Northern Army commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh on Monday termed the IAF's Balakot airstrike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan as a "major achievement".
He also confirmed that the first surgical strike was carried out by India in September 2016 while quoting an RTI reply by Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and the Indian Army.
"The action by the Indian Air Force on the February 26 for carrying out air strikes on Balakot terrorist infrastructure was indeed laudable," Lt Gen Singh told reporters here.
"It was a major achievement wherein our aircraft went deep into enemy territory and struck terror launchpads and camps," he added.
Lt Gen Singh said the Pakistanis carried out their air operations very close to the Line of Control the following day but were given a "befitting reply".
"I wish to assure you, the Indian armed forces have the capability, the resolve and operational plans absolutely geared up to take on any challenge from Pakistan whenever it arises," he added.
Asked if India conducted any surgical strike before September 2016, Lt Gen Singh replied in the negative.
Citing an RTI reply by Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Indian Army, Singh said, "A few days ago DGMO said in a reply to an RTI that the first surgical strike happened in Sep 2016, I don't want to go into what political parties say as they'll be given an answer by government. What I told you is a statement of fact."
Some Congress leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claimed that several surgical strikes were conducted by the army during the previous UPA rule.