India on Thursday announced carrying out surgical strikes on terrorist camps across the Line of Control, marking the first military response to the attack on the Indian Army camp at Uri by Pakistan-based militants 12 days ago.
“On receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at the launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to preempt infiltration by terrorists,” Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), said here.
This is the first time India has officially admitted to undertaking offensive action on the terror camps located in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, though the details of these camps have been available with the armed forces and intelligence agencies for years.
The announcement was made after the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took stock of the situation along the LoC. United States National Security Advisor Susan Rice had a telephonic conversation with her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Thursday.
Singh said it was a cross-border anti-terror operation with limited objectives. “The operations were focused on ensuring that these terrorists do not succeed in their design to cause destruction and endanger the lives of our citizens. The operations aimed at neutralising terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for further continuation,” he said.
The DGMO said he called up his Pakistani counterpart and informed him of India’s action. There is a military hotline between the two DGMOs and they speak with each other at least once a week. The Pakistan army as well as the foreign office denied the strikes but admitted cross-border firing.
“It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region. But we cannot allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack citizens of our country at will,” Singh said.
The announcement was made at a hurriedly called press conference within minutes of the CCS meeting where top officials from the security and intelligent establishment, including the Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh and the DGMO, gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Manohar Parrikar an update on the operations.
Subsequently, Modi apprised President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and his predecessor Manmohan Singh of the army operation.The military response comes weeks after two terror strikes in Poonch (Sept 11) and Uri (Sept 18) in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack on an Army base in Uri led to the death of 18 soldiers; one police constable was killed in Poonch. On both occasions, security forces gunned down the militants. Also, 20 infiltration attempts were foiled this year. The stores recovered from the dead terrorists are of Pakistan origin and confessions from the captured ultras showed the involvement of the Pakistan army in training and arming these militants.