India strikes back, Pak claims 14 killed in shelling across LoC
CROSS-BORDER AGGRESSION Military officials have unscheduled talk on Islamabad’s request
Indian troops on Wednesday mounted a massive bombardment of Pakistani positions along the LoC a day after a soldier’s body was mutilated and two others were killed, with Pakistani authorities saying 14 people died in the shelling.
The offensive came hours after the Indian Army pledged to exact a “heavy” retribution for the killing of the three soldiers. Observers said the exchange of fire was one of the heaviest since a ceasefire came into effect along the Line of Control in late 2003.
On Wednesday evening, the Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries held an “unscheduled hotline interaction” at Pakistan’s request to discuss the situation along the LoC. India’s DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh expressed grief at Pakistani civilian casualties but said Indian troops were “only targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated ceasefire violations”.
Singh also raised infiltration attempts by terrorists and the “unethical act of mutilation of the body of Indian soldiers close to the LoC by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan”, a statement said. He said normalcy would return to the LoC if the Pakistani side exercised “strict control on their troops to refrain from any nefarious activities”.
The external affairs ministry summoned Pakistani deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah and protested against continued ceasefire violations and “barbaric mutilation” of the Indian soldier’s body, spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
Shah, in turn, protested against the targeting of civilians in a passenger bus and an ambulance in the Neelum Valley, Pakistani officials said. Shah said this amounted to “a serious escalation of the situation”.
Pakistani officials said 10 civilians were killed when shelling hit the passenger bus and ambulance. The ambulance had gone to evacuate people who were injured when the bus was hit.
“A motorcyclist also died after being hit by a mortal shell in the same area.
The Pakistani military’s media arm also said three soldiers, including a captain, were killed “while responding to Indian unprovoked firing”. Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers head for night patrol duty along the India-Pakistan international border in Jammu.