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Militants storm Indian Army base in Uri, kill 17 soldiers

19 September 2016

In one of the worst terror attacks on the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir, 17 soldiers were killed and 19 injured on Sunday morning when four heavily armed fidayeen militants stormed into the administrative buildings and store complex of an infantry battalion in Uri, home of the 12 Infantry Brigade, near the Line of Control (LoC).

The four terrorists were neutralised after a three-hour long gunfight. As per the initial probe, the militants belonged to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack, Army chief General Dalbir Singh and defence minister Manohar Parrikar flew to Srinagar to take stock of the situation.

A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held at his 7 Race Course Road resident, with home minister Rajnath Singh, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, finance minister Arun Jaitley, Army chief Dalbir Singh, and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

According to reports, the leadership said that a military offensive would be a knee-jerk reaction and India might refrain from something like that. The more doable options are an artillery offensive at the Line of Control on terror camps.

Discussing India's counter to the Uri attack, senior Cabinet ministers said that a diplomatic offensive at the upcoming UN meet in New York will be India's immediate response. "Intelligence-based offensive targeting Uri masterminds is doable too," sources told CNN-News18.

Meanwhile, the Indian military is determined to turn the heat on Pakistan in the aftermath of Uri base attack, The Times of India reported.

The Indian Army for its part has reportedly resolved to use concentrated artillery barrages and sniping operations and has formally requested the Modi government to consider ''limited but punitive'' cross-border strikes to send a message to Pakistan, which it holds responsible for the attack.

''Yes, there will be retaliation from the other side but it can be dealt with,'' The Times of India reported a source as saying.

The Centre is hoping that all major political parties will be onboard with whatever decision the Modi government takes against the perpetrators of the Uri attack. Reports also said that the Centre might call for an all-party meeting to discuss the future course of action.

"No decision will be taken in a hurry," sources told TV channels. The central leadership also hoped that Uri terror attack won't be politicised for brownie points.

The United States meanwhile condemned the attacks. ''The US strongly condemns terrorist attack on Indian army base in Kashmir and we extend our condolences,'' US Secretary of State John Kirby Tweeted.

Consolation awards
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav announced financial assistance of Rs20 lakh each to the families of jawans from UP who lost their lives in attack. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar announces Rs5 lakh for the families of soldiers from the state who lost their lives in Uri, while Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das announced Rs10 lakh for the families of soldiers from the state who lost their lives in the attack.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti visited the 92 Base hospital to meet soldiers injured during the attack on Sunday.

''My son was 22 years old. He was a junior. Normally seniors are sent there, why was my son sent to that spot? Government should condemn this and ensure strict punishment to those who have killed my son,'' said the father of one of killed soldier G Dalai.

''Strictest of punishment should be given to those who have killed my son. He called me on Thursday, said I will go from here ... bombs are being thrown. .. they will kill us,'' said Dalai's mother.

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