India conducted surgical strikes last night along the LoC to safeguard our nation, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday. “Significant casualties have been caused to terrorists and those trying to shield them. We don’t have a plan to further conduct such strikes. India has spoken to Pakistan,” DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said.
“… Now, based on very specific and credible information we received yesterday, that some terrorist teams had positioned themeselves at launch pads along the LoC with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in J&K and various other metros in our country. There were launch pads at the LoC where terrorists were present waiting to infiltrate the nation and attack areas in Kashmir and metros across the country,” the DGMO said. No Indian casualties occurred during the surgical strikes that were carried out last night by the Indian Army.
India claims this as its territory given that it says all of Kashmir is part of India.
Launching strikes in this area, therefore, is not the same as launching a strike on Lahore or other parts of main land Pakistan.
According to retired Major General Gagandeep Bakshi, the Indian action serves as a warning for Pakistan. “It is a focused, precise and just response to the attack which led to the death of 18 of our soldiers. This is a message to the world that India cannot be taken for granted.Pakistan has been destabilising peace in the region and this was long over-due,” he said.
Commenting on how Pakistan would react to this, he said, “They can either use their special forces for tit-for-tat operations or they can activate the Line of Control. Whatever they do they will be given a hot reaction by India.”
In his briefing, DGMO Singh said he had contacted the Pakistani director general of military operations with the details of the Indian strikes.
The Indian army action follows terrorist attacks on Poonch and Uri in Kashmir on the 11 and 18 of September, Singh said.
Singh’s briefing followed a cabinet committee on security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The army action is expected to boost Modi’s image domestically given that he was under tremendous pressure to be seen as taking action following the 18 September terrorist attack on the Indian army garrison in Uri.
The attack killed 18 army soldiers. Immediately in the wake of the Uri attack, Modi had promised that the guilty would not go unpunished.
A Pakistan army statement contradicted the Indian army statement saying : “There has been no surgical strike by India,instead there had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon.”
“ The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects,” the statement said dismissing the Indian statement of surgical strike as a “rebranding (of) cross border fire.
Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s response was sharper than the Pakistan army.
“We condemn this attack, our desire for peace should not be interpreted as our weakness,” Sharif was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.
Early Thursday morning, there were reports of cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops in the Nowgam sector of the LoC that runs through Kashmir.
“Pakistan troops fired at Indian posts in Nowgam sector of North Kashmir at midnight. They also fired mortars. Army at the LoC (line of control) fired back and intermittent firing is going on,” the army officer said on condition of anonymity, according to a Reuters report. No Indian casualties were reported but two Pakistani soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian forces on Thursday, the Pakistani army said, according to the Reuters report.
At home, the Modi government briefed the President, Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition prime minister Manmohan Singh, the governor of Jammu and Kashmir N N Vora and the chief minister of Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti.
On the diplomatic front, India seems to have kept key countries like the US informed about its military operation.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, in a statement issued has said: At least two Army men were killed as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire over the Line of Control in “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”. The exchange of fire began at 2:30am, ISPR said, and continued till 8:00am. “Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing on the LoC in Bhimber, Hotspring Kel and Lipa sectors,” the statement said.
India had repeatedly warned Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist activities. Besides, India had called for an international diplomatic boycott of Pakistan as it shielded terrorists on its land. At the United Nations General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Pakistan was a terror state and it need to rein in terror elements.
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control. Also present at the meeting were Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval, and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
Three ceasefire violations by Pakistan were reported along the LoC in the last 24 hours.
Prime Minister Modi was also scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan, but that meeting has now been rescheduled for next week.
India had also summoned Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit and handed over evidence that proved the terrorists that attacked an army base in Uri and left 19 jawans dead, did come in from across the Line of Control.
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