To avenge the death of four Indian soldiers killed on the Line of Control (LoC) on Saturday, the Army killed three Pakistani soldiers in a cross-LoC strike on Monday evening. The death of its three soldiers in the Indian action was acknowledged by the Pakistani side in the weekly telephone call between the two Military Operations Directorate Tuesday afternoon.
Sources told The Indian Express that the cross-LoC strike was undertaken by a team of Ghatak (commando) platoon of an infantry battalion. The target was a Pakistani listening post of Baloch Regiment in the Rakh Chikri sub-sector of Rawalakot, around 250 metres on the Pakistani side of the LoC. The Ghatak team used explosives and mines, following which heavy exchange of fire took place between the two sides around 6 pm Monday.
According to sources, one Pakistani soldier was killed immediately while two injured soldiers succumbed to injuries shortly afterwards.
On Monday night, Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had posted an update on Twitter about the death of three soldiers which was later deleted. No further details were given by the Pakistani side before it acknowledged the death of its three soldiers in the cross-LoC action in the weekly telephone call between the two Military Operations Directorate Tuesday afternoon, sources added.
Accepting that it was a retaliatory action meant to avenge the loss of four soldiers Saturday, Army sources, said, “It was a tit-for-tat operation.” They said, “It was a selective target across the LoC” which was taken out in a “local tactical operation.” Sources maintained that the cross-LoC action was “decided and executed by local commanders”.
The cross-LoC action, sources said, was in an area of a neighbouring brigade, where a Sikh battalion had lost four soldiers, including an officer, to a Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan Army in Brat Galla in Keri sector. This was the second action on the LoC in two days by the Army to avenge its deaths Saturday. On Sunday, the Army had “eliminated” a sniper of Pakistan Army in Jhangar area of Nowshera sector of Rajouri on the LoC.
The LoC has been highly active this year, with 820 ceasefire violations so far, compared to 228 in 2016 and 152 in 2015. The Army has lost 14 soldiers in ceasefire violations on the LoC this year, while 17 soldiers have died countering infiltration bids from the Pakistani side. A total of 59 militants have been killed while attempting infiltration this year, in comparison to 37 and 30 militants killed in 2016 and 2015 respectively.