At least 17 troops were killed in a pre-dawn ambush by militants in Kashmir on Sep 18.
An attack of a suicidal nature, sponsored and launched from across the LoC was expected any time before the Pakistan prime minister’s speech at the UN General Assembly.
Heavily armed militants crossed the “line of control” with Pakistan before launching an early Sunday raid on the Indian army’s 12th brigade infantry base housing hundreds of soldiers in Uri, west of the region’s main city of Srinagar.
Indian General Ranbir Singh said all four gunmen were “foreign terrorists” and that initial information suggested they were part of militants group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is based in Pakistan. He added that the gunmen were carrying “some items that had Pakistani markings.”
The assailants were killed, but there were more casualties on the Indian side. “We salute the sacrifice of 17 soldiers who were martyred in the operation,” the army said in a statement. It said 25 troops were injured, some of them airlifted for medical treatment.
The garrison was hosting more troops than usual, as one battalion was in the process of handing over field duties to another one. As a result, a large number of soldiers were accommodated in tents and temporary shelters. Most of the victims of the Sunday raid died when their tents caught fire.
Pakistan’s Role Evident: Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called an emergency meeting of top defense officials and blamed Pakistan for the attack.
“I am deeply disappointed with Pakistan’s continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups,” he said.
The minister also canceled a diplomatic trip to Russia and the United States that was due to start on Monday.
“Pakistan is a terrorist state, and it should be identified and isolated as such,” Singh said on Twitter.
Islamabad denied involvement in the attacks.
“India immediately puts blame on Pakistan without doing any investigation. We reject this,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told the Reuters news agency.