India Hits "Terror Launch Pads" Across LoC, Pakistan Denies But Admits Casualties
NEW DELHI: India has carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control on what the Indian Army has described as “terror launch pads”. "Significant casualties have been caused in these strikes," Director General Military Operations, Lt General Ranbir Singh said. He added,"the operation has now ended."
Pakistan has denied this maintaining “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 Pakistan the military’s media wing ISPR said in a statement, “as per rules of engagement same was strongly and befittingly responded by Pakistani troops.”
General Ranbir Singh said he has spoken to his Pakistan counterpart and informed him of the strikes that were carried out last night. He went on to say that he hoped now for Pakistan’s cooperation in tackling the menace of terrorism.
A few days ago an online portal had reported similar such strikes by the military across the LoC, that were denied by the Indian Army.
"The strikes targeted the terrorists and those backing them," the DGMO said."Despite our persistent appeals to Pakistan to not allow territory under its control to be used for terrorist activities, nothing was done," he added.
Thursday morning, DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said surgical strikes were conducted by the Indian army on "terror launch pads along the LoC." “Some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launchpads along the Line of Control,” the General said, adding that “the Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launchpads.Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them.” “The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased,” Gen Singh said adding that the decision to launch the strikes had been taken after the military determined that launchpads had been set up with “an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and various other metros in our country.”
While the Indian army has given few details about the strikes, reports in the media state that the strike conducted lasted four hours and seven terror camps were destroyed. ANI news agency adds that villages in Punjab which are 10 km from border with Pakistan, are being evacuated. Sources reportedly told ANI that additional BSF troops move in.
The Indian government has called an all party meet at 4 PM following the DGMOs announcement that strikes were conducted. The opposition seems to be in support of India’s military response.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that at least two Pakistan Army soldiers were killed as Indian troops fired across the Line of Control. Pakistan has dismissed the Indian claim of 'surgical strikes’ while confirming the death of its soldiers, with ISPR releasing a statement soon after the DGMO’s press conference. "There had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is [an] existential phenomenon," the statement says.
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.
The Pakistani military statement dismissed that ‘surgical strikes’ had been conducted against terror bases by India, saying "The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects," the military statement said. "This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross border fire as surgical strike is fabrication of truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, same will be strongly responded."
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif responded to the developments, saying that he “strongly condemned the unprovoked and naked aggression of Indian forces resulting in martyrdom of two Pakistan soldiers along LoC.” “We are ready for the safety and defence of our country,” Sharif said, adding that “our desire for peace should not be interpreted as our weakness”.
Tensions between India and Pakistan simmer following an attack on an army base in Uri that killed 18 soldiers, with India blaming Pakistan for the attack. Since then, the two sides have exchanged fire across the LOC, with the latest reports noting that Pakistani troops targeted Indian positions with small firearms along the LOC in Poonch district on Wednesday.