by John Galt
September 29, 2016 04:50 ET
Overnight, the Indian military crossed the Line of Control which divides India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region to destroy terrorist bases from where attacks originated which killed 19 Indian soldiers earlier this week. The full story from the Hindustan Times of India:
The Indian Army said on Thursday that it has carried out surgical strikes and inflicted significant casualties on terrorists and those supporting them across the Line of Control, considered the de facto border with Pakistan.
Lt General Ranbir Singh, the director general of military operations, said the army conducted the operation — first of its kind across the Pakistani border during peace time — based on specific intelligence.
He said the army targeted the launchpads where terrorists had gathered before infiltrating into the Indian soil to carry out attacks in major Indian cities and Jammu and Kashmir, which has been gripped by protests after the killing of a militant leader in July.
Army sources said seven launchpads — their depth ranging from 1km to 2km — were targeted after a week of surveillance. The operation began around midnight on Wednesday and ended around 4:30am on Thursday, sources said.
Paratroopers from the Udhampur-based Northern Command carried out the strike, the sources said. The commandos were airdropped at the LoC, from where they crossed over to the Pakistani side.
But Islamabad denied that Indian forces carried out “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control and described it as “cross-border fire”.
India’s official announcement came just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to review the situation along the LoC in the aftermath of an attack on an army camp in northern Kashmir’s Uri earlier this month.
India has blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for the brazen assault the killed 18 soldiers, but Islamabad has denied the allegations. New Delhi has also moved to diplomatically isolate Pakistan in the international community even as the ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours hit a new low.
In Thursday’s press conference, Lt Gen Singh said India did not have any plan to continue with such strikes, but reminded Pakistan that the Indian Army was always ready to combat any emergency.
He also said he had discussed the operation with the Pakistan military and expect them to cooperate to eliminate terrorism.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and governor, the President and the vice-president were briefed about the attack.
In addition to the attacks inside of Pakistani controlled territory, another firefight erupted near Poonch where 2 Pakistani soldiers were killed:
Two Pakistani soldiers were reported killed, as Indian forces retaliated to “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani troops at two different areas along the Line of Control in Poonch district through Wednesday night.
The guns fell silent around 8 am on Thursday morning.
“There was a ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Balnoi sector in Poonch (250 km northwest of Jammu), a defence source said. “The firing started around 2.30 am on Thursday. The Army returned the fire.”
Officially, the Northern Command is tight-lipped on the matter.
The two truce violations by Pakistan led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a Cabinet Committee on Security meeting on Thursday, and review the situation. On its part, the BSF stepped up security all along the 198-km international border.
The Indian army has, in a bid to prevent possible infiltration by Pak ultras in the cover of fire from the Pakistani side, cordoned the entire area. A search operation has been launched, sources added.
The news rattled the Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) which promptly sold off after the announcement of hostilities inside Pakistan:
Stay tuned gang as this region is one of the major flashpoints in the world and this intensification of the conflict is beyond the normal cross border artillery and small arms fire exchanges which occur on an almost weekly basis.