New Delhi: Three terror camps have been destroyed and 6-10 Pakistani soldiers killed in an attack by the army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Sunday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said. He said the attack was in retaliation to the cross-border firing in Tangdhar by Pakistan, which was trying to infiltrate terrorists. Sources say the terror launch pads in Neelam valley – opposite the Tangdhar sector of Kupwara – were destroyed in the artillery strikes.
“Last evening an attempt was made in Tangdhar to infiltrate terrorists. We retaliated. Pakistan Pak carried out an attack, firing at our post in which we did suffer, but before they could attempt the infiltration,” General Rawat said.
Sources said as a result of the unprovoked firing, the Indian side undertook a calibrated escalation in which terror launch pads and Pakistan Army posts giving incidental protection to these launch pads and certain gun positions were hit. The army, sources said, retains the right to respond at a time and place of its choosing, in case the Pakistan Army continues to assist terror activities across the border.
The armed forces’ last hit on terror launch pads was in February after the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror strike in Pulwama. On that occasion, the Air Force had targeted a Jaish camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. In September 2016, the army had carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
Clarifying that today’s attack cannot be equated with a surgical strike or a Balakot type strike as it was a step lower in the escalation matrix, sources said it was “significant escalation” that was meant to send out a “strong signal” to the Pakistan Army.
By hitting the positions of Pakistani artillery positions, a “clear message was sent that their concealed positions are under observation and will be targeted if there is support to terror,” the sources said.
Pakistan has been making repeated attempts to flag Kashmir at international forums, but its efforts have not been successful so far.
Through September, Pakistan drones have dropped weapons across Punjab. A report to the Home Ministry said intelligence officials detected as many as eight drone sorties. The possibility of undetected sorties has not been ruled out either.
On each sortie, the drones have dropped packages weighing up to 10 kg, which could have been arms, explosives, or means of communication, like cell phones or satellite phones, the report said. Intelligence agencies have also said Pakistan’s state actors were responsible for this.
Till September this year, Pakistan had committed more than 2,050 unprovoked ceasefire violations in which 21 people died, the centre had said last month.