A group of heavily armed Pakistani intruders shot and killed five Indian soldiers in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir in an audacious cross-border strike that threatened to derail the peace dialogue between the two countries.
The assault on Monday night triggered an uproar in Parliament amid allegations that the attackers included members of Pakistani army, a charge that was denied by Islamabad.
Defence minister AK Antony told Parliament that the attack was carried out by “terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan army uniform.”
At midnight, a group of six soldiers left Cheetah Post on a patrol along the Indian side of the Line of Control, 180 km southwest of Srinagar, said a senior army official who didn’t want to be named. Barely an hour into the patrol, the group was ambushed by 20 heavily armed men, many of who were wearing Pakistani army fatigues.
Details were sketchy, but there was an exchange of fire for about 15 minutes in which four men of 21 Bihar and one of 14 Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) were killed. An MLI soldier was also injured in the attack, one of the worst since the 2003 ceasefire between the two countries.
The attack is likely to cast a shadow over India’s efforts to resume talks with Pakistan that were stalled after a similar strike on in Mendhar sector, barely 30km from the place of Tuesday’s ambush.