A day after an Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by Pakistan-based terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC), the Army on Saturday launched retaliatory fire assaults at Pakistan Army positions, inflicting massive damage across the border.
The Army said at least four Pakistan Army posts were destroyed “in a massive fire assault” in the Keran sector alone on Saturday. “Heavy casualties (among Pakistani soldiers) were inflicted in this assault,” said a statement issued by the Northern Command based in Udhampur.
The Army had earlier promised that the beheading of its soldier (Manjeet Singh of the Sikh Regiment) by terrorists, who were helped by covering fire from Pakistani Army at the Macchil sector on Friday, would not go unpunished.
Sources said the battalion commanders all along the LoC have been given directions to “effectively retaliate with full force” to any provocation or ceasefire violation by the Pakistan Army.
Indian Army soldiers conducted “sustained fire assaults” through mortars, light and heavy machine guns and rockets at several Pakistan Army posts all throughout Saturday. “The firing was carried out with the aim to destroy targets like Pakistani posts and bunkers with pinpoint accuracy. But no estimates of casualties on the side can be given,” said a senior officer.
Though the operational situation on the western front has been tense ever since the Army conducted surgical strikes+ against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on September 29, it has become worse over the last few days. While Pakistani soldiers and rangers have suffered much more casualties, four Indian Army jawans, three BSF personnel and a few civilians have been killed in the fresh bout of hostilities.
As reported by TOI earlier, the assessment is that Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif has given the green signal for BAT (border action team) operations against Indian posts on the LoC in the run-up to his slated retirement+ next month.
But artillery guns have not come into play from either side, which would indicate a marked escalation in the ongoing hostilities, till now. “Both sides are using 82mm mortars and machine guns as of now,” said an officer.