In cross-border raid, Indian Army kills 3 Pakistani soldiers, Islamabad summons envoy

Indian Army commandos went across the Line of Control on Monday evening and killed three Pakistani soldiers in the cross-border raid, two days after four Indian soldiers were killed in firing by forces of the neighbouring country.
An Indian Army jawan patrolling at the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.(PTI Photo)
An Indian Army jawan patrolling at the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Dec 26, 2017 09:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Jammu/New Delhi | ByRavi Krishnan Khajuria and Rahul Singh

Commandos of the Indian Army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) on Monday night and killed at least three Pakistani soldiers in a “tactical retaliatory strike”, government sources said on Tuesday, amid heightened military and diplomatic tension between the two neighbours.

The attack was carried out two days after four Indian Army personnel, including a Major, were killed by Pakistan in an ambush in Kashmir’s Keri-Rajouri sector.

The sources said the military action could not be termed a “surgical strike” -- like the one conducted last September, when Indian army commandos went across the LoC to target alleged terror launch pads operated by Pakistan.

The Indian Army officially declined to confirm or deny whether its commandos had crossed the LoC, but the Pakistan Army on Tuesday confirmed the death of three soldiers at Rukh Chakri sector in Rawlakot, describing it as “unprovoked heavy cross-border shelling by Indian forces”.

On Tuesday evening, Pakistan summoned India’s acting deputy high commissioner to protest the “unprovoked” firing.

The Pakistani foreign office rejected reports that the Indian commandos crossed the Line of Control and attacked a post. “The false claims by India about the alleged cross LoC adventures are a figment of their imagination and counter-productive for peace and tranquillity on the LoC,” it said.

“The Indian actions got a befitting response from the Pakistani side and their guns were silenced,” Pakistan said.

Monday’s raid, conducted 250m across the LoC by five to seven soldiers of an infantry battalion’s Ghatak commandos, was planned at the local level.

A defence source said that at 6pm on Monday, the commandos launched the cross-border raid under suppressive fire from the Indian posts and destroyed two Pakistani posts in Rawalakot sector.

“They were manned by the troops of Baluch Regiment. At least three Pakistani soldiers were neutralised and five others were injured, some of them critically,” the source said.

“The raid was to send a message that the Indian Army will retaliate swiftly and strongly to rogue actions,” another source said.

This exchange of attacks takes place in the backdrop of a major diplomatic row between the two countries over former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by Pakistan for alleged espionage.

The border raid took place hours after Jadhav’s wife and mother were allowed to meet with him in Islamabad.

On Tuesday, India accused Pakistan of violating mutual understandings of Jadhav’s meeting with his family, saying the Indian national appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly controlled interaction.

Avanti and Chetankul Jadhav met external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign secretary S Jaishankar on Tuesday but the details of their interaction were not made public.

Since the 2016 Surgical Strike, this is the first incident of Indian soldiers crossing the Line of Control, though sources said from time to time Indian troops do cross the border while undertaking operations.

With inputs from Imtiaz Ahmad

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