“In the four decades of my career, I have faced a lot of tough situations, mostly in counter-terrorism. But the scale of what happened on that Sunday, 18 September 2016, was huge. Eighteen young lives lost. And it happened on my watch.”Lt GenSatish Dua (Retd)
Lt Gen Dua was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the area when Uri attack took place. Talking to The Quint, he said that he was anguished by the loss and that it was the last straw for an army that had suffered multiple attacks that year.
In this new book, India’s Bravehearts: Untold Stories From The Indian Army, published by Juggernaut, the officer mentioned in detail the events that transpired after the attack.
“When the defence minister arrived, I was struck by the simplicity of the man. But I had to say no to his wish to go to Uri. The operation was still in progress and it was not safe for the minister to be there,” he wrote in the book.
But the first the hope of a counterattack came during the defence minister’s visit. Soon Lt Gen Dua was asked to prepare for an operation across the border, which later came to be known as the surgical strikes.
“Whenever we plan an operation like this, the route in and route out would be different for operational reasons. So, there was a debate between two routes. Couple of them wanted a shorter route and others wanted the longer route. Then I remembered an operation where dogs barking in a village far away gave away the surprise. Thus, we decided to take a longer route while going in,” he said.
While the operation was on, the movement of the commandos was slow to maintain the surprise. “The movement of the boys had to be really slow for operational reasons. We were not there for some Hollywood movie, we had to make sure we crossed the Line of Control and go through their defences undetected, to the terror camps deeper inside,” he added.
Finally, he said that India’s decision to carry out a strike inside enemy territory and to claim ownership was a turning point in how the country dealt with terrorism.