India must refrain from any "misadventure across the Line of Control," Pakistan's foreign ministry says after suspected rebels stormed an Indian army base in disputed Kashmir in an attack India says was carried out by a Pakistan-based group.
Pakistan warned India against cross-border strikes in the disputed region of Kashmir after Indian authorities blamed a Pakistan-based group for an attack on an army camp in which ten people including five soldiers were killed.
The warning came as Indian troops battled suspected rebels in Srinagar – the main city of the Himalayan region – in an ongoing attack.
Saturday's attack on the Sunjuwan army base in the Jammu region of India-administered Kashmir was the worst in months. The attack, which has stretched into its third day, forced the Indian army to deploy tanks and helicopters to counter the rebels.
India said the heavily armed attackers were members of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) rebel group, drawing criticism from Pakistan about rushing to judgment without a full inquiry.
"It is a well established pattern that Indian officials begin making irresponsible statements and levelling unfounded allegations, even before any proper investigation in any incident has been initiated," Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement.
No group, including the JeM, has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
Pakistan is confident that the world community would take due cognizance of #India's smear campaign against #Pakistan, and the deliberate creation of war hysteria: Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal pic.twitter.com/MbEe7OLo7R— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) February 12, 2018
India diverting attention?
Pakistan said India was making these allegations to divert attention from its brutality in trying to control the armed revolt in disputed Kashmir and warned against any retaliatory measures across the de facto border, Line of Control (or LoC), that divides Kashmir between the nuclear-armed countries.
"We hope that the international community would urge India to stop the untold atrocities and gross violations of human rights in IoK (Indian Occupied Kashmir) (and) refrain from any misadventure across the Line of Control..." it said.
India has long accused Pakistan of training and arming rebels and helping them infiltrate across the heavily militarised LoC into India-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan denies that charge, saying it only offers political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris fighting against Indian soldiers in their struggle for self-determination.
In 2016, India said its elite troops had crossed the LoC into Pakistan and carried out a raid on rebel camps after 18 soldiers were killed in an attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir.
Islamabad denies the Indian army crossed over the de facto border to launch the 'surgical strikes'.
Jammu & Kashmir: Encounter underway at CRPF camp in Srinagar's Karan Nagar. 23 Bn CRPF engaged in firing; Visuals deferred by unspecified time pic.twitter.com/mHFf3UNHyf— ANI (@ANI) February 12, 2018
Another camp targeted
On Monday, armed rebels stormed a camp of Indian paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar, the main city of India-administered Kashmir, killing at least one soldier and injuring another in the ongoing fighting.
According to Greater Kashmir, a local English-language newspaper, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfit claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
"Indian forces are not equipped with the knowledge of war tactics, the evidence being the Sunjuwan army camp where a handful of freedom fighters held their stronghold for several hours. It is the Indian forces who are used to picking up their dead for several consecutive days," LeT said in its statement.
A spokesman for the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force said the building near the camp has been cleared of all civilians.
Police said the area has been cordoned off and troops are exchanging fire with the gunmen.
Kashmir has remained divided between Pakistan and its nuclear rival India since 1947 when the British vacated the subcontinent. Both claim the region in its entirety.
Several rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.
Around 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the popular armed revolt.
New Delhi has stationed over half a million troops in the region where anti-India sentiment runs deep, with most people supporting the rebel cause and seeking a UN-brokered plebiscite in the region.