Few Indian politicians, army veterans want ‘cross-border strikes’
New Delhi has claimed that Pakistan was behind Sunday’s attack in which 17 soldiers were killed, raising the prospect of a military escalation in the already tense disputed Himalayan region.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised those responsible would not go unpunished, while his home minister accused Pakistan of allegedly supporting terrorism.
Some Indian politicians and army veterans have called for a muscular response to the assault, including air strikes on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir.
The two neighbours have fought three wars since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack in a statement and said he hoped all sides would “prioritise the re-establishment of stability and prevent any further loss of life”.
Indian military is going to turn the heat on Pakistan, reported the Times of India and added the country’s security establishment wants Delhi to consider “limited but punitive cross-border strikes” to send a clear message to Islamabad.
TOI reported a source as saying that Modi government would have to take a considered decision on conventional cross-border strikes because of possible escalation into a full-fledged conflict.
The tension between Pakistan and India is on a rise amid Sunday’s attack on an Indian army base in the held Kashmir in which 17 soldiers were killed and months of violence and protests in the valley claiming lives of more than 100 Kashmiris.
India has directly blamed Pakistan for the worst such attack on its army base in the disputed region for over a decade while it has always alleged that Pakistan provides support to separatist groups in the valley who want freedom from Indian rule or a merger with Pakistan.
Islamabad on Monday accused New Delhi of trying to deflect attention from that unrest with what it called “vitriolic and unsubstantiated statements”.
“It is a blatant attempt on India’s part to deflect attention from the fast deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir since the death of Burhan Wani,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
World leaders are meeting in New York, United States this week to attend the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif intends to highlight the issue of Kashmir.