India Hits Positions Across Line of Control With Pakistan

  • Operation conducted ‘recently’ to destroy Pakistan army posts
  • Pakistan military says India’s attack claims are ‘false’

Indian Army soldiers travel on trucks towards Bhawani village, Nowshera sector, along the highly militarized Line of Control that divides the region between India and Pakistan, on May 13, 2017.

Photographer: Channi Anand/AP Photo

India has hit army posts in a Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir that were providing cover for militants planning attacks, an Indian Army spokesman said.

“The operation was conducted very recently,” Ashok Narula told reporters in New Delhi. The strikes took place in the Nowshera sector, he added.

Pakistan denied the military action took place. “Indian claims of destroying Pakistani post along LoC” are false, Pakistan military spokesman Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.

The military action is likely to further raise tension between the nuclear-armed, South Asian neighbors. It comes roughly three weeks after New Delhi blamed Pakistani military personnel for killing and mutilating Indian soldiers in the disputed region of Kashmir, which is claimed in full and ruled in part by both countries.

“It’s India’s claim -- whether it happened or not we are unsure,” said Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies. It’s “meant to keep Pakistan under pressure, heightening tensions. It looks like India is not in a mood to improve relations with Pakistan,” he said.

‘New Normal’

Such attacks are likely to be repeated in the future, but India will be cautious not to provoke a wider conflict, said Harsh Pant, a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation think-tank in New Delhi.

“This is going to be the ‘new normal’ in India’s response to Pakistani provocations,” Pant said, adding the Line of Control “will continue to see such activity as Delhi seems to have decided to take into account the costs of escalation, while strengthening deterrence along the border.”

The strikes come soon after India and Pakistan sparred at the International Court of Justice at the Hague. India had taken Pakistan to the ICJ over the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer that Pakistan sentenced to death in a military trial for alleged sabotage. Last week, the ICJ ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav, pending a full trial.

Read more: UN Court Orders Pakistan to Halt Execution of Indian Man

The mutilations of soldiers and the death sentence handed down to Jadhav had raised the pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act, Eurasia Group analysts Shailesh Kumar and Sasha Riser-Kositsky wrote in a recent note.

“Modi is likely to respond to these events by authorizing an attack on Pakistani assets both to burnish his national security credentials and to prevent a dip in his domestic public support,” they wrote in a research note on May 10. 

Rupee Drops

Any “military move by India would be designed to both project strength and avoid an escalation of conflict, and would have a short-term negative impact on financial markets,” they added.

Tensions have remained high between India and Pakistan since India said it launched military raids across the so-called Line of Control that divides Kashmir in September, 2016. Pakistan denied the raids occurred.

The rupee dropped to the day’s low of 64.8975 to the dollar and the benchmark Sensex index of shares traded 0.7 percent lower following the announcement of the military action.

— With assistance by Chris Kay, and Kamran Haider

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