Former DGMO Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia on Thursday asserted that surgical strikes were never carried out during the erstwhile UPA regime and last week's surgical strikes carried out by the army across the LoC were the first of its kind.
"We never carried out such strikes earlier. They were not strikes, but actions carried out at very, very local level. When you are firefighting you may go across the LoC a few meters, but then you cannot call them cross border strikes," Bhatia, who was the Director General of Military Operations from 2012 to 2014, told DD News.
Bhatia's comments come in the wake of Congress claiming that at least three surgical strikes were carried out between 2011 and 2014 under the party-led United Progressive Alliance regime.
"In the past our forces have successfully conducted such surgical strikes on numerous occasions, particularly on September 1, 2011, July 28, 2013 and January 14, 2014, giving a befitting reply to the enemy," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said on Tuesday.
Congress leader and former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram too had recently claimed that surgical strikes were carried out in 2013 during the UPA regime.
Bhatia said the September 29 early morning surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the LoC were "perfect", and displayed India's strong political will.
"The current strikes are a class apart, they are perfect. They are a well thought out action done at a national level, with strategic and tactical planning.
"They have yielded the desired results and more importantly, they have displayed India's strategic resolve and strong political will.
"This operation has displayed that India has a strategic resolve to safeguard its national interests in counter-terrorist domain," he said.
Expressing anguish over demands for proof of the military action, Bhatia said special military operations are never publicised.
"Give the credit that is due to the Indian army. There have been questions on whether the (current) DGMO's (Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh) claims of the strikes are correct or not. Please do not question the DGMO or hurt the Army. By doing this you are degrading your own army," said Bhatia.
"No army in the world ever publicises or propagates its tactics or the way it carried out operations, especially covert operations. No one should ask for evidence; that means you are doubting the credibility of your own army and the nation also.
"Special operations are never publicised, no army, no nation ever does that," added Gen. Bhatia.
A section of politicians have been demanding for release of videos of the surgical strikes to expose Pakistan's "false propaganda" on the cross border action by the Indian army.