April 2018 News
Army To Maintain Pressure Along LoC With Pakistan As Ceasefire Violations Spike20 April 2018
Times of India
New Delhi: The Army will continue with its strategy to 'pro-actively dominate' the Line of Control with Pakistan, which has seen a staggering 747 ceasefire violations (CFVs) already this year, while taking care to minimize 'collateral damage' during counter-terror operations in the hinterland in Kashmir. The ongoing Army commanders' conference also expressed the need to bring 'radicalized youth' back into the mainstream while reviewing developments like the increase in incidents of stone-pelting protestors trying to disrupt counter-terror operations in the Valley. As per estimates, over 40 youth have joined militant ranks in J&K this year as compared to 128 last year. While 51 terrorists have been killed in J&K this year till now, 27 soldiers have also laid down their lives. 'The commanders felt priority must be accorded towards ushering peaceRadicalized youth must be brought into the mainstream by carrying out de-radicalization and a collective approach that focuses on convincing the youth to shun violence and the gun culture,' said director-general (staff duties) Lt-General A K Sharma on Friday. But the fierce cross-border firing duels are unlikely to ebb, with 2018 all set to record the highest number of CFVs in the last 15 years since the ceasefire along the 778-km LoC, the 198-km International Border (IB) in J&K and the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen came into force in November 2003. The ceasefire, of course, has been blown to bits. The spike in cross-border hostilities after the 'surgical strikes' in September 2016 saw as many as 860 CFVs along the LoC and another 120 along the IB in 2017. There have been 747 CFVs along the LoC in just the first 110 days of this year. 'We will not relent till Pakistan takes concrete steps to stop exporting terror into India,' said a senior officer. The Army commanders' conference, of course, also focused on the operational situation along the 4,057-km long Line of Actual Control, stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, with China. 'The senior commanders deliberated at length on the prevailing situation along the northern borders, the capacity-building endeavours, including infrastructure development and measures to give them the requisite impetus,' said Lt-Gen Sharma. India has managed to complete only 28 of the 73 'strategic' all-weather roads, with more east-west lateral links as well as better access routes to strategic peaks and valleys, identified for construction along the LAC almost two decades ago, as was reported earlier by TOI. The construction of 14 'strategic' railway lines on the fronts with China and Pakistan, which was approved by the defence ministry in 2010, is yet to even take off despite the Army identifying three lines in the north-east and one in J&K as top priority.