October 2016 News
Had There Been Any Surgical Strike, Pakistan Would Have Retaliated: Abdul Basit12 October 2016
Times of India
New Delhi: Dismissing as 'fictional' New Delhi's statement that the Indian Army had executed successful 'surgical strikes' against terror launch pads across the Line of Control on September 29, Pakistan high commissioner to India Abdul Basit claimed on Wednesday that Islamabad would have 'immediately retaliated' if that indeed had been the case. Basit said India's claim that it has conclusive video evidence of the surgical strikes seems 'fabricated' as the sting operation conducted by an Indian television channel showed a police superintendent at Mirpur, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, telephonically confirming the cross-border action by Indian Special Forces. 'No such surgical strikes took place. There was only cross-border firing by Indian troops (on September 29), in which two Pakistan army soldiers were murdered. Pakistan responded to it immediately and proportionately,' Basit said in an interview to a television channel. 'Had there been any surgical strike, Pakistan would have retaliated immediately...we did not need any reaction time. It seems to me the term surgical strike is being used very loosely in India... no Indian soldiers crossed the LoC... there was only cross-border firing,' he said. As reported by TOI earlier, the Indian government has not released evidence of the surgical strikes in the shape of video footage, photographs or infrared images because it does not want to push the Pakistan army into a corner, nor compromise operational details, tactics, techniques and equipment used in the cross-LoC raids. Basit also brushed aside the article written by Pakistan's well-known defence expert Ayesha Siddiqa which said Indian troops had indeed crossed the LoC to kill five to six militants and injure three to four soldiers at at least one place in Dudhnial, POK, on September 29. 'I do not know what the basis of her statement is... She is a good friend of mine,' he said. The envoy reacted similarly to the much-talked-about article by journalist Cyril Almeida in the newapaper Dawn about the rift between the Nawaz Sharif government and the Pakistan army leadership over the latter's covert support to militants and the consequent diplomatic isolation of Pakistan. While Dawn has stood by its story, Basit said the Pakistan PMO had 'rejected the story' firmly. The Pakistani envoy said he 'did not see desire' on the part of India to engage with Pakistan on 'the core issue' of Kashmir. 'By blaming Pakistan or calling it a terrorist state (after the terror attack on the Indian Army's Uri camp), you are closing all doors for cooperation,' he said. After the Uri attack, India had walked out of the Saarc summit in Islamabad, which had to be cancelled after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan followed suit soon after. 'It was a huge setback and loss for all countries...But we are confident that Pakistan will hold the Saarc summit next year, if not later this year,' said the Pakistani envoy.