Military leaders speak after 14 Pakistanis killed in Kashmir
India says only Pakistani posts which had opened fire targeted, tells Islamabad to rein in troops and terrorists
Top military commanders of India and Pakistan spoke at 6.30pm on Wednesday after Islamabad accused India of killing 14 people – 10 bus passengers, a motorcyclist and three soldiers – in separate incidents near the Line of Control in Kashmir and Jammu.
Indian shelling across the frontier into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir hit a bus from 9am to 4.30pm on Wednesday came a day after three Indian army personnel were killed. One of them was beheaded in the incident on Tuesday, the second such act since October 28 in the Machil sector of Kashmir.
India’s military operations commander, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, said only Pakistani posts, which had opened fire on India, were targeted.
Singh also expressed concern in a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart, Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, over casualties caused to Indian civilians and soldiers due to unprovoked firing by Pakistani soldiers.
He also raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists across the border into Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistani soldiers providing them cover and their unethical act of mutilating the body of Indian soldiers.
“Pakistan’s [director general of military operations] was exhorted to exercise strict control on their troops to refrain from any nefarious activities. This would lead to the return of normalcy along the Line of Control,” the Indian Army said.
Indian military sources said the Pakistani passenger bus was hit by accident when it suddenly traversed a bend in the Lawat area.
Lawat is 100km northeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-held Kashmir, in the upper belt of the Neelum Valley that straddles the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Indian troops stationed above Lawat were then firing heavily on the road to block movement of Pakistan military traffic.
On the diplomatic front, India summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to strongly protest against India’s continued ceasefire violations and mutilation of bodies of its soldiers.
Shah protested against India’s unprovoked firing which, he said, had left more than 50 civilians dead so far.
Tension over the Himalayan region has run high since a September cross-border raid on an army base killed 19 Indian soldiers, prompting what New Delhi called retaliatory “surgical strikes” against Islamist militants in Pakistan.
Relations between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India have been strained for several months, while cross-frontier shelling has intensified leading to the deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the disputed frontier.
Kashmir lies at the heart of the tension. The countries have fought two of their three wars over the region since partition and independence from Britain in 1947.
Additional reporting by Reuters