September 2016 News

Military Build-up Along LoC

22 September 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi: India and Pakistan are locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, testing each other's nerves and military acumen. Since the terror attack on the Army camp in Uri sector on September 18, in which 18 soldiers were killed, there have been enough noises on either side to indicate that matters could turn worse. Any movement, rotation of troops or fighter pilots conducting night sorties - all routine matters - are being observed in detail on either side of the border. Ever since the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, made it clear that 'the Indian Army reserves the right to respond at a place and time of its choosing', a wary Pakistan Army has effected certain changes. Pakistan daily 'Dawn' has cited the partial closure of two motorways, M1 (Peshawar-Islamabad) and M2 (Lahore-Islamabad), as a fallout. However, the National Highway Authority of Pakistan termed it 'routine maintenance work'. The two main arteries of the country's road network are used by Pakistan to build up troops along the LoC, a 749-km-long de facto boundary that divides J&K between India and Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force landed fighter jets on one of these motorways, an exercise undertaken to practise landings in case runways are damaged by the enemy. Pakistan calls this exercise 'highmark', which is conducted once in five years. The assessment is that the Pakistan Army may be preparing to counter a possible strike by the Indian forces. Sources said so far there had been no overt display of movement of troops or equipment. 'Both sides want to hide their intent, if any,' said an officer.