NEW DELHI: The army today launched attacks on terror camps located inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in which four to five Pakistan Army soldiers were killed and several were injured, sources said. According to sources, four terror launch pads in Neelam valley – opposite the Tangdhar sector of Kupwara – have been destroyed in the artillery strikes. Sources indicated that this was retaliation to the cross-border firing by Pakistan in Tangdhar, in which two Indian soldiers and a civilian died. Three others were also injured in the attack, which took place after midnight.
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.
Sources said lately, the terror camps have been trying to push terrorists into Indian territory – part of Pakistan’s plan to destabilise the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, following the centre’s move in August to end the state’s special status and bifurcate it into two Union Territories. The army said most of these efforts have been foiled, but it has not ruled out the possibility of a few slipping in.
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.