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Army says destroyed Pak border posts along LoC, releases video of firing

The Indian army said on Tuesday that it is engaging in “punitive fire assaults” on Pakistani posts that were aiding infiltrators into India.

india Updated: May 24, 2017 07:28 IST
Rahul Singh and Imtiaz Ahmad
Rahul Singh and Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Islamabad
Line of Control,Indian Army,Defence ministry
Soldiers take position near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch after cross-border shelling from Pakistan left two civilians dead and three injured in Naushera sector in Rajouri district on Saturday.(PTI Photo)

The Indian army said on Tuesday it has attacked and destroyed Pakistani posts along their de-facto border as part of counter-insurgency operations to stop militants from crossing into India.

In a rare move, the army also released what it said was a video of the military action that showed heavy artillery blasting temporary bunkers and shelters on a tree-covered mountain. The video was shot in Jammu’s Naushera sector on May 9, army officials told HT, a little over a week after the beheading of two Indian soldiers by a Pakistan army team.

Pakistan military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor called the Indian claim “false” and issued a video which he claimed showed its army shelling Indian positions after an “unprovoked ceasefire violation” on May 13.

Indian army’s chief spokesperson Major General Ashok Narula told journalists the aim of the military action was to “bring down the number of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir so that youths are not adversely influenced by terrorists from across.”

“Punitive fire assaults across the Line of Control are being undertaken by the Indian army,” said Major General Narula, who heads the army’s public information wing. He did not give dates.

The assault is also the latest escalation in tensions along the LoC, the volatile de-facto border militants use to sneak into India, often under cover fire from the Pakistani army.

“Pak army has been providing support to armed infiltrators by engaging our forward troops... At times they have not even hesitated to target villages in proximity to the LoC,” Narula said. “Locations aiding infiltration of terrorists are being targeted and destroyed to deny advantage to terrorists thus curbing infiltration attempts.”

Army sources said the weapons used against Pakistani posts included artillery guns, mortars, rockets, anti-tank missiles and grenades.

Maj Gen Ghafoor said the army’s “befitting and stern” action was in response to Indian army allegedly targeting civilian positions that resulted in casualties.

Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told military commanders in Rawalpindi although his country sought peace with its neighbours, any hostility on its borders would be “responded to befittingly”.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley said the army was taking pre-emptive and measured actions to counter terrorism in Kashmir and disengage Pakistani posts supporting infiltration attempts.

The opposition Congress hailed the army action but asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he was not raising the issue of rise in infiltration from Pakistan at the international fora.

“We salute the valour and sacrifice of the Indian army. Where is the loud BJP government? When will it stop infiltration from Pakistan?” asked party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The armies of the nuclear-armed neighbours face off along the heavily militarised LoC and exchanges of fire are common. Both sides invariably accuse the other of starting it.

In September, India carried out what the government termed “surgical strikes” across the LoC and destroyed several militant launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The latest strike on Pakistani posts was launched from inside India.

“Infiltrations are likely to increase with melting of snow and the opening of passes. Operations like Naugam where four terrorists were neutralised on 20-21 May are the instances. This calls for even more pro-active counter-terrorism operations,” Narula said, referring to a usual pattern of increased militant activity in summer.

Kashmir has been on the boil since the death of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani last July, with more than 100 civilians killed in street protests and clashes with security personnel.

A number of large foreign funds, managing trillions of dollars of investor assets globally, have flagged “persisting religious conflicts” and the “Kashmir dispute” as potential risks to their investments in India, saying such “tensions” could destabilise the Indian economy.

The benchmark BSE index slipped about 90 points in the last 30 minutes of trade on Tuesday, a fall some analysts attributed to the announcement of Indian military action against Pakistani posts. The index closed at 30,365.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: May 23, 2017 15:10 IST