ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Wednesday rejected accusations by the Indian government that Islamabad was involved in a recent series of drone strikes against military installations in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Two drones packed with explosives hit and damaged an Indian Air Force station in Jammu city on Sunday morning, in what was the first attack of this kind in the country. India’s military said it intercepted several additional drones on Monday and Tuesday in the air near Kaluchak and Kunjwani military stations.
After another such incident on Wednesday, G. Kishan Reddy, India’s minister of state for home affairs, told news agency Asia News International that although investigations are continuing, “one cannot deny the role of Pakistan.”
In response, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that said: “Pakistan categorically rejects the irresponsible and misleading statement by Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy regarding an alleged drone attack in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“This is a familiar Indian ploy to externalize any blame, use baseless allegations against Pakistan as a smokescreen, and seek to undermine the indigenous struggle for self-determination of the Kashmiri people.”
Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim it in full and rule it in part. Two of the three wars between nuclear-armed neighbors were fought over control of the region. The drone strikes took place against the backdrop of the resumption in February of a 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries.
The Indian military blamed Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, two banned Pakistani militant groups, for the strikes and alleged that they have “state support.”
Lt. Gen. D. P. Pandey, commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, said in an interview with New Delhi-based broadcaster NDTV that the attacks “indicate state-supported systems and technology … and state-supported, or state-sponsored, technology definitely indicates Jaish and Lashkar.”
He added: “Every time there is stability in the Kashmir Valley or the Jammu and Kashmir region, as we have seen recently, there will always be the introduction of new systems or actors to counter this.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Indian accusations are an example of New Delhi’s false flag operations designed to “malign Pakistan with terrorism-related allegations for narrow political gains.”
It added: “The use of the Pakistan card either to win an election or to divert attention from an electoral defeat has also, unfortunately, become a standard practice.”