New Delhi, Sept 29: Top defence experts today termed the 'surgical strikes' on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in PoK as an "operational necessity" and said those were necessitated as the "levels of tolerance" were crossed.
Former top guns of the military lauded the bravery and calibrated approach of the Indian security forces as also the government for allowing the military to carry out the task and said "a long pending debt has been paid back today".
They justified the strikes, saying the forces had entered into Indian territory occupied by Pakistan.
"I am very pleased that the government is letting the Army do what it needs to do. Let Pakistani military know that this is what we have done and we will continue to do it (if) they do not behave themselves. We need a big heart for doing this.
"We have to congratulate the intelligence sources for providing accurate information on whereabouts of militants. We need to compliment the government for giving a free hand to the military. So, obviously, government had given a clean action chit to the military who launched a surgical strike with good dividend," former DG Infantry Lt Gen S Prasad said.
Noting that the forces adopted a "very calibrated approach" in their strikes, he said this is how the Indian government should react by leaving the military to do the job.
Former RAW chief C D Sahay said the strikes had to happen and were "inescapable", contending these should not be related to the Pathankot or Uri attacks as there has been a long history of trans-border infiltration.
He lauded India for dealing with such matters with a mature approach while maintaining calm.
"The red lines have (been) crossed. The levels of tolerance have (been) crossed and this had to happen. I would congratulate them, but I would still urge (India) not to go gung-ho about it. It was an operational necessity. It was a security necessity. It had to be done. I would urge everyone to move on from here and not escalate (tensions) further," he said.
India carried out 'surgical strikes' on terror launch pads across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir last night, inflicting "significant casualties" on terrorists and those harbouring them.
The announcement of the sudden action by the army was made today by DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, 11 days after a terror strike by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on an Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir which left 18 soldiers dead.
After the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the attackers will not go "unpunished" and that the sacrifice of 18 jawans will not go in vain.
Maj Gen G D Bakshi, who was involved in counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and has been a former DGMO, said it is a "long-pending debt" that has been paid back by the special forces in a precise operation.
Read more: Surgical Strike - How the drama unfolded
He said the forces kept these people under surveillance over the last week and identified and destroyed five launch pads used by terrorists for infiltration into the Indian side.
"It is a long pending debt that has been paid back today. They were kept under surveillance and when these launch pads were filled with terrorists for a crossover, our special forces were inserted very neatly, precisely and created mayhem there. They destroyed those camps and launch pads, causing substantial casualties," Bakshi said.
Air Marshal P S Ahluwalia, former C-in-C of Western Command said India first carried out a diplomatic offensive, then economic and finally the military one "to show that we have the tactical strength at least in carrying out these kinds of surgical military operations".
He said Pakistan would be in "denial mode" as it will not accept the 'surgical strikes' and will keep calling it artillery fire and infiltration, but called for more vigilance as Islamabad will retaliate.
"I'm sure we are prepared," Ahluwalia said, adding "there is no doubt that neither Pakistan nor India wants to escalate this and carry out a war".
Former Air Marshal P K Barbora congratulated the forces for carrying out the operation at an "appropriate time" and without rushing it through. He said there is cooperation and tie-up between the Army, Navy and Air Force so that we are prepared in case Pakistan wants to escalate the situation.
"We are quite ready. Now it is upto them. Plans exist to cater to any kind of escalation," he said.
Former Navy official Commodore G J Singh justified the strike, saying Indian forces entered into Indian territory occupied by Pakistan and said the neighbouring country understands only such military pressure.
"We have entered in our integral part of India. PoK is part of India. If we have gone in there, it is a step in the right direction," he said.
Hitting out at Pakistan, Singh said, "The essence of Pakistan is altogether different. They don't any longer understand as their mindset is different. The only language they understand is when we apply military pressure."