In a rare admission of casualties, the Pakistani army has today said that seven of its soldiers were killed by Indian shelling overnight.
Sources in the Indian Army said they cannot divulge what heavy weapons were used last night in response to unprovoked firing from Pakistan in the Bhimber sector along the Line of Control in Kashmir.
But late last week, the army in a tweet referred to its use of “fire assault with heavy weapons being directed on many Pak posts,” indicating an escalation in the firepower used.
“The international community should pay attention,” Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif told Geo News TV. “It can escalate. This could be catastrophic for the region.”
Sources did not respond to reports in Pakistan that last night’s incident involved anti-tank guided missiles which are shoulder-launched tactical weapons which can be used to destroy bunkers and posts. 120 mm heavy mortars, which have been used by both sides, are also considered artillery weapons those these have less firepower than artillery guns. Both sides have also deployed artillery guns which Pakistan now claims has been used by the Indian Army in last night’s retaliation.
The details underscore that the ceasefire along the Line of Control, agreed upon in 2003, is now virtually defunct.
India’s High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale has reportedly been summoned this afternoon by the Pakistan government so it can lodge a formal complaint.
Since India carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan on September 29, cross-border firing has escalated significantly. Islamabad denies that Indian troops crossed into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to target areas used to gather terrorists. The cross-border raids took place days after Pakistani terrorists attacked an army base in Uri in Kashmir, leaving 19 soldiers dead.
Since the surgical strikes, India has lost 13 military and para-military personnel in cross-border firing.