New Delhi, Jun 10: The surgical strike inside Myanmar was carried out by a crack team of about 70 commandos of the Indian Army who finished the operation within 40 minutes, leaving 38 Naga insurgents dead and seven injured yesterday.
The decision of "hot pursuit" was taken hours after the Naga militants killed 18 soldiers in an ambush in Chandel area of Manipur on June 4 and clearance was obtained from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of June 7, soon after his return from Bangladesh, said sources privy to the details.
The commandos of 21 Para, equipped with assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades and night vision goggles, were airdropped at around 3 AM yesterday from Dhruv helicopters, just inside the Indian territory near the border with Myanmar, security sources said.
Once on the ground, the contingent of the special forces split into two groups and headed for two camps being run by NSCN(K) and KYKL, who are believed to be responsible for the deadly ambush on June 4, they said. The teams trekked through the thick jungles for at least five kilometers before they reached the training camps.
"Each of the two teams were further divided into two sub-groups. While one was responsible for the direct assault, the second formed an outer ring to prevent any of insurgents from running and escaping," the sources said. The actual operation (hitting the camp and destroying it) took about 40 minutes.
Not only did the commandos kill those present at the camps in gun fight, during which rocket launchers were also used, one of the camp was also set afire. Sources, qouting ground reports, said 38 militants were killed and seven others were injured in the strike.
Thermal imagery was also used to track the operation about which Myanmarese authorities were kept in the loop, they said. Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force were put on standby, ready to be pressed into service to evacuate the commandos in case anything went wrong.