India’s claim of wiping out at least five “terror launch pads” in a pre-dawn strike in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on Thursday could prompt a retaliatory military action, analysts warned, while ruling out the possibility of a full-blown war between the two sides.
In a first of its kind military operation across the Line of Control (LoC), Indian soldiers went up to 3 km (1.8 miles) inside what it calls Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and eliminated at least five “terror launch pads” early Thursday, the Indian Army said.
“I doubt this action by the Indian armed forces would create a war-like situation, but no doubt military exchanges could escalate. A war could have been possible had Pakistan recognized the surgical strike, but they are denying that any such action occurred. But Pakistani troops may begin firing on Indian troops across the LoC,” former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal told BenarNews.
The LoC is a de facto border dividing the Himalayan region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since the bitter partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947.
“Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the LoC to carry out infiltration and conduct 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,” Military Operations Director General Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh told reporters.
The action came 10 days after suspected Pakistani militants attacked an Indian army installation in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, killing 18 soldiers. India has blamed Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) for the attack.
“Significant casualties have been caused to terrorists and those trying to shield them. We don’t have a plan to further conduct such strikes,” Singh said.
Defense sources told BenarNews that 38 suspected militants and nine Pakistani soldiers were killed in the operation, adding that the Indian army did not suffer any casualties.
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