According to the Press Trust of India copy, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, has clarified on the clamour and crisis over ‘covert operation’ on India’s surgical attack on terror camps inside Myanmar on June 9 in response to the terrorists attack on a convoy of Indian Army on June 4 morning that left 18 soldiers dead and many injured.
He said it was not a ‘covert operation’. He said, “Experts who discussed and made objections to it did not know the difference between overt and covert operation. It was purely a special operation of army in Indian uniform against militants.”
According to him, it was an overt operation carried out by the Indian Army in ‘army fatigues’. According him, it was a ‘special operation’ in the circumstances then and announced the new, tough approach of India to tackle insurgency.
So, what is a covert operation involving security force of a country (obviously, opposite to it would be minus -c, i.e., overt).
The US defines the covert action (operation) as, “According to National Security Act Sec. 503 (e), covert action is, “An activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly.” Proper covert actions are undertaken because policymakers—not the intelligence agencies—believe that secret means are the best way to achieve a desired end or a specific policy goal.”
It further categorizes it in propaganda, political/economic action, paramilitary operations and lethal action.
“Propaganda: Intelligence agencies covertly disseminate specific information to advance foreign policy goals. United States law prohibits, however, the use of intelligence agencies to influence domestic media and opinion.”
“Political/Economic Action: Intelligence agencies covertly influence the political or economic workings of a foreign nation.”
“Paramilitary Operations: Intelligence agencies covertly train and equip personnel to attack an adversary or to conduct intelligence operations. These operations normally do not involve the use of uniformed military personnel as combatants.”
“Lethal Action: During times of war or armed conflict, the U.S. may need to use covert lethal force against enemies who pose a threat. The U.S. formally banned the use of political assassinations in 1976.”
And it differentiates a ‘covert operation’ from an ‘overt operation’ as:
“One distinction between covert action and other overt activities, such as traditional diplomatic or military operations, is that U.S. officials could plausibly deny involvement in the activity. This “plausible deniability,” however, is predicated upon the covert action remaining secret.”
So, our MoS thinks on this line, a line taken by the world’s strongest military – from the United States of America.
Indian action in Myanmar on June 9 was a military operation carried by Army personnel in full ‘army fatigue’ and some in the ruling political establishment in India, including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Mr. Rathore, are taking claim of the operation from the beginning. And Mr. Rathore is right if we see ‘overt and covert operations’ as the National Security Act of the US defines.
Further, according to Wikipedia, that also quotes the US (the U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms), main elements of a ‘covert operation’ are ‘identity secrecy and plausible deniability. It says, “A covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is “an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.”
Wikipedia further elaborates, “It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfil their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation.”
So, that is in line with the stated policy of the government of India on ‘hot-pursuit’ in Myanmar even if some political opponents (and opponents) it could not be termed a ‘hot pursuit’ operation.
What is a ‘hot pursuit’ in ‘military terms’ then?
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/