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Doubt : Difference between "Covert Operations" and "Surgical Strikes" ?

Besides the obvious difference between the two , namely keeping the covert operation covert , is there any other fundamental difference between the two ?
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Comments

  • Good question :)

    A covert operation is something that is done without an open declaration. This could be anything from espionage, to abduction of enemy to killing an enemy and destroying an enemy target.

    A surgical strike, is a much like a surgery, - you intrude into an exact enemy territory, you complete an operation ( which is not passive like espionage , but active like killing of enemy/ destroying targets etc ) without affecting the non target area.

    Like the killing of Osama, was a surgical strike, you penetrate through the border and kill and abduct the enemy, without warning anyone.

    This is unlike a war where you do ho halla, and may be stopped at the border itself.

    There can be a better explanation, but for once I am at loss of words.
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  • And surgical operations are always covert , unannounced and done in total secrecy and employ a very small but specialised force. A surgical operation does not occur along the border, but inside the enemy territory.
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  • edited September 2016
    In Covert operation, the identity of the body which has sponsored it is hidden. It aims at harming the country by any means. For example the October 1947 attack by Pakistan. It said that those were "tribesmen", Pakistan's officials/army wasn't involved.

    Whereas, A Surgical Strike is a military operation in enemy territory , disclosing the identity of the nation/body which has conducted it. Its more about precision. Precision in terms of target, economy etc. Ex- yesterday's surgical strike by India, where DGMO clearly stated that a surgical strike was conducted last night.
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  • edited September 2016
    Surgical strikes are part of a strategy called "cold start" doctrine.

    CSD gives an advantage of striking the specific targets without going for a full blown war. In case of India and Pakistan this will be important for avoiding a nuclear war between the two countries.

    It is widely claimed that India follows a cold start doctrine with respect to Pakistan though India has denied any such claims.

    Pakistan has equally criticized India's cold start doctrine for the assumption that there won't be a full blown war becuase of these surgical operations.
    I am not quiet, I am plotting.
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  • One thing more....
    Covert operations may be punitive or premptive ....surgical strikes are mostly punitive.
    Covert operations are a part of surgical strike preperations itself. A covert operation may or may not lead to a surgical strike.
    Also in a covert operation no care is taken whatsoever about collateral damage as it is unclaimed ...SS is just reverse of this.
    Lastly covert operations are low budget , low risk and slow benifit exercise
    SS is a flamboyant , high risk, high and immediate effect exercise. It has a detterence value. Meaning victims will be afraid of repeating provocatory action in future ...which lead to SS in ist place.
    Eg. What Pakistan is doing in J&k for last 20 years is covert operation.
    What we did last night is a SS based on a covert operation started after uri attack. :)
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  • Neyawn said:

    Good question :)

    A covert operation is something that is done without an open declaration. This could be anything from espionage, to abduction of enemy to killing an enemy and destroying an enemy target.

    A surgical strike, is a much like a surgery, - you intrude into an exact enemy territory, you complete an operation ( which is not passive like espionage , but active like killing of enemy/ destroying targets etc ) without affecting the non target area.

    Like the killing of Osama, was a surgical strike, you penetrate through the border and kill and abduct the enemy, without warning anyone.

    This is unlike a war where you do ho halla, and may be stopped at the border itself.

    There can be a better explanation, but for once I am at loss of words.

    Thanks a ton !! Much appreciated ! :)
    यतो धर्मस्ततो जयः
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  • In Covert operation, the identity of the body which has sponsored it is hidden. It aims at harming the country by any means. For example the October 1947 attack by Pakistan. It said that those were "tribesmen", Pakistan's officials/army wasn't involved.

    Whereas, A Surgical Strike is a military operation in enemy territory , disclosing the identity of the nation/body which has conducted it. Its more about precision. Precision in terms of target, economy etc. Ex- yesterday's surgical strike by India, where DGMO clearly stated that a surgical strike was conducted last night.

    Thanks !! :)
    यतो धर्मस्ततो जयः
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  • One thing that I don't understand .
    Why are the media channels calling it a strike into Pakistan , as far as I know this strike was conducted in pok not Pakistan , technically pok is a part of India , even Pakistan reffers it to aazad Kashmir and does not consider it as its territory , or am I missing something here
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  • And what is the difference between LoC and International Border?
    Patience and hard work are key to success.
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  • How were Indian armed forces able to enter pok as loc is guarded by Pak army
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  • And what is the difference between LoC and International Border?

    International boundary is legally reconginsed,LoC might not be.LoC is maintained as a control line by the two armies.
    I am not quiet, I am plotting.
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  • This thread proves that there are many well informed individuals on the forum. Nice and informative thread.
    The Lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
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  • Btw this is like comparing oranges and lemons.

    Covert operation is, as the name suggests, secret. No one knows about who did it, or why. There is built in deniability.

    Surgical strike, as the name suggests, is a precise operation on a limited target (like surgery of particular organ in which other organs are not disturbed). It's aim is to achieve the objective without much collateral damage.

    Indian operation yesterday was both covert and surgical. Then they revealed it for the sake of chest-thumping and now its is surgical not covert.

    Carpet bombing of London in WW2 by Germany was neither surgical nor covert.

    The Uri attack itself was both surgical and covert.

    The anti-Hannafi bombing of FATA and tribal areas of Pakistan and precision bombing in Yemen by US drones was surgical but not covert.

    If you have seen the movie Munich (Eric Bana) that operation 'Wrath of God' was covert but not surgical.
    The Lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
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  • edited September 2016

    Btw this is like comparing oranges and lemons.

    Covert operation is, as the name suggests, secret. No one knows about who did it, or why. There is built in deniability.

    Surgical strike, as the name suggests, is a precise operation on a limited target (like surgery of particular organ in which other organs are not disturbed). It's aim is to achieve the objective without much collateral damage.

    Indian operation yesterday was both covert and surgical. Then they revealed it for the sake of chest-thumping and now its is surgical not covert.

    Carpet bombing of London in WW2 by Germany was neither surgical nor covert.

    The Uri attack itself was both surgical and covert.

    The anti-Hannafi bombing of FATA and tribal areas of Pakistan and precision bombing in Yemen by US drones was surgical but not covert.

    If you have seen the movie Munich (Eric Bana) that operation 'Wrath of God' was covert but not surgical.

    What you have to say about Operation Entebbe.

    Any similar operation done by Indian Army?

    Operation bluestar might be, unfortunately in-house, not for the external enemy.
    I am not quiet, I am plotting.
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  • donga123 said:

    Btw this is like comparing oranges and lemons.

    Covert operation is, as the name suggests, secret. No one knows about who did it, or why. There is built in deniability.

    Surgical strike, as the name suggests, is a precise operation on a limited target (like surgery of particular organ in which other organs are not disturbed). It's aim is to achieve the objective without much collateral damage.

    Indian operation yesterday was both covert and surgical. Then they revealed it for the sake of chest-thumping and now its is surgical not covert.

    Carpet bombing of London in WW2 by Germany was neither surgical nor covert.

    The Uri attack itself was both surgical and covert.

    The anti-Hannafi bombing of FATA and tribal areas of Pakistan and precision bombing in Yemen by US drones was surgical but not covert.

    If you have seen the movie Munich (Eric Bana) that operation 'Wrath of God' was covert but not surgical.

    What you have to say about Operation Entebbe.

    Any similar operation done by Indian Army?

    Operation bluestar might be, unfortunately in-house, not for the external enemy.
    No idea about Entebee (apart from what I just googled :wink: )
    I think 26/11 NSG operation Black Tornado could be termed similar.
    The Lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
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  • donga123 said:

    Surgical strikes are part of a strategy called "cold start" doctrine.

    CSD gives an advantage of striking the specific targets without going for a full blown war. In case of India and Pakistan this will be important for avoiding a nuclear war between the two countries.

    It is widely claimed that India follows a cold start doctrine with respect to Pakistan though India has denied any such claims.

    Pakistan has equally criticized India's cold start doctrine for the assumption that there won't be a full blown war becuase of these surgical operations.

    No,Surgical strikes are not part of the so-called 'Cold Start' doctrine.These are vastly different terms.The so-called media(and Pak)-hyped Cold-Start doctrine (a modified doctrine from the original 'Sundarji plan' of the 1980's) envisages rapid mobilization and advance of the two strike corps (1 Corps-Mathura,2 Corps-Ambala) with 'holding corps' (10,11,12,21 Corps and more independent brigades) preventing and 'holding' Pak advances.This doctrine is supposedly envisaged only for plain/desert operation and as such utilizes rapid mechanized/armoured thrusts along specific sectors in Pb/Rj only. Rest assured this 'doctrine' is not an envisaged solution for Paki aggression. There are many 'doctrines',plans and ORBATS that are constantly reviewed,renewed and improved/modified/changed according to the prevailing circumstances.

    As regards,surgical strikes, enough info has been provided by many members here.But a difference I would like to add here is that a 'Surgical operation' need not necessarily take place across one's border. The term applies to ANY military operation with a specified set of characteristics.
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  • Suparv said:

    donga123 said:

    Surgical strikes are part of a strategy called "cold start" doctrine.

    CSD gives an advantage of striking the specific targets without going for a full blown war. In case of India and Pakistan this will be important for avoiding a nuclear war between the two countries.

    It is widely claimed that India follows a cold start doctrine with respect to Pakistan though India has denied any such claims.

    Pakistan has equally criticized India's cold start doctrine for the assumption that there won't be a full blown war becuase of these surgical operations.

    No,Surgical strikes are not part of the so-called 'Cold Start' doctrine.These are vastly different terms.The so-called media(and Pak)-hyped Cold-Start doctrine (a modified doctrine from the original 'Sundarji plan' of the 1980's) envisages rapid mobilization and advance of the two strike corps (1 Corps-Mathura,2 Corps-Ambala) with 'holding corps' (10,11,12,21 Corps and more independent brigades) preventing and 'holding' Pak advances.This doctrine is supposedly envisaged only for plain/desert operation and as such utilizes rapid mechanized/armoured thrusts along specific sectors in Pb/Rj only. Rest assured this 'doctrine' is not an envisaged solution for Paki aggression. There are many 'doctrines',plans and ORBATS that are constantly reviewed,renewed and improved/modified/changed according to the prevailing circumstances.

    As regards,surgical strikes, enough info has been provided by many members here.But a difference I would like to add here is that a 'Surgical operation' need not necessarily take place across one's border. The term applies to ANY military operation with a specified set of characteristics.
    You are right Sir.

    I should have used word in the enemy territory instead of border.

    For example, an operation by CPF in the middle off naxalite area ( well within our borders) with the purpose of abducting or killing a top commander would be called a surgical strike.

    Currently Answering Questions on ForumIAS | Do not call me Sir, I am no Knight |
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  • What is the role of DGMO vis-à-vis Chief of the Army Staff (COAS)?

    Why shouldn't the COAS do the press briefing?
    I am not quiet, I am plotting.
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  • Nice , Have idea on Surgical strikes . Now learnt here abt covert operations ... Helpful discussion guys !
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