06:13 GMT +322 September 2018
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    An Indian army soldier takes up a position near the site of a gunbattle between Indian army soldiers and rebels inside an army brigade headquarters near the border with Pakistan, known as the Line of Control (LoC), in Uri on September 18, 2016

    Indian Govt to Celebrate 2 Years of 'Surgical Strikes' on Pakistani Terror Camps

    © AFP 2018 / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA
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    By pitching the 2016 "surgical strike" carried out by the Indian Army on terror camps inside Pakistani territory as a major feat, the Indian government, facing elections early next year, is hoping to garner popular support by launching a nationwide promotional campaign across media platforms on September 29.

    The Indian government, currently ruled by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has planned a countrywide program to celebrate two years of "surgical strikes" conducted by the Indian Army on terrorist camps located inside Pakistani territory in 2016.

    As the BJP is seeking re-election next summer, it wants to cash in on national security issues like surgical strikes to skirt the opposition parties' allegations of corruption involving a Rafale fighter jet deal with France. Besides using government-funded machinery across the country to showcase its achievements, it also wants private news channels and private FM radio stations to promote the massive celebrations.

    READ MORE: Indian Air Force Claims It Can Strike Pak Nuke Sites at Any Given Time

    "Private news channels may be asked to position the commemoration as part of their programming in the news segment, discussions, interface with armed forces in the infotainment model, i.e., celebrities interacting with armed forces," a government document obtained by Sputnik reads.  

    The government has also tasked private radio stations to utilize their programming schedule to highlight the occasion on the air. A special anthem invoking patriotism is to be beamed via radio and television across the country.

    Meanwhile, the government's tall claims about having dismantled terrorist infrastructures along the border, official data suggest that the number of Indian security personnel losing their lives in counter-terrorist operations is actually rising. In 2018, until September 9, a total of 67 security personnel had been killed in Jammu and Kashmir. The figure was 83 for 2017.  

    READ MORE: Some 250 Islamic Militants Hiding in Kashmir to Avenge Indian Surgical Strikes

    Opposition parties have upped the ante by launching a fresh tirade against the Narendra Modi government for compromising national security while spending millions on publicity.

    "Modi had spent INR 35 lakh ($48,500) on his fitness videos, INR 60 crore ($8.3 million) monthly on updating his pictures on petrol pumps, INR 1100 crore ($152 million) on a sprawling BJP headquarters and INR 2000 crore ($278 million) on his foreign travels. Then why is the Modi government not providing adequate funds to the army?" Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a Congress Party spokesperson, said on Wednesday. 

    The allegations come amid media reports that the government has been considering curtailing the number of troops in the Indian Army by 150,000 to curb revenue expenditures.

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    Tags:
    publicity, surgical strike, terror group, patriotism, elections, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), Narendra Modi, India, Pakistan
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