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4 Aug, 2019 04:47

India says it thwarted ‘infiltration’ attempt by Pakistani army in latest Kashmir flare-up

India says it thwarted ‘infiltration’ attempt by Pakistani army in latest Kashmir flare-up

The Indian Army has said it killed at least five Pakistanis as they attempted to penetrate a military outpost in disputed Kashmir. The fighting erupted after Delhi urged pilgrims to leave the area over security concerns.

The incident took place on Thursday night and saw the Indian Army confront what they called a “Border Action Team (BAT)” made up of Pakistani militants and servicemen, India’s defense spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said on Saturday. The Pakistani group crossed the line of contact and raced to the Indian Army’s forward post in the village of Keran.

The altercation resulted in the Indian forces “neutralizing... five to seven Pakistani regulars/terrorists,” he said. In a statement, the Indian Army said that the slain men were “possibly” members of Pakistan’s elite Army’s Special Service Group (SSG) forces or “terrorists.”

The exact death toll is still unclear, with India saying that attempts to retrieve the bodies were disrupted by the Pakistani Army. There has been no word on India’s own casualties from the incident.

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The alleged infiltration plot was stopped amid soaring tensions in area, which saw several incidents of cross-border shelling in recent days. On Friday, India advised Hindu pilgrims who began arriving in Kashmir Valley in late July to “take measures to return immediately,” citing intelligence identifying them as likely targets of terrorist attacks.

"In the last 36 hours, there have been a number of attempts by Pakistan to disturb peace in the Valley and target Amarnath yatris,” the Indian Army said, doubling down on Saturday. Four hardline militants from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) group were killed in the recent raids, it added. Sniper rifles, mines, and IEDs were discovered during the operations.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Saturday accused India of using cluster bombs against Pakistani civilians. Islamabad claimed that the banned munitions killed two civilians and wounded another 11. India has denied the allegations.

The two nuclear powers continue to be locked in a bitter dispute over Kashmir, having fought two wars over the territory. It almost resulted in a conflict again in February after a suicide-bomb attack by JEM killed 40 Indian servicemen. India retaliated by striking the group’s alleged positions in Pakistan, which prompted a tense dogfight between Indian and Pakistani fighter jets in the skies over Kashmir.

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