New Delhi: Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that Uri attack would not go unpunished, India, on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) with Army operations causing 'significant casualties to terrorists and those providing support to them.'
The announcement of the strikes, made by DGMO Lt General Ranbir Singh on Thursday, came 11 days after attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.
What the DGMO said
"It has been a matter of serious concern that there has been continuing and increasing infiltration by terrorists across Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. This is reflected, amongst others, in the terrorist attacks on 11 and 18 September 16 in Punch and Uri respectively," General Singh said at a news conference during which External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup was also present.
"...During these terrorist attacks and infiltration attempts, we have recovered various stores including GPS and items that clearly indicate their origins in Pakistan. Furthermore, captured terrorists hailing from Pakistan or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have confessed to their training and arming in Pakistan or territory under its control," he added.
On the strikes carried out by the Army, the DGMO said, "Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists. The operations were focussed on ensuring that these terrorists do not succeed in their design to cause destruction and endanger the lives of our citizens."
He further said, "During these counter-terrorist operations significant casualties were caused to terrorists and those providing support to them. The operations aimed at neutralising terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for further continuation. However, the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise."
At the same time, General Singh maintained, "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."
— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 29, 2016
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) September 29, 2016
The announcement of the strikes by the Army was made soon after PM Modi chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
PM Modi informed President Pranab Mukherjee, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and former premier Manmohan Singh among others of the surgical strikes.
How the strikes were carried out
Sources said heavy guns were used in the operation which was carried out by army's para commandos. They said thermal imagers and high-masked lights were used during the operations to smash 7 terror launchpads, as per PTI.
Three divisions of the Army were involved in the strikes and the launch pads which were close to the LoC were chosen after the intelligence reports suggested that militants had gathered for infiltrating into India, sources said.
The four launch pads opposite to Kupwara were barely 300 metres from the LoC and the Army troops destroyed it using heavy fire, the sources said, adding no helicopter was used to ferry the troops.
The back up from Pakistani Army for these launch pads attacked during the surgical strikes was at a distance and the terrorists present at these camps were taken by surprise, the sources added.
India briefs envoys of 25 countries including P5
Meanwhile, India today briefed top envoys of 25 countries including the US, China, Russia, the UK and France on terror launch pads across the LoC.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar briefed the envoys in the South Block to convey the 'context' of carrying out the strikes, Swarup confirmed.
The FS told them that it was "a classic counter-terrorism operation more than a military one" and that it was to neutralise terrorists who were trained to carry out attacks in J&K and other major Indian cities.
They were also told that India has no plans for any further operation as of now but added the armed forces will not allow terrorists to carry out any attacks.
Pakistan denies strikes
Pakistan, however, dismissed as 'fabrication of truth' India's claim that it has conducted a military operation across the LoC to target, terming it as a 'quest' by India to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as surgical strike.
"There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon," Pakistan Army said in a statement in Islamabad, as per PTI.
On the other hand, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today reviewed the defence preparedness, holding talks with Army Chief Raheel Sharif and other top aides.
Sharif and Raheel had a telephonic conversation during which they discussed situation at the LoC, The News reported, citing sources.
Raheel apprised the premier over the firing incidents at the LoC, the sources said, adding that the Army Chief told him that Indian claims of surgical strikes were 'baseless'.
The Pakistani PM was also briefed on the LoC situation by National Security Advisor (NSA) General Nasir Janjua
(With Agency inputs)