India’s retaliation against “cowardly attacks” from across the border was so strong that Pakistan’s army pleaded with the neighbour to halt its response, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
Addressing a rally in poll-bound Goa, Parrikar also praised the country’s “political leadership” for taking a strong policy decision on Pakistan.
Parrikar’s remarks came three days after the killing of three Indian soldiers -- and the mutilation of the body of one of them --- by suspected militants near the Line of Control, the de-facto border.
Hours after the Indian Army pledged to exact a “heavy” retribution, Pakistani authorities said on Wednesday that 11 civilians and three soldiers were killed in shelling by Indian forces. In the evening, the Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries held an “unscheduled hotline interaction” at Pakistan’s request.
“There is no doubt that the army is gallant. But for the first time, the country’s political leadership took a strong policy decision. And after that too, we have given an appropriate response to other cowardly attacks.
“It was such a powerful response that some days back, finally they called us that ‘please stop this, we are pleading with you’. We said that we have no problem stopping it, but you stop it too. As a result, there is no firing on the border,” Parrikar said in Panaji.
Ties between New Delhi and Islamabad have hit a low in the aftermath of an attack on an Indian Army base in northern Kashmir’s Uri that killed 19 soldiers in September. New Delhi blamed the brazen assault on Pakistan-based militants, a charge Islamabad promptly denied.
The Indian Army also said it carried out surgical strikes on militant bases across the LoC in response to the Uri attack. Since then, repeated ceasefire violations at the border and civilian deaths on both sides have added to the tension.