Seven soldiers – two Army officers and five jawans – were killed in a militant attack on an Army artillery unit in the town of Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, Defence Ministry spokesperson Manish Mehta confirmed. He said the attack was carried out by three militants, who were all killed in retaliatory firing.
The attack began when the militants threw grenades at the camp around 5.30 am on Tuesday. The Army has cordoned off the surrounding region and stopped traffic. Schools were also shut down in the area. The site of the attack serves as headquarters for the Army’s 16 Corps, part of the military formation in charge of security on the border and anti-militancy operations, The Indian Express reported.
Katra region, including the Vaishno Devi shrine and other religious places were put on high alert after the attack. “We have been conducting regular vehicles checking and there is patrol going on. All the suspects are being questioned and there are few detentions too,” Shailendra Mishra, Senior Superintendent of Police told ANI.
About the attack, Jammu and Kashmir’s Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said, “It is Pakistan’s desperation but it won’t succeed as India is not a weak country to be affected by it.”
Separately, one Border Security Force jawan was injured and two militants were killed after the security force intercepted a group of people attempting to cross the border at Ramgarh, which is located in the state’s Samba sector, ANI reported. Firing is still on between the militants and BSF personnel there.
The two attacks come as Pakistani Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa prepares to take over as the chief of the country’s Army. On Monday, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said that there would be no “immediate change” in the country’s military policy under Bajwa’s leadership.
Asif said Islamabad’s focus would continue to remain on the country’s border with India. His appointment comes at a time when relations between Islamabad and Delhi have worsened following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on militant camps along the LoC on September 29.