The Indian Army’s strike across the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) on 28 September 2016 is top news in electronic and print media not only in India but across the world at large. That the strike was surgical, destroyed terrorist camps and caused a large number of casualties to terrorists, their handlers, guides and some Pakistani soldiers is a fact and no one can overlook it; except of course the Pakistani army and its government that continues to remain in denial.My intention is not to reiterate the details of the operation that are by now common knowledge, but I would like to use this opportunity to discuss the unique features of this operation, its likely outcomes and what is in store in the immediate future.Also Read: Live: Doval Briefs Modi; Kejriwal Salutes PM for Surgical StrikesCrossing the RubiconThe foremost uniqueness of this military operation is that the Indian Army physically crossed the Line of Control and struck at the terrorist camps and their launch pads for the very first time, ever since the proxy war was started by Pakistan in 1989. There have been tactical operations that were conducted in the vicinity of the LoC but these were at a rather small scale and were never spoken of openly.Yes, it has taken the nation 26 years to cross the Rubicon and that is the next significant feature of this operation. It is the emergence of ‘National Will’. It is not that the Indian Army was not prepared or not inclined to cross the LoC to target the terrorists, it was restraint of the highest order that the country and its political leaders chose to opt for. Today however, the national leadership under Prime Minister Modi has finally taken a supremely important step towards unilateral action against the terrorists in their camps that were under Pakistan Army’s protection.Strategic Move to Pre-Empt Terror AttacksThe heartening aspect is the consensus across the political spectrum in India. The third unique feature of this operation is that it has been launched to pre-empt the move of terrorists based on reliable and definite intelligence inputs. This pre-emption is an outright proactive step that was long overdue and is a welcome departure from a defensive and retaliatory attitude.Till now, the standard procedure adopted by our soldiers was an escalatory response depending on the actions undertaken by the terrorists or the Pakistani troops that violate the ceasefire on a regular basis. This is now set to change. Another aspect that assumes significance is the fact that the strike has taken place in PoK, which is ipso facto Indian territory. The terrorist camps are located across the unsettled Line of Control and not the established International Border.Also Read: Baramulla Attack: Terrorists Used Civilians as Shield to EscapeArmy Followed the ProtocolFor the uninitiated, it is necessary to note that the military option is only one of the many elements of national power and is normally exercised as a last resort. However, when put to use, it is applied with utmost wisdom. This strike was surgical in nature, which meant it was executed with precision, swiftness, competence, utter confidence and self-belief. There was no collateral damage, the timing was most suitable and surprise was complete.The targets selected were ideal from the point of view of proximity to the Line of Control, easy accessibility and were launch pads of terrorists of several tanzeems (groups) like the Laskhar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen and these were carefully reconnoitered.This operation is yet again an opportunity to applaud our army and our Special Forces for their professionalism and valour. For the pessimists who doubted the Indian Army’s capability and capacity, this is a stark reminder of the army’s competence and ability.One more highlight was the use of technology in its modern avatar, like the helmet-mounted cameras and the unmanned aerial vehicles. The icing on the cake was that the Indian DGMO talked to the Pakistan DGMO to inform him of the operation and conveying its unilateral closure. This is transparency and protocol at its best.Alarming Situation for Pakistan ArmyIt would be in the fitness of things to analyse what the outcomes of this action have been and are likely to be in days to come. The Pakistan Army and their government are certainly unsettled to say the least. Besides being in denial as was expected, their immediate reaction is to raise the state of alertness in Pakistan by both the terrorists and Pakistan’s army. They had so far lived and moved about with an air of confidence and belief that the Indian Army will never cross the LoC. That comfort level is lost forever.Having taken the advantage of surprise in this operation is going to be a forerunner for future events. For the Pakistan Army, this action is a game changer in that the rules followed by India have changed and they can now expect strikes at any time and place. The message is loud and clear. The other likely impact is that Pakistan cannot denude forces from its eastern border with India at will and use these forces in NWFP and Balochistan.Also Read: Surgical Strikes Should Follow Terror Acts by Pakistan in FutureSecurity Forces Need to be VigilantSo what can we expect in the immediate future? For one, retaliation by Pakistan in more ways than one is a distinct probability. It could be in the form of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control or escalating infiltration of terrorists into J&K or rest of India to initiate terrorist incidents and create violence.Civilians living along the line of control will obviously be unsettled and in a relative state of panic. However, what needs to be done is to raise our guard and be prepared for every eventuality. At the same time, our security forces must not neglect the counterterrorist operations in the hinterland of J&K and continue to assert our ascendancy by neutralising the terrorists.As was expected, there has already been an attack on a post of the Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla town in the Kashmir valley on 2 October, wherein one BSF soldier and two Rashtriya Rifles jawans have suffered casualties. To put it in perspective, this was a "stand-off" attack where some militants fired at a security post from a distance , struck at the soldiers as a normal tactic and sped away. That the security forces will have to be in a state of high alert is a no-brainer. Severe actions by terrorists including fidayeen attacks are definitely in the offing as a retaliatory planned by Pakistan.Government Will Support Quest for 'Hot Pursuit'The other significant fallout of this operation is that the Armed Forces can be confident that the government will support it fully in its quest for "hot pursuit" of terrorists across the line of control and uphold their plans for proactive operations whenever and wherever the situation demands. The Indian government deserves compliments for upholding the pride and dignity of the nation and to the Indian Army, we express our sincere gratitude and salute.(The author was the erstwhile 15 Corps Commander in Kashmir and Adjutant General, Indian Army. He can be reached at @MaiKyaJi. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)Also Read: China Playing the Brahmaputra Card Shouldn’t Surprise Us Anymore We'll get through this! 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