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India backs off claims of helicopter use to airdrop soldiers

NEW DELHI: Indian government has back off its claim that 150 soldiers were airdropped by a helicopter across the border in Azad Jammu and Kashmir to launch surgical strikes.

The denial came from Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who told The Hindu, a leading Indian daily, that no aerial operations were involved.

Yesterday Indian media ran stories that “150 soldiers” were dropped across LoC by helicopter.

“There were no aerial strikes,” Mr. Rathore, himself an ex-Indian Army man, said.

He confirmed that the Indian Army crossed the LoC “on the ground” for carrying out what he termed were “pre-emptive strikes”.

“That is not like crossing the International Border.” The targets were “launch pads”, he said, which are temporary in nature.

The Indian information minister’s u-turn lends credence to Pakistan version which says its soldiers repulsed ground incursion, Samaa reported.

Pakistan has trashed Indians’ claims of surgical strikes as fabricated and unfounded, saying that Indian resorted to unprovoked shelling on Pakistani posts in five sectors, resulting in the martyrdom of two troops.