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5 Indian soldiers killed in Pak ambush at LoC

Last updated on: August 06, 2013 16:55 IST

Pakistani troops entered Indian territory along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir past midnight on Tuesday and ambushed a patrol killing five Indian soldiers.

Media sources identified the soldiers, who belonged to the 21 Bihar Unit, as Naik Prem Nath Singh, Lance Naik Shambhu Saran Ray, Vyay Kumar Ray, Raghunandan Prasad and Naik Pundalik Mane

Defence sources said the Pakistani soldiers, numbering about 20, intruded into the Indian territory past midnight and ambushed the patrol party at the Sarla post on the Indian side of the LoC.

“A patrol of Indian army comprising of one non commissioned officer and five other Ranks was ambushed by the Pakistan Border Action Team close to the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir early this morning,” a defence spokesman said in a statement.

“In the ensuing fire fight, five Indian soldiers were martyred. The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily-armed terrorists along with soldiers of Pakistan army.”

“This action is a likely consequence of frustrations of the terrorists’ tanzeeems and Pakistan Army due to successful elimination of 19 hardcore terrorists in the months of July and August along the LoC and in the hinterland of Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement said.

“The effective counter infiltration grid on the LoC has ensured 17 infiltration bids foiled this year resulting in killing of a total of 13 hardcore Pakistan-trained terrorists. The numbers of such attempts have doubled this year in comparison to the corresponding period of 2012,” the statement added.

“Pak army’s desperation is also evident in the substantial increase in the number of ceasefire violations this year. There have been 57 ceasefire violations this year which is almost 80 percent more than the violations last year,” the statement said.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "(I) was briefed early this morning about the news that five of our soldiers had been killed on the LoC. My heartfelt condolences to their next of kin. These incidents don't help efforts to normalise or even improve relations with Pak and call in to question the Pak Govt's recent overtures."

The issue rocked Parliament on Tuesday with members in both Houses demanding a strong response from the government.

Pakistan Army has denied any involvement in the killing of five Indian soldiers at the Line of Control in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

"No such incident has taken place on LoC as there was no violation of the ceasefire by our troops," a military official told PTI.

The incident could cast a shadow on the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue process. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are slated to meet in New York next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The dialogue process was put on hold following the beheading of an Indian soldier and another soldier's body found mutilated following the January 8 attack by Pakistani troops in the Poonch sector.

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said the incident will affect the process of normalisation between India and Pakistan.

"The hand of friendship cannot be extended from one side only. Pakistan has to stop the killings of Indian soldiers. The dialogue process cannot resume if such a situation continues," he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the incident has serious defence, security and foreign policy implications.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government should come out with a clear-cut and firm response to the latest Pakistani attack which has become a weekly affair.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi accused the government of laxity in securing Indian borders.

Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India said the government should take up the issue strongly with Pakistan.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said Defence Minister A K Antony will make a statement in Parliament on the issue.

Former Army Chief Shankar Roy Choudhary said India should be wary of any peace overtures of Pakistan.

"This is a serious situation and requires a strong response from the Government," said former Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh.

The incident comes hours after a BSF jawan was injured in firing from across Indo-Pak border in Samba district of J-K.

On July 27, another BSF jawan was injured when Pakistani troops violated ceasefire twice in the space of 10 hours by targeting Indian posts along the Indo-Pak border in Poonch and Kathua districts.

The Pakistani troops had used mortars, RPGs and heavy machine guns leading to heavy firing exchanges.

On July 3, Pakistan violated ceasefire when it fired on cops, who had gone to LoC in Sabzian, Poonch to collect the body of a Pakistani intruder killed in an IED blast on July 1.

Pakistani troops fired on troops trying to evacuate injured porters after two were killed in IED attack by Pakistani militants along LoC in Poonch on July 8.

On July 12, Pakistani Rangers fired on Indian forward posts in Pindi belt along International Border (IB) in Jammu district.

Pakistani troops opened small arms firing on Indian posts in forward area along LoC in Poonch district on the night of July 22.

Additional Inputs: Agencies

Mukhtar Ahmad in Sringar