The Indian Army, which prides itself on being a professional fighting force, has often been sucked into controversies by all the talk of surgical strikes, new and old. In a debate rekindled by the Congress claiming to have authorised six surgical strikes across the border in the days of the UPA, the Army finds itself in the same bind that it cannot respond to, even if it has all the requisite video and photographic evidence. It is in the fitness of things that the Army keeps itself beyond the pale of national politics, which could otherwise rope in just about anyone and anything that might help win a vote or two in a high-stakes, no-holds- barred general election. Having figured in a retaliatory strike after a hit on its camp in Kashmir in 2018, the Army has studiously maintained its official “no comment” reticence. Its professionalism has never been in question, nor should it be.
It came as a major surprise then that the same Indian Army got into a kerfuffle over the supposed sighting of footprints of the Yeti or the abominable snowman, a mythical creature that has held mankind in thrall despite being so elusive as to never have been really sighted, nor its image captured. Nepal’s denial of the Indian Army’s strange offering for scientific study established that the footprints could only have been that of a wild bear rather than that of the Yeti or Ashwathama of Mahabharat roaming the mountainous forests near Makalu in Nepal. The Army’s expedition seems to have been carried away by a sudden urge to claim a discovery of giant footprints that have stoked tales of a big and hairy semi-human creature said to be perennially roaming the forests. Bear with us, but the Indian Army has little need to ponder the existence of the Yeti.