KV Prasad and Simran Sodhi
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 29
India on Thursday announced that it conducted surgical strikes on Wednesday night to neutralise terrorists waiting on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, emphasising that it remained committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border.
Stating this, Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, said the operation was conducted after specific and credible information about the presence of terrorists at launch pads along the LoC, who were waiting to cross over to carry out attacks in J&K and other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Pakistan Army said its troops ‘responded’ to ‘Indian firing’ on the LoC in Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel, and Lipa sectors around 2.30 after midnight. The exchange of fire continued till 8 am. The statement said two of Pakistani soldiers were killed in the action.
It was not clear whether the two sides were referring to the same set of incidents.
General Singh said significant damage was inflicted on terrorists and those supporting them. He said he had spoken to his Pakistan counterpart and hoped the Pakistan army would cooperate with the Indian Army to end terrorism.
Reminding Pakistan that it had not kept its commitment of 2004 of not allowing its soil to be used to launch terror attacks against India, he said India was facing continuing and increasing attacks, including Uri.
DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh addressing the media (MEA video):
Indian security forces, he said, had thwarted 20 infiltration bids. New Delhi also offered consular access to Pakistan to those terrorists apprehended by India, and also to provide fingerprints/DNA samples of those terrorists killed in operations. He said equipment recovered from terrorists included GOS systems with Pakistan markings.
The announcement, at a joint briefing by the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, was preceded by a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was attended by Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Manohar Parikkar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chief of Army Staff Gen Dalbir Singh, DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Home Secretary Rajiv Meherisi.
Soon after the meeting, Modi briefed President Pranab Mukherjee and also spoke to Vice President Hamid Ansari, J&K Governor NN Vohra and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The operations were carried post midnight and NSA Doval spoke to US National Security Adviser Susan E Rice. A statement issued by her office said Ambassador Rice strongly condemned the Uri attack.
Full text of the statement by the DGMO
Ladies and gentlemen, Jai Hind and a very good afternoon to all of you. It has been a matter of serious concern that there has been continuing and increasing infiltration by terrorists across the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir.
This is reflected in the terrorist attacks at Poonch and Uri on 11 and 18th of September respectively. Almost 20 infiltration attempts have been foiled by the Indian army successfully during this year. During these terrorist attacks and infiltration attempts we have recovered items including Global Positioning Systems and stores which have had Pakistani markings.
Further, captured terrorists hailing from Pakistan or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have confessed to their training and arming in Pakistan or territory under the control of Pakistan.
The matter has been taken up at the highest diplomatic levels and the military levels at regular times. India has also offered consular access to the apprehended terrorists to Pakistan to verify their confessions.
Furthermore, we have proposed that finger prints and DNA samples of terrorists who have been killed in Uri and Poonch encounters can also be made available to Pakistan for their investigations.
Despite our persistent urging that Pakistan respect its commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, there have been no letup in infiltrations or terrorist actions inside our territory.
If the damage has been limited it has been primarily due the efforts of soldiers of Indian army who are deployed in a multi-tier counter infiltration grid and most of the infiltration bids have been foiled at those locations. The Indian armed forces have been extremely vigilant in the face of continuing threat.
Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu & Kashmir and in various other metros in our country, the Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads.
The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country.
During these counter terrorist operations, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them. The operations aimed at neutralizing the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for continuation of further operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise.
I have just spoken to the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations and explained our concerns and also shared with him the operations we had conducted last night.
It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but we can certainly not allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack the citizens of our country.
In line with Pakistan’s commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control for any terrorist activities against India, we expect the Pakistani army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region. Thank you very much.