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‘Of 4 MI-17 copters in strikes, 2 landed in PoK’

Published : Oct 3, 2016, 1:16 am IST
Updated : Oct 3, 2016, 1:16 am IST

Special Forces commandos had used four MI-17 IV helicopters in the surgical strikes launched against terror havens on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) in the intervening night between Wedne

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Special Forces commandos had used four MI-17 IV helicopters in the surgical strikes launched against terror havens on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) in the intervening night between Wednesday and Thursday, sources said.

“Four MI-17 version IV were used to ferry about 60 Special Forces fighters for the precision strikes. Two choppers landed not very far from the targets — makeshift structures housing militants waiting to cross over to India at the slightest opportunity — dropping about 30 special forces commandos who went about their task in a blitz. Many of the targets were in deep sleep when the attack happened,” a source familiar with the developments told this newspaper.

“On the other hand, another two choppers dropped the specialised troops on the Indian side of the LoC. These troops proceeded silently towards their targets on foot.”

The Russian-made twin-engined MI-17 IV variant, which was commissioned into IAF service in 2009, is a medium-lift military transport helicopter that had been weaponised with 57 mm rocket pods for attack capability.

These two teams were only a part of the attacks at seven locations by crack commando teams of 4 Para and 9 Para that targeted places around Tattapani, Kel, Bhimber and the Lepa Valley in PoK near the LoC. Acting on specific intelligence reports on the presence of militants in these launching pads, careful surveillance by UAVs was mounted for days before going in to deliver the final blow.

As the other commando teams moved across the LoC on foot, “Ghataks”, or the commando platoon teams of the infantry battalions from the Bihar and Dogra Regiments, opened fire on Pakistani border posts. “After overwhelming the border posts, the Ghataks rushed in to the other side of the LoC with their guns blazing. There was at least one instance of hand-to-hand combat,” the source added. India’s surgical strikes took place after an attack by four militants inside the Uri Army base in Kashmir on September 18 resulted in the death of 19 soldiers, including two who died later at a hospital. The militants had crossed the LoC from the Pakistan side. India’s surgical strikes on September 28 saw near-perfect coordination between the Special Forces, the Bihar and Dogra Regiments and the Indian Air Force, as well as other security and intelligence agencies.

The strikes resulted in “significant” casualties to militants, with an unknown numbers of Pakistani soldiers also believed to have perished. The Pakistan government had admitted to the death of two of its soldiers.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi