LOC

Pak calls on Indian DGMO; India says stop “cover fire”

new-army-ceasefire-loc-pti Representational Image | PTI

Indian Army's Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General A.K. Bhatt got an unexpected call early Monday morning. The beginning of the week was witnessing heavy firing and shelling along the Line of Control with Pakistan. The Indian Army had responded to unprovoked shelling and firing from the Pakistani side.

Concerned over casualties on the Pakistani side, Pakistan DGMO Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza made an unscheduled call to Lt Gen Bhatt. He raised the issue of the Indian Army targetting Pakistani troops that resulted in the death of four Pakistani soldiers. One civilian had also been killed in Athmuqam sector of Pakistan occupied Kashmir opposite Indian Keren sector in Kupwara district.

The admission that four soldiers had been killed on the Pakistani side has given credence to India's claims that infiltration along the LoC has support of the Pakistani Army.

This was conveyed by Lt Gen Bhatt on Monday when he told his counterpart that the firing by Indian troops was initiated against armed intruders attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pakistani posts along the LoC. The request for the DGMO level talks was made by Pakistan.

“The DGMO put across emphatically that the trend of infiltration along the LoC continued with active support of Pak forward posts impacting peace and tranquility along the LoC and also the internal security situation,” official sources said. “This was evidence from continued attempts of sniping and targeting of our troops undertaken through cross border actions duly supported by Pakistani army troops.”

Indian security brass has time and again raised concern over Pakistani army lending support to infiltrating terrorists along the border by engaging Indian troops in firing. The terrorists find safe passage as they stay close to the Pakistani posts before they infiltrate. Monday's exchange of fire was the result of a similar effort from the Pakistani side to support “cover fire” to militants, a security official said.

When the hotline connection was made by Pakistan, New Delhi did not mince words while telling Islamabad that while it is sincere in its efforts of maintaining peace and tranquility along the LoC, there is a need for “reciprocity”.

“Peace and tranquility can be maintained provided there is reciprocity,” Lt Gen Bhatt is learnt to have told his counterpart. But with tension escalating on the border, the Indian DGMO made it clear that the Indian army reserves the “right to retaliate” appropriately to any incident of violation of ceasefire. He said, “Ceasefire violations were initiated by the Pakistani army and the Indian army only responded adequately to them.”

India's strong retaliation has also come at a time when news of a six-year-old girl and a soldier getting killed after Pakistani troops fired mortar shells along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir early Monday morning. The firing was taking place in Bhimber Gali sector of the LoC as well as Mendhar and Balakote sectors. The Bhimber Gali sector runs along Rajouri and Poonch, where the six-year-old came under fire.

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