Tensions rise in South Asia as India launches “surgical strikes” on Pakistani terror camps

The strikes will escalate tensions.
The strikes will escalate tensions.
Image: Reuters/Amit Dave
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The Indian Army carried out a series of “surgical strikes” on terrorist bases in Pakistan, across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), on the night of Sept. 28.

“Based on very specific and credible information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the line of control with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir, and various other metros in our country, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads,” lieutenant general Ranbir Singh, the director general of military operation (DGMO) of the Indian Army, said in a surprise press conference today (Sept. 29).

“The operations were basically focussed to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country,” Singh added.

The military action comes 11 days after terrorists, allegedly backed by Pakistan, attacked an Indian Army base in Uri in J&K, killing 18 soldiers, the most casualties suffered by Indian troops in more than a decade.

Although the DGMO did not specify what he meant by “surgical strikes,” the term may well mean that the Indian Army crossed the LoC, the de-facto border between the two countries, into Pakistani-controlled territory. So far, the Indian Army has only said that the operation inflicted “significant casualties” but has not provided any figures, or any evidence of the damage inflicted.

Pakistan has denied that any such cross-border action has taken place. ”This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross border fire as surgical strike is fabrication of truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, same will be strongly responded,” the Pakistani military said in a statement.

Tensions have been rising between the two nuclear-armed neighbours over the past week, with India accusing Pakistan of continuing to back terror groups, which have repeatedly staged attacks across the border. The issue was even raked up at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj making strong statements.

These “surgical strikes” will escalate tensions even further, although the Indian Army has made it clear that it currently does not plan to undertake similar actions in the coming days.

“The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for further continuations of the operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingencies that may arise,” Singh said.

But it’s not that such military manoeuvres have not taken place before. “There have been a number of occasions when people (Indian soldiers) have gone across,” said former Indian Army chief, general Bikram Singh, speaking to television news channel CNN News 18.

Meanwhile, India’s benchmark Sensex index closed 465 points, or 1.6%, lower, after the army made the announcement.

This post has been updated with the latest stock market data.