Jammu: The villages in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, which are 10 km from the international border with Pakistan, are being evacuated while additional Border Security Force (BSF) troops have moved in closer following India’s surgical strikes in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and keeping in view a Pakistani retaliation.
The evacuation of the villages in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir comes barely hours after the Indian Army announced it had conducted the surgical strikes inside PoK, killing 38 suspected infiltrators preparing to enter India.
Amid heightened tension between the two countries, the BSF has also cancelled the beating retreat ceremony at Wagah border in Punjab for today. Leaves of Army soldiers and BSF jawans have also been cancelled
Eleven days after terrorists killed 18 Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri area, Indian Special Forces targeted “some terrorist teams” positioned at launch pads on the LoC, the Army announced.
The surgical strikes have raised the possibility of a military escalation between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.
The Army’s surgical operation inside PoK has triggered a sharp warning from Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who warned that Pakistan’s “intent for peaceful neighbourhood should not be mistaken as our weakness”.
Pakistan, however, has denied any surgical strike by India, but its Army has admitted to the death of two soldiers in cross-LoC firing by Indian troops earlier today.
India has been ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan, seeking to diplomatically isolate it at the UN General Assembly in New York and winning expressions of condemnation from the US, Britain and France over the Uri terror attack.
China, another of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and a traditional ally of Pakistan, has urged dialogue between the two antagonists.
On Wednesday, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan backed India in boycotting Pakistan, which is supposed to host this year’s edition of the SAARC summit in Islamabad in November. SAARC chair Nepal has indicated that the South Asian group summit may be called off.