December 2019 News

Situation Along LoC Can Escalate Any Time, We Are Prepared: Rawat

18 December 2019
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Amidst ever increasing tension on the Line of Control (LoC), the latest one being on December 16 when two Indian soldiers were martyred while two Pakistan army personnel and three infiltrators were gunned down in retaliatory action by the Indian Army, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Bipin Rawat said today that situation along the LoC can escalate any time and the country has to be prepared for escalatory matrix. His statement comes amidst complaints by Pakistan army that the Indian troops have moved ahead of fencing at some places on the LoC to target infiltrators and their launch pads as there were reports that Pakistani troops were planning to push the trained militants into Jammu and Kashmir. Gen Rawat will be succeeded by the Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane on December 31 as he will complete his term. 'The situation along the Line of Control can escalate anytime. We have to be prepared for escalatory matrix,' Gen Rawat said. The statement assumed significance as there was spurt in ceasefire violations by Pakistan army on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. While some Indian Army jawans and civilians have been martyred in shelling and firing, Pakistan army has suffered heavy casualties and infrastructural losses in retaliatory shelling by the Indian troops. Army has been in very high state of alert all along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir since February 14 Pulwama attack in South Kashmir followed by Indian air raids at Balakote targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in which number of militants were killed. The alert was further heightened post August 5 decisions of the Central Government on J&K. While there was no official confirmation of the Indian Army going ahead of fencing to target the infiltrators and their launch pads which they were using to enter into the Indian territory with support of Pakistani troops, sources pointed out that fencing has been erected well within the Indian territory and there was nothing wrong for the Army to go ahead if they observe movement of the intruders to eliminate them. Pakistan army has complained that the Indian troops targeted their posts by crossing the fence. Sources, however, said that the Army has every right to target infiltrators and their launch pads well before they could make attempts to enter into the Indian territory. 'On a number of occasions, the troops have observed movement of armed militants at launch pads on Pakistan side of the LoC and they were being fully aided and abetted by the Pakistan army. Pre-emptive action had to be taken to neutralize the infiltrators as their intrusions could have lead to terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir,' sources said. Pakistan has also complained that the Indian Army has completely removed fencing from some parts of the LoC. According to sources, Pakistan army was completely frustrated as it has failed to push trained militants into Jammu and Kashmir despite giving cover to the infiltrators for which it has also drawn flak from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Khan and Bajwa, who have repeatedly been touring Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) including the LoC, had recently reprimanded the field commanders for their failure to push militants into Jammu and Kashmir post August 5 to step up the militant activities in the newly created Union Territory. Only a day before, there had been spurt in Indo-Pak skirmishes along the LoC in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district and Gurez in Bandipora district in which two Indian Army soldiers were martyred while two Pakistan army personnel and three infiltrators were killed.