URI, Jammu and Kashmir – At least 10 militants and a soldier were killed Sept. 20 as the army claimed to have foiled two major infiltration bids from Pakistan near the Line of Control, two days after a massive terror strike killed 18 army men in this garrison town of Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
The infiltration attempts came as India and Pakistan are locked in a diplomatic war of words over a deadly unrest in the Kashmir Valley and soon after the Sunday attack on military base close to the de facto border that divides the state between the two neighbors.
Defense sources said the infiltration attempt was made under the cover of Pakistani firing as a group of 15 heavily armed militants attempted to cross over to this side of the LoC near Uri, 100 km north of Srinagar.
The operation near the Lachipora border area of the garrison town was on and by late Tuesday night, the army said, it had killed 10 militants.
The area is barely six km from the army camp that was hit by four suicide attackers on Sept. 18 morning.
An army source told IANS here that soldiers became apprehensive about a possible infiltration bid after Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing using small and automatic arms to target Indian posts in Lachhipora and Boniyar villages of the border on Tuesday afternoon.
The source said the Pakistani fire caused no damage.
“It became clear that a cover was being provided to infiltrators from Pakistan. Indian soldiers returned the fire and kept vigil around to monitor any cross-border movement. A group of armed infiltrators was immediately spotted,” the source said.
Another incursion attempt was foiled in the Nowgam sector near the LoC in Kupwara, also 100 km north of Srinagar, a police source said.
“The group of heavily armed militants fired at soldiers, triggering an encounter in which one army soldier was critically injured,” the source said.
The soldier succumbed to his injuries at a hospital later.
The operation was still on as five to six militants were believed to have been engaged in the heavy exchange of fire.
Pakistan is often accused of firing at Indian posts to provide cover to militants trying to sneak into this side of the LoC.
The firing in Uri violates the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan along the international boundary and the LoC.
Earlier, the army foiled two such attempts on Sept. 11 and 16 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Uri sectors respectively. Four terrorists were killed in each of the operations.
The latest infiltration bids come as India blamed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militants for the Uri terror attack. Pakistan has denied the allegations even as India claimed to have clinching evidence to support its claim.
The Indian Army has said it has recovered arms, ammunition and food and medicine packets with Pakistani markings during the combing operations at the military base in Uri.
According to the Indian Army, infiltration attempts from across the border with Pakistan have increased this year in comparison with the past three to four years.
In 2016 so far, the Indian Army has foiled 19 infiltration bids from across the border. The army said it was a “desperate attempt” by Pakistan to create “disturbance and foment unrest” in India.