Tuesday, August 6, 2013

5 Indian soldiers killed in attack by Pak troops, Parliament outraged

DELHI/JAMMU:Aug 6, 2013(7STARNEWS) A heavily-armed team of terrorists and Pakistani troops ambushed an Indian Army patrol along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir in the early hours of Tuesday, killing five Indian soldiers.

The incident occurred just hours after the ceasefire violation in Samba sector on Monday evening in which one BSF soldier was injured.

The Army said 15-20 terrorists, backed by Pakistani Army regulars, intruded into the Indian territory after crossing over the LoC at about 1am and ambushed the six-member Indian patrol near the Sarlah post of Poonch Brigade nearthe Chakkan-da-Bagh area, over 200km away from Jammu. \"Five of our soldiers from the 21 Bihar Regiment died in the firefight around 450 meters inside our territory, while one was injured,\" said an officer.

The Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and the Pakistani Army, according to sources, took advantage of the weather conditions and topography of the area to sneak across the LoC. Senior superintendent of Police (SSP) Poonch, Shamsher Hussain told TOI in Jammu that the attackers took the advantage of dense vegetation. \"The soldiers were believed to have been on a regular patrol along the LoC in Chakandabad area of Poonch and were passing through a vulnerable (unfenced LoC) sector of some 300 mts between Cheeta and Begum posts when they were ambushed,\" he said. \"Some local civilians reported to police that they heard some firing at approximately 0200 hrs,\" the SSP said.

On Tuesday morning, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, \"(I) was briefed early this morning about the news that five of our soldiers had been killed on the LoC. My heartfelt condolences to their next of kin. These incidents don\'t help efforts to normalise or even improve relations with Pak and call in to question the Pak Govt\'s recent overtures.\"

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh was taking stock of the situation in New Delhi, with he Indian DGMO being asked to lodge a strong protest with his Pakistani counterpart over the hotline.

The injured is likely to be shifted to Command Hospital Northern Command provided the weather conditions permit. The injured soldier is presently undergoing treatment at Military Hospital Poonch.

This is the second biggest attack in Poonch area in a year, after the January 8 beheading incident that had triggered a series of skirmishes along the LoC and the India-Pakistan international border. Official sources suspect that the last night\'s assault could have been a reaction to the recent elimination of over a dozen armed terrorists killed by the Indian security forces in counter-infiltration operations carried out in north Kashmir.

Pakistan has already violated the border ceasefire over 33 times this year. The latest incident could cast a dark shadow on the resumption of the Indo-Pak composite dialogue process expected to begin later this month, much like the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in January had derailed the bilateral ties for some time.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are also slated to meet in New York next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The incident sparked uproar in Parliament, with the opposition parties accusing the government of a soft foreign policy. Defence minister A K Antony is expected to make a statement in both houses.

\"It is a sad incident. If Pakistan wants better ties with India then this is not the way,\" said minister of state for home RPN Singh. Union minister Farooq Abdullah said the incident will affect the process of normalisation between India and Pakistan. \"The hand of friendship cannot be extended from one side only. Pakistan has to stop the killings of Indian soldiers. The dialogue process cannot resume if such a situation continues,\" he said.

The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, said the incident has serious defence, security and foreign policy implications. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said government should come out with a clear-cut and firm response to the latest Pakistani attack which has become a weekly affair. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi accused the government of laxity in securing Indian borders. Gurudas Dasgupta of CPI said government should take up the issue strongly with Pakistan.

Former Army chief Shankar Roy Choudhary said India should be wary of any peace overtures of Pakistan. \"This is a serious situation and requires a strong response from the government,\" said former Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh.

On July 27, another BSF jawan was injured when Pakistani troops violated ceasefire twice in the space of 10 hours by targeting Indian posts along the Indo-Pak border in Poonch and Kathua districts. The Pakistani troops had used mortars, RPGs and heavy machine guns leading to heavy firing exchanges. On July 3, Pakistan violated ceasefire when it fired on cops, who had gone to LoC in Sabzian, Poonch to collect the body of a Pakistani intruder killed in an IED blast on July 1.

Pakistani troops fired on troops trying to evacuate injured porters after two were killed in IED attack by Pakistani militants along LoC in Poonch on July 8. On July 12, Pakistani Rangers fired on Indian forward posts in Pindi belt along international border (IB) in Jammu district. Pakistani troops opened small arms firing on Indian posts in forward area along LoC in Poonch district on the night of July 22.

Govt lodges protest with Pakistan

India has lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels over the killing of five Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, defence minister A K Antony said in Lok Sabha.

A K Anonty said attack on Indian soldiers was carried out by 20 heavily-armed terrorists along with persons in Pakistan army uniform.

\"We strongly condemn the incident. The Indian Army is fully ready to tackle any such incident,\" Antony said in Lok Sabha.
News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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