The Indian Army on Monday said that it had found evidence that Pakistan was involved in mutilating the body of a soldier who was allegedly killed by Pakistani commandos during an encounter in the Macchil sector of Jammu and Kashmir on November 21, The Times of India reported. The Army had promised “heavy retribution” for the death of the soldier, who was reportedly beheaded by a Border Action Team after the encounter.
An officer of the Northern Army Command said “various war-like stores and other supplies” were found during search operations in the area after the battle. The evidence the Army says it found includes food, grenades with Pakistani markings and night vision and radio sets with United States markings, the daily reported. However, Pakistan’s foreign office has denied the country’s involvement in the incident.
The development comes as Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa prepares to take charge as Pakistan’s new army chief on Tuesday. On Monday, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said there would be no “immediate change” in the country’s military policy under Bajwa’s leadership, PTI reported. Asif said Islamabad’s focus would continue to remain on the country’s border with India. “The armed forces backed by the nation will meet all challenges,” he said.
Bajwa, who will take over from outgoing general Raheel Sharif, has previously commanded units responsible for security along the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. His appointment comes at a time when relations between Islamabad and New Delhi have worsened following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on militant camps along the LoC on September 29.
On November 24, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said Pakistan violated the ceasefire agreement between the two countries 27 times between November 12 and November 21. Similarly, Islamabad had claimed that three Pakistani soldiers and nine civilians had been killed in cross-border firing when Indian troops launched a massive attack against Pakistani posts along the LoC.
During unscheduled talks between the director-generals of military operations of the two countries, India had said that the Army had only targeted locations from where Pakistani forces had carried out ceasefire violations.