In one of the deadliest attacks on the Indian Army in recent years, four heavily armed militants stormed battalion headquarters, killing 17 jawans and injuring 19 other personnel. The attack took place yesterday in a town called Uri, located in North Kashmir. Explosions and gun fire took many lives at 4 AM yesterday. The jawans of Dogra Regiment were engulfed in an explosion that set fire to their tent. While the four terrorists have been neutralised, the toll is worse than the raid that took place in Punjab in January. The attack then came soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore.
Because diplomacy hasn’t worked so far, Indian veteran diplomats and experts seem to be bent on retaliation this time around. They said India has varied options for a ‘measured and effective’ response. While after the attack in January, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there was no reason to distrust Pakistan, the death of the 17 jawans yesterday seems to have changed that. He tweeted, “ Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such. There are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators of Uri attack were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped. I am deeply disappointed with Pakistan’s continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups.”
On the other hand, Pakistan’s experts claim, the attack is an attempt to divert attention from their campaign against the Indian police action in Kashmir, claiming that ‘India has a history of blaming (them)’. Pakistan flat-out denied the allegations and called them ‘baseless and irresponsible’. Just the night before the Uri attack, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News, “I don’t think there is any immediate threat (of a war with India) but as Allah has said in the Quran, the horses should be ready. Our readiness should be complete at all times. We are always pressurised time and again that our tactical (nuclear) weapons, in which we have a superiority, that we have more tactical weapons than we need. It is internationally recognised that we have a superiority and if there is a threat to our security or if anyone steps on our soil and if someone’s designs are a threat to our security, we will not hesitate to use those weapons for our defence.”
There has been no claim of responsibility yet. Pakistan has called on the United Nations and the international community to investigate the allegations against it for cross-border terrorism. United Nations will hold its annual general assembly meeting in New York soon, Kashmir might be on the agenda.
Our hearts go out to the 17 soldiers’ friends and families, and to the ones injured.