ReutersNew Delhi, Delhi, IndiaSep 29, 2016, 07.45 AM (IST)
At a joint press briefing organised by the Indian defence and foreign ministries, the director general of military operations (DGMO) and the spokesperson for the Indian foreign ministry said today that the Indian army conducted a "surgical strike" last night on "five terrorist launchpads" across the line of control dividing India and Pakistan.
The DGMO, Lt General Ranbir Singh, said the strike had caused "significant" casualties, that he had called his Pakistani counterpart — as is protocol — to inform him of the operation, and that the operation was no longer active.
But sources told WION the strikes were carried out on eight different terrorist hideouts across five launchpads (used to cross over to the Indian side), that 38 terrorists were killed in under one hour, and that Indian army special forces had been paradropped onto the hideouts which were between 500 mts to 2 kms across the LoC.
ANI reported that the operation lasted from 12.30 am to 4.30 am.
On the Pakistani side, the Dawn newspaper said the Pakistani army "rubbishes reports" of an Indian surgical strike. The Pakistani army said instead that there had "cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India", and that two Pakistani army men had died in the firing.
ANI quoted the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as saying, "We condemn this attack, our desire for peace should not be interpreted as our weakness."
And that "we are ready for the safety and defence of our country".
The Pakistan Army also dismissed India's statements, saying it is a "lie".
Indian claim that terrorist launching pad in Pakistan were targeted is lie: Pakistan Army.
Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also refuted India's claim, saying "the notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects".
"This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as surgical strike is fabrication of truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, same will be strongly responded," said the ISPR in a statement, Geo News reported.
Later, ISPR said two of their army personnel were killed in a heavy exchange of firing between India and Pakistan troops along the border. “Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing on the LoC in Bhimber, Hotspring Kel and Lipa sectors," a statement released by ISPR said.
Hours after the attack, India's home minister Rajnath Singh phoned Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and urged him to quickly start evacuating people living in villages that lie within ten kilometres of the international border. Schools and other establishments located close to the border have also been asked to shut down. The Indian state of Punjab is bordered by Pakistan to the west.
On September 18, eighteen Indian soldiers had died in a terror attack on an army camp in Uri, Kashmir. The attack was blamed on terrorists sent in from Pakistan, and the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi had at the time assured the Indian public that the country would respond at a "time and place of its choosing".
Meanwhile, the Indian stock indices fell sharply as news of the strikes broke. The Sensex fell 465 points to 27,955 and the Nifty fell 108 points to 8,637. The Indian rupee also slid 49 paise (intra-day) against the US dollar to trade at 66.95.
The Pakistan Stock Exchange also took a 500-point hit after the news broke.