July 2017 News

Will Keep Punishing You For LoC Misadventures, India Warns Pakistan

17 July 2017
Times of India
Rajat Pandit

New Delhi: The deadly war of attrition continues along the 778-km Line of Control, with New Delhi issuing another stern warning to Islamabad that it will continue retaliatory punitive fire assaults against Pakistan Army's targeting of Indian troops or providing covering fire to infiltrating terrorists. Director-general of military operations Lt General A K Bhatt conveyed the tough message to his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza over the hotline on Monday, holding the Indian Army 'reserved the right to appropriately' hit back at all ceasefire violations. 'Lt Gen Bhatt said Army was sincere in its efforts about maintaining peace and tranquility along the LoC but there has to be reciprocity. The DGMO was emphatic that Pakistan Army's forward posts continue to actively support infiltration,' said a senior officer. 'He said this was also evident from the continuing sniping operations and targeting of our troops through cross-border actions duly supported by Pak Army troops,' he added. The terror infrastructure in Pakistan and PoK also remains intact, with terrorists once again assembled in infiltration launch pads in close proximity to Pak Army posts along the LoC,' a senior officer said. The DGMO-level talks, which are usually held on Tuesdays, came after Pakistan sought them around 8.30pm on Sunday, soon after four of its soldiers and a civilian were killed when their vehicle on the lower Neelam Valley road came under fire in Athmuqam area of POK. Sources said Indian troops from the 268 Brigade in Keran sector targeted the vehicle, which fell into the Neelam river, with heavy-calibre weapons to retaliate against Pak Army's shelling in Rajouri sector on Saturday. An Indian soldier, Lance Naik Mohammed Nasser (35), a resident of Poonch, had died in the firing. Another Indian soldier, Naik Muddasar Ahmed (37), a resident of Pulwama, and a five-year girl also died in mortar shelling by Pakistani troops in Rajouri sector at 7.30am on Monday, which triggered yet another firing duel just three hours before the DGMOs spoke to each other. The Army has recorded 238 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC (BSF mans the 198-km international border in J&K) already this year, marking a new high in recent times. The violations in 2014 and 2015 stood at 153 and 152, respectively, while the tally was 228 last year. The cross-border duels, with light field guns, antitank guided missiles, heavy mortars, rocket launchers and 'infantry tanks' coming into play, have become particularly intense after the grisly beheading of two Indian soldiers in Krishna Ghati sector on May 1. India had then declared it would 'pro-actively dominate' the LoC by destroying Pak Army posts aiding infiltration, as was reported by TOI. The security forces have also turned the heat on terrorists inside J&K, having killed 103 of them till now this year, while also losing 48 of their own personnel. Infiltration has also registered a jump, with 52 of the 197 attempted bids being successful so far. Lt Gen Bhatt also told his counterpart that Indian troops, apart from retaliating to ceasefire violations, only 'initiated firing' on spotting 'armed intruders' attempting to infiltrate from 'close proximity of Pakistan Army posts' along the LoC. 'He was quite clear on that,' said the officer.