Wednesday 19 December 2018

India defence minister warns Pakistan after attack on army camp

Nirmala Sitharaman claimed gunmen belonging to the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed were behind the assault in Jammu.

The family of Indian army soldier Madan Lal Choudhary attend his funeral after the weekend attack (AP)
The family of Indian army soldier Madan Lal Choudhary attend his funeral after the weekend attack (AP)

By Dar Yasin

India’s defence minister has said the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was behind an attack on an army camp in Indian-controlled Kashmir – and warned Islamabad that it “would pay for this misadventure”.

Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in Jammu, the site of the attack, that New Delhi would present Pakistan with evidence of the involvement of the outlawed militant group and its leader Masood Azhar, who “derived support” from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it rejected all “insinuations” from Indian officials and media, adding: “We are confident that the world community would take due cognisance of India’s smear campaign against Pakistan, and the deliberate creation of war hysteria.”

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Indian army soldiers pay tribute to their colleague Madan Lal Choudhary (AP)

At least three armed men attacked the Sunjuwan army camp at dawn on Saturday and fought Indian troops for more than 48 hours while holed up in the residential area of the camp. The attack left five soldiers and one civilian dead and 11 others injured.

In 2016, India blamed the same group for an attack on another army camp in Indian-held Kashmir that left 17 soldiers dead.

In continuing violence in the troubled Himalayan region, one paramilitary soldier was killed on Monday when two gunmen opened fire near a paramilitary camp in Srinagar, the region’s main city.

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India's defence minister has said Pakistan 'will pay' over the attack (AP)

Kashmir is divided between India and arch-rival Pakistan. Both claim the region in its entirety.

Anti-Indian sentiment runs deep among Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population.

Several militant groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. Around 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the militants, a charge it denies.

Press Association

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