneerselvam as treasurer on Tuesday following his revolt against the leadership. However, Panneerselvam cited rule 20 sub-clause 2 of the bylaws of the AIADMK and said that a general secretary has yet to be appointed in accordance to it. Since the demise of J Jayalalithaa, "...the post of general secretary of AIADMK remains vacant," he noted. "Under sub clause 5 of rule 20 of the by-laws, the party treasurer is allowed to hold office until a general secretary assumes office in accordance with sub clause 2," he said.
For Viswanathan Anand, Chess And Computers Are a Winning Pair
- CHENNAI : Chess has traditionally been a sport that is played as much on the board as it is in the mind. Over the years, the advent of machines (read computers) gave a fillip to this sport and five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand has been among the innumerable beneficiaries of this technological revolution. He may have commenced his chess sojourn in an era where computers hadn't made their way, but the 47-year-old feels technology has made his journey fruitful. "The computer doesn't just show you moves; it gives you confidence," said Anand, during an event organized by Chennai International Centre which saw him interact with International Master Saravanan.
- Tracing his early days, Anand recalled how chess magazines came to his rescue whenever he wanted to learn more about the sport. "Magazines would have diagrams of the chess board with different pieces on it. That is the easiest way to bring a chess game live. Those days we used to imagine the boards in front of us, analyse the game in our head and make moves," Anand reminisced. Anand's first brush with computers took place in the late 80s. With each passing year, he began to get more and more comfortable with it. From visualizing the moves in the mind to mastering them through the use of computers, Anand went with the flow. "At each stage I had to adapt. I remember playing a game using a floppy disk which had about 2000 games.
- You could just search for the games you wanted. For example, I could search how a particular player made his moves against his opponent in a specific tournament and so on. Computers helped me find what I wanted, which in turn helped me prepare (against that opponent) much faster," Anand said. Computers, according to Anand, have eased the level of uncertainty in chess. "The powerful computers that we have at present help in analyzing a player's next 10 moves. In the earlier days, you had to find those moves on your own," he said. From playing by using floppy disks to employing the latest computer available in the market, Anand has done it all.
- "Today's fastest machines will be the slowest in three years. One of my favourite jokes is that a strong computer will not tell you anything a weak computer does not tell you. A strong computer will simply give you the bad news faster," Anand quipped. The bigger question is - do machines kill a player's creativity? "I don't think the computer kills your creativity. On the contrary, it shows you a range of moves which you may not have thought of otherwise. What it kills is your ability to find thing by yourself. Most chess players today decide to correct their desire to work with a computer by sitting and solving problems on the chessboard because otherwise you will forget how to think for yourself," Anand said.