Manohar Parrikar
Manohar ParrikarReuters

Manohar Parrikar, former defence minister of India, said on Saturday that an "insulting" question by a television anchor to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore following the anti- insurgency operation along the Myanmar border in 2015 prompted him to plan the surgical strikes that were carried out by the Indian Army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 2016.

Eighteen jawans were killed when the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K) ambushed a convoy of the Indian Army in the Chandel district of Manipur on June 4, 2015.

Parrikar, who is currently the chief minister of Goa, made the statement while speaking to industrialists in the state on Saturday. He said: "I felt insulted....A small terrorist organisation of 200 people killing 18 Dogra soldiers was an insult to the Indian Army and we sat in the afternoon and sat in the evening and worked out the (plan of) first surgical strike which was conducted on 8 June morning in which about 70-80 terrorists were killed (along the India-Myanmar border)."

Adding that "it was a very successful strike," Parrikar said that the only injury to the Indian side was a leech attaching itself to a jawan's leg. He also said that no helicopters were used contrary to some reports which stated otherwise. "I had placed helicopters (on standby) only in case of emergency evacuation," the Goa CM said.

However, Parrikar said that the planning for the surgical strikes, which were carried out by the Indian troops across the border in 2016, began after a television anchor asked Rathore an "insulting question".

Parrikar said: "One question (from media) hurt me. (Union minister) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, an ex-army man, was on TV and he was explaining about all kinds of search operations. An anchor asked him 'would you have the courage and capability of doing the same on the western front'."

He added: "I listened very intensely but decided to answer when the time came. The starting of September 29 (2016) surgical strike on the western border was 9th of June, 2015....We planned 15 months in advance. Additional troops were trained. Equipment was procured on a priority basis."

The Goa CM also revealed that the DRDO developed Swathi Weapon Locating Radar was first used in September 2016 to "firing units" of the Pakistan Army even though the system was officially inducted only three months later. He added that 40  firing units of the Pakistan Army were destroyed thanks to the Swathi Weapon Locating Radar.