In an audacious and provocative attack, Pakistani troops entered Indian territory along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir late on Monday night and ambushed a patrol, killing five Indian soldiers.
The issue rocked Parliament today with members in both Houses demanding a strong response from the government. Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned till noon.
Defence sources said the Pakistani soldiers, numbering about 20, intruded into Indian territory past midnight and ambushed the patrol party at the Sarla post on the Indian side of the LoC.
A Subedar and four jawans of the 21 Bihar Unit were killed in the attack which took place at around 2 a.m., the sources said. The attack reportedly took place 450 metres from the LoC on the Indian side.
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 Pakistan and call into question the Pakistani government’s recent overtures,” he said.
Army chief General Bikram Singh is taking stock of the situation, army sources said in Delhi.
The incident could cast a shadow on the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue process. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are slated to meet in New York next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
The dialogue process was put on hold following the beheading of an Indian soldier and another soldier’s body being found mutilated, following the January 8 attack by Pakistani troops in the Poonch sector.
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.
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 the government should come out with a clear-cut and firm response to the latest Pakistani attack, which has now become a weekly affair.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi accused the government of laxity in securing Indian borders. Gurudas Dasgupta of CPI said the government should take up the issue strongly with Pakistan.