July 2020 News

Rajnath Visits Key Forward Post In Volatile Keran Sector In North Kashmir

18 July 2020
Manash Pratim Bhuyan

Keran: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday visited a sensitive forward post along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir's volatile Keran sector that has been witnessing frequent incidents of unprovoked firing by Pakistan Army and cross-border infiltration bids by terrorists. The defence minister's visit to the area came a day after he directed the top military brass in Jammu and Kashmir to strongly retaliate to any Pakistani 'misadventure' along the LoC and foil all attempts by the 'adversary' to push terrorists into the Indian side. Singh was accompanied to the high-altitude North Hill post by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen YK Joshi and Commander of Chinar Corps Lt Gen BS Raju among others. Before arriving at the post, Singh visited the holy cave of Amarnath and offered prayers. At the post, the local Army commander briefed Singh about the overall situation in the area and how Indian troops are relentlessly foiling Pakistan Army's attempts in the sector to push terrorists into the Kashmir Valley. 'The visit by the defence minister and the top Army brass to Keran sector is a clear message to Pakistan that India will appropriately respond to its attempts to create problem in Kashmir,' said a senior official on the condition of anonymity. Singh spent around an hour at the post during which he interacted with the soldiers and hailed them for guarding the LoC round-the-clock despite the harsh weather and other trying circumstances. 'The whole country is proud of you all,' Singh told them during the impromptu interaction. Notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic in the region, Pakistan has been resorting to unprovoked ceasefire violations along the LoC and making concerted efforts to push militants into Kashmir. The Pakistani hostilities increased after India announced its decision to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories in August last year. The Keran sector has particularly been witnessing significant rise in number of ceasefire violations and cross border infiltration attempts. The area was the scene of a deadly operation in April in which five elite army commandos laid down their lives while eliminating a group of infiltrating terrorists. The Pakistan Army resorts to border shelling as a cover to help Pakistan-based terrorists infiltrate into Kashmir. 'Visited a forward post near LoC in Kupwara District of Jammu-Kashmir today and interacted with the soldiers deployed there. We are extremely proud of these brave and courageous soldiers who are defending our country in every situation,' Singh tweeted At a security review meeting with top Army officials in Srinagar on Friday, Singh asked them give a befitting reply to any 'misadventure' by Pakistan. Fourteen Indians were killed and 88 sustained injuries in more than 2,432 incidents of unprovoked ceasefire violations carried out by Pakistani forces till June this year, according to official data. In 2019, Pakistani troops resorted to 3,200 ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir which was highest in the last 16 years, according to the data. Of these, 1,565 ceasefire violations took place since between August and December after India reorganised Jammu and Kashmir. In 2018, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 2,936 instances of violation of the 2003 ceasefire by Pakistan. Singh arrived in Srinagar on Friday afternoon on a two-day visit to Kashmir. Earlier on Friday, he had visited forward posts in Stakna and Lukung in eastern Ladakh amid the LAC standoff with China.