Jammu: The Indian Army on Wednesday carried out a counter-strike on Pakistani border posts along the line of control (LoC), a day after three Indian soldiers were killed and the body of one of them mutilated, allegedly by Pakistani forces.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar had warned of “retaliation in the strongest possible manner”. The army’s counter-offensive started on Wednesday, even as Pakistani troops continued firing along the LoC in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Nowshera sectors.
Defence ministry spokesman Manish Mehta said Pakistani forces had committed numerous ceasefire violations since Wednesday morning in Poonch and Rajouri sectors. “They are using 120 mm mortars and automatics to target our positions, but our posts are responding strongly and giving a befitting reply,” he said.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper cited the country’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) as saying that India had resorted to unprovoked firing. It said, “Indian troops resumed heavy shelling on Wednesday after a day-long lull and targeted a passenger bus in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Lawat area, killing nine people and injuring 11 others. Indian troops also fired at an ambulance which went into the area for evacuation.”
The Indian government had no immediate response to the allegation.
The defence ministry in a late evening statement said Pakistan “requested” for an “unscheduled hot line interaction” between Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and the Pakistan DGMO.
“Pak DGMO informed of civilian casualties on Pak side by Indian firing along the Line of Control. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh expressed grief at Pak civilian casualties but emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated cease fire violations on Indian Posts. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh expressed his concerns to Pak DGMO on casualties caused to Indian civilians and soldiers due to unprovoked Pak firing,” it said in the statement.
“Indian DGMO further raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pak side into J&K and the un-ethical act of mutilation of the body of Indian soldiers close to the Line of Control by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan. Pak DGMO was exhorted to exercise strict control on their troops to refrain from any nefarious activities. This would lead to return of normalcy along Line of Control. However, he was categorically informed that if any cease fire violations were initiated by Pak troops or any infiltration attempts were made by terrorists from Pak Occupied Kashmir or territory under its control, it would invite an appropriate response by Indian Army,” the ministry of defence said
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup in a Twitter post said Wednesday India had summoned Pakistani deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah and “strongly” protested “continued ceasefire violations, resultant deaths of Indian soldiers and barbaric mutilation” of the bodies of one of the Indian soldiers killed on Tuesday.