The Indian Army on Tuesday described the killing and mutilation of two of its soldiers as “dastardly and inhuman” and told the Pakistan Army that the incident merited an “unequivocal” response.
The Indian side’s view was conveyed by director general of military operations Lt Gen AK Bhatt during a hotline conversation with his Pakistan counterpart. Bhatt’s message came a day after a Pakistani border action team sneaked 200 metres into Indian territory along the Line of Control and attacked a 10-member patrol party of Border Security Force troopers and army soldiers.
Such a “dastardly and inhuman act is beyond any norms of civility and merits unequivocal condemnation and response”, Bhatt was quoted as saying in an Indian Army statement.
Bhatt expressed grave concern about Monday’s incident in which “Pak troops targeted (an) Indian patrol on Indian side of the LoC” in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district and “mutilated bodies of two soldiers”.
The Indian Army conveyed its “concern about the presence of BAT training camps in close vicinity” of the LoC and said Pakistani post close to the spot provided covering fire to the raiders.
The Pakistani BAT beheaded head constable Prem Sagar of the BSF’s 200th Battalion and naib subedar Paramjeet Singh of 22 Sikh Regiment, causing widespread anger.
The Pakistani DGMO denied the mutilation of the bodies of Indian soldiers, and said there were no ceasefire violations and that Pakistanis troops had not crossed the LoC, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
The Pakistani DGMO also said the Pakistan Army is a “professional military outfit and upholds the highest standards of conduct”. He claimed the allegations of mutilation were “an Indian attempt to divert the attention of the world from the situation” in the Kashmir Valley.
The Pakistani general also said “any misadventure shall be appropriately responded at a place and time of own choosing”.
The DGMOs speak every Tuesday, a mechanism put in place to avoid escalation along the LoC.
The Indian Army’s statement echoed the views of the BSF. The cross-LoC attack was well planned and carried out by the BAT that had army regulars and terrorists, said Kamal Nayan Choubey, additional director general BSF’s Western Command.
Some reports claimed the patrol party walked into a trap and was ambushed.
“If there is a need to revisit the SOPs (standard operating procedure), the army will do it in tandem with the BSF,” Choubey said.
Pakistan troops targeted four posts in the sector on Monday morning and simultaneously launched a BAT attack on the Indian patrol, he said.
Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat, who arrived in Srinagar on Monday evening for a two-day visit, will meet top officials of his force and the defence ministry.
The attack came a day after Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited areas along the LoC opposite Krishna Ghati sector.
BATs are used by Pakistan for raids across the LoC. Pakistan’s elite Special Services Group forms the core of BATs but terrorists too are known to join them.