New Delhi: A crack team of about 70 commandos from 21 Para of the Indian Army carried out the surgical strike inside Myanmar territory in the thick of the night that killed 38 insurgents belonging to NSCN(K) and KYKL militant groups on Wednesday.
The commandos, equipped with assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades and night vision goggles, were divided into two groups after they slithered down from Dhruv helicopters just inside the Indian territory near the border with Myanmar.
Once divided, the commandos of the Army's special forces headed for two camps being run by NSCN(K) and KYKL, believed to be responsible for the deadly ambush on June 4 which killed 18 soldiers and wounded 11 others.
The teams trekked through the thick jungles for at least five kilometers before they reached the training camps.
"Each of the two teams were further divided into two sub-groups. While one was responsible for the direct assault, the second formed an outer ring to prevent any of insurgents from running and escaping," security sources said.
The actual operation (hitting the camp and destroying it) took about 40 minutes. Not only did the commandos kill those present at the camps in gun fight, during which rocket launchers were also used, one of the camp was also set afire.
Sources said thermal imagery was also used to track the operation.
They maintained that the Myanmarese authorities were kept in the loop.
Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force were put on standby, ready to be pressed into service to evacuate the commandos in case anything went wrong.
"The operation was carried out based on specific and very accurate intelligence" and the operation was overseen by General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Dimapur-based 3 Corps Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, the sources said.
Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who had postponed his trip to UK for the operation, was coordinating from the Army headquarters.
The decision to go in for a hot pursuit was taken just hours after the ambush on June 4 in a meeting that was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Suhag and others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the final clearance and the operation was coordinated by Doval.
Sources said that the Army will undertake more such operations in the region if required.