A soldier was killed and two were injured in an ambush targeting two Army patrols near the Line of Control on Sunday night, in the first major fighting on the frontier since the Lok Sabha election.
Bikhale Uttam Balu, a sepoy with 2 Maratha Light Infantry, was killed when his patrol was fired on from a hilltop near Jogwan Post in the Akhnoor region of Jammu province.
The violence points to challenges ahead for Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, who had made attacks on the LoC a key election issue. In one campaign speech, Mr. Modi called outgoing Defence Minister A.K. Antony a “force for Pakistan” because of his handling of the beheading of two soldiers in January 2013.
Sepoy Balu’s patrol, military sources said, had been despatched to relieve an earlier patrol targeted by IEDs planted along its path, seriously injuring Havildar Vinod Kumar and Lance-Naik Amol Kumar.
Military sources said the ambush had likely been planned over the past week No fire came from across the LoC, the sources said. The attack may have been carried out by a Border Action Team — covert action groups staffed by troops and irregulars who have carried out a number of lethal attacks, such as the January 2013 beheadings, as well as the execution-style killings of five soldiers in August 2013.
The attack was the 15th clash on the LoC this year, one lower than that recorded from January to May 2013, which saw the worst clashes since the 2003 ceasefire.