The Indian army said it had conducted “surgical attacks” in the disputed region to foil a “terrorist attack,” according to India’s Director General of Military Operations.
But Pakistan insisted that no incursion had taken place into the territory it controls, saying there had only been an exchange of fire. It promised a “forceful response” if there was a repeat of the operation.
India said it had acted to protect its citizens — Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh told reporters on Thursday the strikes had been based on “specific credible information” that militants were planning to carry out strikes in Indian cities, including Jammu.
“The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens in our country,” he said.
An Indian government official told CNN some border villages in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir State had been evacuated. Educational institutions were also ordered closed on Thursday evening.
The incident comes less than two weeks after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by armed freedom fighters on an army base in Uri, about 63 miles (102 kilometers) from Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
It was one of the deadliest attacks to take place on an army base in Kashmir since freedom fighters attacks began in the late 1980s, and sparked a furious war of words between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan leader slams ‘evil designs’
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack in a statement, calling it “unprovoked and naked aggression” of Indian forces.
He said Pakistan’s forces were capable of defending their territory and would stop any “evil design” against their country. “No external force has the capability or capacity to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan,” he said.
Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said the country’s army had responded in a “befitting” manner. “If India tries to do this again we will respond forcefully. India is doing this only to please their media and public,” he said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said India’s claims to have carried out surgical strikes were “baseless” and accusing India of “deliberately” escalating tensions.
“Such falsified, concocted and irresponsible statements can only escalate the already fragile security situations in the region,” the statement said.
In a further statement, it said that its Foreign Secretary had summoned the Indian High Commissioner and “condemned the unprovoked firing” by the Indian forces. The Foreign Secretary also alleged there had been threats made to the life of Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi.
He urged the Indian government “to ensure the safety and security of Pakistan’s High Commissioner, other officials and their families, in accordance with the Vienna Convention.”