Six to ten soldiers of the Pakistan Army were killed and three terror camps destroyed in a retaliatory action by the Indian Army opposite the Tangdhar sector in Jammu & Kashmir, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, he said another terror camp was severely damaged in the action by the Indian forces and the retaliation had caused substantial harm to the terror infrastructure across the Line of Control (LoC).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed about the retaliatory action, the Army chief said. “Ever since the abrogation of special provisions (for Jammu & Kashmir), we are getting repeated inputs about infiltration by terrorists from across the border,” he added. “So far, according to the information available with us, 6-10 Pakistani soldiers have been killed and nearly as many terrorists,” General Rawat said, adding that more information on terrorist casualty was being obtained.
“Three terror camps have been destroyed and on the fourth one also, we have caused severe damage,” he said.
Recently, the Army received information that terrorists were coming closer to camps in the forward areas, General Rawat said.
In the last one month, repeated infiltration attempts were made from the Gurez, Keran, Machil sectors and south of Pir Panjal, he said, adding that Pakistani soldiers were resorting to ceasefire violation to provide support to the infiltration bids by terrorists. “Last evening, an attempt was made in Tangdhar to infiltrate...where we retaliated...Pakistan, at the same time, carried out some firing at the post, in which we did suffer as two of our soldiers got killed and one civilian also died,” General Rawat said. “All this (firing) was done to ensure that they can push in the terrorists,” he said.
General Rawat said terror camps across the border were targeted as the Army had definitive information. “The festival season is approaching, Diwali is round the corner, we had picked up a definitive signal that some of the terror camps north of Pir Panjal were active. Terrorists had arrived in these camps and that they were likely to infiltrate.
Lashing out at Pakistan, General Rawat said the other side was desperate as the first snow had fallen and advised the neighbouring country to “not perpetrate terror in the territory” on the Indian side. “Three days ago, we had foiled an infiltration bid in the Machil sector and recovered a rucksack and other equipment,” he said.
On the artillery action, the Army chief said as of now, there was a kind of "radio silence" on the other side and “we are not even able to pick up any mobile communication from across (the LoC), which implies that there have been casualty, damage, which the Pakistan Army does not want to highlight”.
“They do not want to highlight or project this damage as the world will know that no action had been taken (by them) to curtain the acts of terrorism from across the border. They are trying to keep it under the wraps. But, definitely, as and when we get it, we will provide you with more evidence,” he said.
On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave a special status to the state, the Army chief said while Indian forces were trying to restore normalcy in the Valley, attempts were being made from elements across the border to disrupt peace.
“Ever since the abrogation of special provisions (for Jammu and Kashmir), we are getting repeated inputs about infiltration by terrorists from across the border,” he added.
“Gradually, things are returning to normal in the valley, but obviously somebody is working behind the scenes, at the behest of terrorists and agencies, some within and some outside Pakistan and PoK, to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere,” he said. Asked if Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed by him on the Tangdhar incident, the Army chief answered in the affirmative. "He (Singh) has been briefed regularly," he said. “The defence minister has regularly been in contact with me on this issue,” General Rawat said.
“As I said earlier, the political leadership and the military are working in close coordination and that is continuing... The political leadership is fully backing us on countering terror in whatever way and no restriction has been put. The mutual consultation goes on regularly,” he added.