Pakistan threatens to use 'tactical devices', denies India's surgical strikes

Pakistan downplayed the incident and called it a 'regular episode'.

Ten days after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in a terror attack at an Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, India avenged the loss by conducting surgical strikes along the Line of Control (LoC). But minutes after India announced the strikes on Thursday, Pakistan went into the defensive, calling it ‘unprovoked and naked aggression by India”.

Pakistan insisted that no “surgical strike” took place and that there were only firing and artillery shelling between the two armies across the LoC that killed two of its soldiers and left some others wounded.

Downplaying the incident as a ‘regular episode’, Pakistan Army’s media department said two of its soldiers were killed in overnight cross border firing by India and accused India of trying to portray it as something “bigger” and “dramatic” to satisfy its people.

“The notion of surgical strikes linked to alleged terrorist bases is an illusion deliberately generated by India,” the Pakistani military said.

Flabbergasted, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif soon went into a huddle with his military commanders and his Cabinet and warned India that Pakistan’s “desire for peace should not be interpreted as weakness.” He added that Pakistan can “thwart any evil design made to undermine its sovereignty.”

However, the Pakistani Government maintained that the meeting was only held to discuss human rights violations in Kashmir.

But soon after, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and condemned the ceasefire violation along the LoC by Indian Army.

In an apparent warning, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Islamabad is open to using ‘tactical devices’ against India if it feels its safety is threatened.

As per reports, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry also told the Indian envoy that Islamabad wants good relations with neighbours but is capable of responding to any aggression.

Even before the surgical strikes, Pakistani leaders have been hinting at the possibility of nuclear escalation if India goes to war in response to the Uri attack.

Pakistan on Thursday claimed that one Indian soldier, identified as Chandu Babulal Chohan, had been captured and eight others had been killed. Indian Army, though, clarified that the soldier inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan but denied his role in the surgical strike.

Indian Army has maintained that it has not suffered any casualties in the strike.

With utmost precision, the Indian Army on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday went 2-3 kms inside the Pakistan occupied territory and brought down at least 38 terrorists by attacking seven launch pads.

Terrorists fighting Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir are known to be based in the Pakistan-held territory of divided Kashmir, enjoying the backing of the Pakistani military and terror groups aligned with Pakistani intelligence.

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said the terrorists killed in the surgical strikes had planned to infiltrate and target Jammu and Kashmir and other metros in the country.

“The operation was basically focussed to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design,” he said.

The DGMO said the operation had since ceased. “We do not have plans of further continuation of the operations. However, the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise.”

As per reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is debating whether to use India’s rising economic and diplomatic weight to squeeze Pakistan.

“The objective is not just to go across the border and kill 10-12 people. The objective is to bring about a change in Pakistani behaviour, and for that you need to move on multiple levels. The strategy will involve all instruments of national power. Military is only one of the options,” said a security official involved in the daily consultations since the Uri attack.

Options under consideration include choking trade with Pakistan. India is also considering building dams on rivers running into Pakistan and intensifying diplomatic pressure, hoping that it can show other countries how terrorists based in Pakistan impact the rest of the world.