At a time of mounting tension between Pakistan and India, reports are surfacing that one Indian soldier has been captured by Pakistani forces along the disputed border in Kashmir.
Recent events have led to talk of the possibility of nuclear war between the two neighbors, who have a history of armed conflict. The situation looks to have taken a turn for the worse after media reports said that an Indian soldier has been captured inside Pakistani territory, according to Reuters.
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India confirms capture of Indian soldier
“It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control,” an Indian army official said in New Delhi.
UPDATE: That, however, doesn’t appear to have led to the soldier’s capture according to The Express Tribune, which is reporting that after contacting the Pakistan military’s media wing, ISPR, the paper was told that no Indian soldier is in the custody of Pakistan’s Army.
Surgical strike claim disputed by Pakistan
In another incident it has been reported that Indian soldiers have been killed after an exchange of fire across the Line of Control. According to a statement from ISPR, the exchange of fire started at 2:30 a.m. and continued until 8:00 a.m.
After the event a joint press conference was held in New Delhi by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence. DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh claimed that surgical strikes had been undertaken by Indian forces against “terror launch pads along the LoC.”
India accuses Pakistan of masterminding a recent terror attack that left 18 soldiers dead at an Indian military base in Kashmir. Officials claim that the militants crossed the border from Pakistan before carrying out the attack.
In this latest incident the Indian DGMO said that “some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launchpads along the Line of Control.”
“The Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launchpads,” he continued. “Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them… The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased.”
Threat of nuclear war looms large
Claims of a surgical strike were rubbished by Pakistani officials. “The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects,” a military statement said. “This quest by the Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as a surgical strike is fabrication of the truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, the same will be strongly responded.”
In response to India, Pakistani officials maintain that they are ready to deal with any threat. “PAF is always alert and ready to issue a befitting response to foreign aggression,” said a spokesperson for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
The situation in Kashmir threatens to boil over after increasingly aggressive rhetoric from both sides. The prospect of conflict is a serious one given the fact that both nations possess nuclear weapons.
While these nuclear arsenals have discouraged military action from either side in the past, there are increasingly strong calls for war. It must be hoped that a peaceful solution can be found.