Two Pakistani soldiers were killed after clashes with Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir, Pakistan’s military said.
The Indian army said it had conducted “surgical attacks” across the de-facto border between the two countries to foil a “terrorist attack,” according to India’s Director General of Military Operations.
But Pakistan insisted that no incursion had taken place into the territory it controls, saying there had only been an exchange of fire. It promised a “forceful response” if there was a repeat of the operation.
India said it had acted to protect its citizens — Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh told reporters on Thursday the strikes had been based on “specific credible information” that militants were planning to carry out strikes in Indian cities, including Jammu.
“The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens in our country,” he said.
A government official told CNN some villages in Jammu, in Indian-administered Kashmir, near the border with Pakistan, had been evacuated.
The incident comes less than two weeks after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by armed militants on an army base in Uri, about 63 miles (102 kilometers) from Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
It was one of the deadliest attacks to take place on an army base in Kashmir since militant attacks began in 1989, and sparked a furious war of words between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan leader slams ‘evil designs’
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the latest attack in a statement, calling it “unprovoked and naked aggression” of Indian forces.
He said Pakistan’s forces were capable of defending their territory and would stop any “evil design” against their country.
Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said the country’s army had responded in a “befitting” manner.
“If India tries to do this again we will respond forcefully. India is doing this only to please their media and public,” he said.
‘Fear and tension’ in Kashmir
In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the incident, saying India’s claims to have carried out surgical strikes were “baseless” and accusing India of “deliberately” escalating tensions.
“Such falsified, concocted and irresponsible statements can only escalate the already fragile security situations in the region,” the statement said.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region, has been disputed territory between India and Pakistan for the past 70 years.
Both of the nuclear-armed countries hold separate parts of it and have fought two wars, in 1948 and 1965, over their claims. They came close to a third, in 1999.
Speaking to CNN on Thursday, a resident of Indian-administered Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Chaudhary, said border residents had not forgot the horror of having shells and bullets raining down on their communities.
“The latest developments have set in the fear and tension as the deteriorating situation may trigger cross [border] artillery duels [such as] we have witnessed during the 1990s when several villagers were killed and wounded,” he said.