Targets, located up to 3km across LoC, hit and ‘heavy casualties’ inflicted; Pak army dismisses it as ‘heavy artillery’ fire that killed two of its soldiers
New Delhi: India said on Thursday it carried out “surgical strikes” along the Line of Control, inflicting heavy damage on seven “launchpads” militants were preparing to use to cross over into Kashmir.
Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, director general of military operations, said the army conducted the operation – the first official one across the LoC– based on specific intelligence and had informed Pakistani military about it.
“Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them,” Singh told a press conference.
“The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased.” Media reports quoting army sources said that seven launchpads” or temporary bases used by militants – located between 1km and 3km across the LoC — were targeted after a week of surveillance.
What is surgical strike
A surgical strike is a military operation undertaken by a force to move on the offensive, hit targets and installations, and return to primary positions, all with lightening speed and with the added precaution of suffering limited casualty. It is not messy and there is normally no collateral damage.
The operation began around midnight on Wednesday and ended around 4:30am on Thursday, reports said and added that paratroopers from the Udhampur-based Northern Command carried out the strike.
Islamabad denied the claim and said it would respond strongly were India to try a military raid on its soil.
The government of India was under pressure to respond to an attack on the army’s base in Uri on September 18, in which 18 soldiers were killed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the attack “would not go unpunished”, while the army had also said it would avenge the attack at a time and place of its choosing.
Singh said the decision to launch the strikes had been taken after the military determined the 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.”
Don’t mistake our intent for peace as weakness: Sharif
This is unprovoked and naked aggression by Indian forces. Our intent for peaceful neighbourhood should not be mistaken as our weakness as our valiant forces are fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of our country. Pakistan can thwart any evil design made to undermine the sovereignty of Pakistan.
“The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country,” he said.
But the Pakistani military rejected the idea that the strikes had been “surgical”.
“There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border firing initiated and conducted by India,” it said in a statement.
“As per rules of engagement same was strongly and befittingly responded by Pakistani troops.
“The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists’ bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects. This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross border fire as surgical strike is fabrication of truth.”
Hurriyat (M) says war no solution
Military aggression and war is no solution to any problem. It only worsens problems as the three previous wars between the two counties have shown. The conglomerate also criticizes the role of Indian electronic and print media for creating war hysteria and arousing passions among the people of the two countries. The two neighbours should de-escalate tensions and behave in a mature way.
In a statement from his office, Sharif “strongly condemned the unprovoked and naked aggression of Indian forces”.
“If India tries to do this again, we will respond forcefully,” Pakistan’s defense minister, Khawaja Asif, said in a statement. “India is doing this only to please their media and public.”
Much was unclear about the nature of the Indian operation.
But if India’s infantry or air force did cross the de facto border known as the Line of Control to attack Pakistani positions, it would have broken precedent: Even during the brief conflict in Kargil in 1999, India’s military did not declare that it had crossed the Line of Control, apparently wary that such a step would lead to a dangerous escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbours.