Surgical strikes are feasible militarily, says Army chief

Clarifies that there is no confusion about ‘nuclear command’

Against the back drop of much-debated option of surgical strikes against terror infrastructure in Pakistan postMumbai terror attack, Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor has said that such strikes are "very much feasible" militarily.

"Surgical strikes are definitely feasible but whether you wish to take that decision or not is a separate issue," he said when asked whether such strikes were feasible. "Definitely yes. Whether you would like to look at doing it (carrying out such strikes) by air or artillery or by another means or physically there," he said in reply to questions.

Asked if the armed forces were ready for such strikes if the political leadership had given the go-ahead, Kapoor said, "We are an army which has been involved in operations in Kashmir and Northern Command on a perpetual basis and on an on-going basis. There fore, the question of not being ready is frankly not relevant. And we would have been fully ready to do our task."

During the wide-ranging interview, the army chief also sought to dispel the impression that there was no clarity about the nuclear command when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was hospitalised for heart surgery last month.

Kapoor said "Yes I can say that as far as we are concerned such things keep coming up in the media at times and normally you find the prime minister does not talk about it. But as far as we were concerned, there was a lot of clarity. There was no confusion." Asked if there was no confusion and whether they were clear about who controlled the nuclear button, he said "Yes, there was no confusion at all."

Asked about apprehensions in the West of a conflict-like situation emerging in the wake of Mumbai terror attack, the army chief said over the past few weeks there seemed to have been a gradual acceptance of reality of involvement of outfits based on Pakistani soil in the Mumbai attack amongst the Pakistani establishment.

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