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Army conducts surgical strikes on seven terror pads across LoC
Fabrication of truth by India, claims Islamabad
New Delhi: In a first, India carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Uri attack would not go unpunished.
Seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) were targeted by the Army on the intervening night of September 28 and 29 in a nearly five-hour-long operation during which heliborne and ground forces were deployed, Defence sources said on Thursday.
They said the launch pads in PoK were in the range of 2 to 3 km from the LoC and were under surveillance for over one week while Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the strikes targeted 5-6 places along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. Naidu said there was no casualty on the Indian side.
The announcement of the strikes that came 11 days after the attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on an Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir over which Modi had said the attackers will not go “unpunished” and that they will not be forgiven and the sacrifice of 18 jawans will not go in vain. The announcement was made by DGMO Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh.
After the Uri terror attack, the NDA government faced intense pressure for a strong response against Pakistan.
Unconfirmed reports said around 40 terrorists were present in the seven launch pads and they may have been killed. However, there was no official word on it.
“Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu & Kashmir and in various other metros in our country, the Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads,” Gen Singh told a news conference during which External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup was also present.
Pakistan, however, dismissed as “fabrication of truth” India’s claim that it has conducted a military operation across the LoC to target terrorist launching pads, terming it as a “quest” by India to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as surgical strike.
“There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon,” Pakistan army said in a statement in Islamabad.
Gen Singh said he had spoken to the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations and explained India’s concerns and also shared with him details of the operation.
Sources said heavy guns were used in the operation which was carried out by army’s para commandos. They said thermal imagers and high-masked lights were used during the operations to smash 7 terror launchpads.
Three divisions of the army were involved in the strikes and the launch pads which were close to the LoC were chosen after the intelligence reports suggested that militants had gathered for infiltrating into India, the sources said.
The four launch pads opposite to Kupwara were barely 300 metres from the LoC and the army troops destroyed it using heavy fire, the sources said, adding no helicopter was used to ferry the troops. The back up from Pakistani army for these launch pads attacked during the surgical strikes was at a distance and the terrorists present at these camps were taken by surprise, the sources added.
The announcement of the strikes by the army was made soon after Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
Modi informed President Pranab Mukherjee, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and former premier Manmohan Singh among others on the surgical strikes.
Political parties including the main opposition Congress set aside differences and backed the government while praising the Army action. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar briefed envoys of 25 countries including the P-5 powers.
Sharing details, Gen Singh said the operations were basically focused to ensure that the terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country.
“During these counter terrorist operations, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them.
“The operations aimed at neutralizing the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for continuation of further operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise,” he said.
“It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but we can certainly not allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack the citizens of our country.
“In line with Pakistan’s commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control for any terrorist activities against India, we expect the Pakistani army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region,” he added.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar congratulated the army on the successful operation. “Congratulations to the Indian Army for the successful operation,” he tweeted. (PTI)