In a chilling reminder of the brutal attack on Capt Saurabh Kalia and his team in Kargil in 1999, Pakistani troops crossed into the Indian side at Poonch district of Jammu on Tuesday morning and ambushed an army patrol, killing two soldiers.
The body of one of the soldiers was found mutilated. According to agencies, the Pakistan troops chopped off their heads and took away the weapons of the brutally murdered soldiers.
The Pakistan army again opened fire twice at Indian positions on Tuesday evening. Pakistan troops fired at Indian positions in Krishnagati sector around 4 pm and again at Sona Gali in Poonch at 8.45 pm.
Condemning the attack and terming it called provocative, the government said it would take up the incident with Pakistan. “We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday night.
Army’s additional director general (Public Information) Maj Gen S L Narasimhan said Northern Army Commander Lt Gen KT Parnaik visited the spot and confirmed that one of the two bodies was mutilated.
On Monday, Pakistan had accused Indian army of raiding its check post on the LoC in the Haji Pir sector on Sunday. However, New Delhi denied the charges and said Pakistan troops commenced unprovoked firing on Indian troops.
The US has asked India and Pakistan to take steps to end the exchange of fire. “We urge both sides to take steps to end exchanges of fire and to resume normal trade and travel across the line of control,” US state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland saidon Tuesday.
Reacting to the attack, Lt Gen PC Katoch, a former strike corps commander, said,“We are a soft state and both China and Pakistan understand this very well. They will keep hitting us and we will continue to be at the receiving end. We have to be offensive in our approach. We are capable of retaliating in stronger ways. Like, we have Special Forces that can carry out such attacks inside the enemy territory.”
“The Pakistan army, which every year tries to push terrorists, does so under the garb of covering fire and this incident could be related to one such attempt... The government must take very stern steps diplomatically and leave it to the Indian army to carry out any suitable retaliatory action,” said
Lt Gen Kamal Davar, former chief of defence intelligence.
— With inputs from Pradip R Sagar/New Delhi