Then Army chief and Army Commander were present in the meeting during which Parrikar asked "what can we do now", Dua recalled

New Delhi: Former senior Army officials Tuesday recalled the legacy of Manohar Parrikar and how as a defence minister he had shown "great leadership" in giving a go-ahead for conducting the surgical strike in 2016 post the Uri attack by terrorists.

At a seminar here, former Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen (retd) Philip Campose and former General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua (Retd), Union minister V K Singh and Parrikar's son Utpal Parrikar also reminisced the qualities of the former Goa chief minister that earned him great admiration. Dua said hours after the Uri attack in 2016, Parrikar had landed in Kashmir and wanted to go the attack site.

"I insisted him (defence minister) that it was not possible as the firing had stopped but the fire was still raging and area was being sanitised...We later spoke in my office and in the ops room he was given a general briefing about the situation in the Kashmir Valley, Burhan Wani episode and the Uri incident," he said.

Then Army chief and Army Commander were present in the meeting during which Parrikar asked "what can we do now", Dua recalled.

"The Army chief told him about all possible repercussions if we did something...I told the minister -- 'I am the man on the ground, and we have bold, audacious plans'," he said.

In response Parrikar had just asked two quick questions -- on collateral damage and no casualty to human troops on India's side, Dua said.

He was told that there was no guarantee of that and then he just said one word 'barobar' (fine) "and I knew we had the approval to do something big", Dua said.

The former defence minister later called me to congratulate and just said 'congratulations' on what is today known as the surgical strike (of 2016).

"Such was the calibre of the man and his great leadership quality," Dua said.

India had conducted the surgical strike on September 29, 2016 across the Line of Control (LoC) as a response to a terrorist attack on an Indian Army base in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir earlier that month. Nineteen Indian soldiers died in the attack by Pakistan-backed terrorists.

Former Vice Chief of Army Campose also recalled the leadership qualities of Parrikar, who served as defence minister for about two-and-a-half years from 2014-2017, before taking the reins as Goa's chief minister.

Parrikar, who was suffering from pancreatic cancer, died in March this year.

"The day the Pathankot terror incident took place, I got a call from him (Parrikar). He was in Goa and asked me to meet him the next day when he was in Delhi. And our interaction resulted in him asking me to chair a task force of study group to examine what happened in Pathankot, but more importantly to review security of all defence installations," Campose said.

The seminar, titled 'New India: Modi 2.0 - India's Foreign Policy and National Security', organised by city-based think-tank Global Counter Terrorism Council (GCTC) in memory of Parrikar.

"His zeal for work and his simplicity is what earned him love and the reputation that he enjoyed. May Goa follow what he has left behind," Union minister Singh said.

"Our government has come on a type of majority that doesn't have a parallel. Ours is a government that has come on pro-incumbency and not anti-incumbency," he said.

Since the seminar talks about the future, he said, India had attained a "different stature" than it had five years ago.

"A foundation has been laid for a future that is more vibrant with better engagements with the world, a future in which foreign policies and national security polices will coalesce," he said.

Singh, who served as the minister of state for external affairs in the previous Modi government, said, "... and for a future in which India would prove to the world that it is a country that can remain peaceful and friendly and yet guard its own interests".

Modi 2.0, he said, is actually going to be something better, something that will not be predicated by certain cliches and thinking that exist.

"I think it is going to take India on a great leap forward...that will make India look totally different. That is what a 'New India' is going to be," Singh said.

"A new India that will be confident of itself, a new India in which all sections of society prosper, a new India which bonds better, a new India in which all underprivileged come up. A new India that is much more confident in playing a dominant part of its own in various spheres and fora of the world," he asserted.