More than 60 Indian soldiers have been killed and many more maimed and injured in deadly skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC) since February 27, Pakistan’s chief military spokesperson said on Saturday.
The heavily-militarised LoC divides the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir between Pakistan and India where troops from the two countries routinely exchange fire.
Tension has been running high between the two bitter neighbours since Feb 27 when Pakistani fighter jets carried out air strikes in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and shot down two Indian warplanes in subsequent dogfights in retaliation for an abortive air raid by Indian aircraft in Pakistani territory a day earlier.
LoC skirmishes have become more frequent and deadlier since the Feb 27 air battle with Indian troops deliberately targeting civilian population in violation of all military norms.
Over 60 Indian soldiers have been killed and many more injured on the LoC by Pakistani troops since February 27, the Pakistani military spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor wrote on his personal Twitter handle on Saturday.
“Since Feb 27, 19 Pak Army has killed over 60 Indian soldiers on LoC besides injuring many & destroying their bunkers,” he wrote.
“[Indian] Artillery gun positions also damaged [and] forced to relocate. 2 IAF [Indian Air Force] jets shot down by PAF, 2 helis met fratricide under fear. Indian navy under deterrence,” DG ISPR Maj Gen Ghafoor added.
Since 27 Feb 19 Pak Army has killed over 60 Indian soldiers on LOC besides injuring many & destroying their bunkers. Artillery gun positions also damaged forced to relocate. 2 IAF Jets shot down by PAF, 2 helis met fratricide under fear. Indian Navy under deterrence.#CostForCDS— Asif Ghafoor (@peaceforchange) October 26, 2019
He was referring to a deadly helicopter crash – also on Feb 27 – which later Indian investigation confirmed had been shot down by India’s own missile in the fog of war.
Another helicopter carrying Indian army’s Northern Command commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and his staff crash-landed in Poonch in Jammu region last Thursday following a “technical snag”. He survived though.
The Indian army chief, General Bipin Rawat, claimed earlier this month that they have destroyed so-called “terror launch pads” on Pakistani side of the LoC – a claim which was debunked by Pakistan the very next day when foreign diplomats and media persons were flown to the area where Delhi had destroyed supposed “launch pads”.
Maj Gen Ghafoor’s tweets came a day after the Indian army chief made provocative statements about Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, triggering an angry retort from the Pakistani military’s spokesperson.
“The Indian COAS repeatedly provoking war through irresponsible statements endangering regional peace for electioneering of political masters,” he said in a series of tweets late Friday night. He said Gen Rawat has turned the Indian army into a ‘rogue force’ for the myopic gains of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indian COAS repeatedly provoking war through irresponsible statements endangering regional peace for electioneering of political masters. From fake surgical strike todate his only success has been to turn Indian Army into a rogue force and getting them killed.(1of2).— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) October 25, 2019
“From fake surgical strike to date his only success has been to turn Indian Army into a rogue force and getting them killed,” Maj Gen Ghafoor further said while referring to the false claims of the Indian army chief which have been unmasked.
“Indian army chief’s statements coupled with blood of innocents on hand, losses to Indian forces at the hands of Pakistan Armed Forces, heli crashes due to so called tech fault cum fratricide just to become Indian CDS is actually at the cost of professional military ethos,” he said in another tweet.
Indian Army Chief’s statements coupled with blood of innocents on hand, losses to Indian forces at the hands of Pakistan Armed Forces, heli crashes due to so called tech fault cum fratricide just to become Indian CDS is actually at the cost of professional military ethos.(2of2).— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) October 25, 2019
Analysts say that the Indian military is frustrated by the Pakistani expose. And Gen Rawat’s provocative statements are a telling example of his embarrassment. Pakistan’s military and foreign ministry had invited India’s envoy in an unprecedented move to accompany 23 foreign diplomats and media persons on the LoC tour to see for himself Gen Rawat’s lies being unmasked.
New Delhi, however, declined the offer because, according to Maj Gen Ghafoor, the “Indian High Commission staff didn’t have the moral courage to accompany fellow diplomats in Pakistan to LoC”. Neither did India provide the coordinates of the “terror launch pads” they claim to have decimated.