Ambush by men wearing Pakistan Army uniform; Antony does not blame Pakistan directly

In a deadly instance of firing on Indian Army troops on the Line of Control from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, five Indian soldiers died in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Defence sources said that an unsuspecting Army patrol walked into an ambush by 15 to 20 men, wearing Pakistan Army uniform, close to Sarla and Chhaja posts, about one kilometre from the cross-LoC Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) of Chakan Da Bagh, in the early hours of Tuesday. Five soldiers were killed in the intense firing. Four of them were from the 21 Bihar Regiment and one from the Maratha Light Infantry.

One soldier managed to hide himself behind the bushes of the unit but sustained injuries. He was later evacuated and treated at a military hospital in Poonch. The arms and ammunition of the soldiers were reportedly looted but Defence officials declined to confirm or deny. The officials said that the ambush had been laid at a vantage point between the barbed wire fencing and the Zero Line of the LoC. “It’s intrusion, not a routine incident of ceasefire violation”, said an official.

Senior Army officials maintained that the ambush had been laid on the Indian side, 350 metres short of the Zero Line of LoC by a Border Action Team of the lately deployed Mujahid Battalion of the Pakistani Army. They said it was a professional assault carried out by regular Pakistani troops along with a few heavily armed and highly trained militants. Asked about the Pakistani claim that its regulars had not carried out the ambush, sources insisted that the neighbouring country’s Army had not outsourced its border manoeuvres to the guerrillas.

Military officials in Pakistan denied that any such incident took place. “No such incident has taken place on LoC as there was no violation of the ceasefire by our troops,” a military official in Islamabad told PTI.