New Delhi: In a major retaliation for unprovoked firing, the Indian Army on Sunday launched attacks on terror camps situated inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir opposite the Tangdhar Sector. Army Chief Bipin Rawat said 6-10 Pakistani soldiers and a similar number of terrorists were killed. He added that reports of terrorist casualties are still coming in and the number would be "far more".
The Indian Army used artillery guns to target four terror launch pads in Neelam Valley (PoK) harbouring terrorists affiliated with outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. General Rawat said three camps were completely destroyed and the fourth has also suffered damage.
The army targeted the terror camps in Jura, Athmuqam and Kundalsahi among others in PoK using artillery guns, after credible inputs that a large number of terrorists were operating there.
The action comes at a sensitive time, a day before two states – Maharashtra and Haryana – go to polls and bypolls are held in several states. The attack was in retaliation to the ceasefire violation from Pakistan earlier on Sunday, during which one civilian and two soldiers were killed, and three other civilians injured.
Giving further details about the operation, the Army Chief said an attempt was made by Pakistan to infiltrate terrorists through Tangdhar sector on Saturday evening. “Before they could attempt the infiltration, it was decided that we target the terror camps. We had the coordinates of these camps. We have caused severe damage to terrorist infrastructure,” he said.
General Rawat said that of late, the Army had received information that terrorists are coming closer to camps in the forward areas. In last one month, we have seen repeated attempts from different sectors to infiltrate terrorists, he added.
An Indian Army official said Pakistani Army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violations to assist the infiltration by terrorists. "As a result calibrated escalation of area weapons was undertaken by the Indian side in which terrorist launch pads and several Pakistan Army posts giving incidental protection to these launch pads and certain gun positions were hit," the official said.
He said Indian Army retains the right to respond at a time and place of its choosing in case Pakistan Army continues to assist terrorist activities from across Indian borders.
The sources said the pounding of Pakistani positions and terror camps cannot in any way be compared to surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army in September 2016 on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
Pakistan military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor denied the Indian government claims and tweeted that Pakistan lost one soldier and three civilians in the skirmishes.
Terrorists backed by the camps were said to be trying to infiltrate into India as a response to the government's decision to scrap Article 370.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat over the situation in the Tangdhar sector. The Defence Minister is personally monitoring the situation and has asked the Army Chief to keep updating him, the sources added.
Pakistan has violated the ceasefire over 2,000 times along the LoC until September this year, killing and injuring scores of civilians and army men. India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to ask its forces to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire understanding and maintain peace and tranquillity along the LoC and the International Border.