Two days after the “surgical strikes” on terror launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited the Northern and Western Commands on Saturday to review India’s operational preparedness along the border with Pakistan.
At the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur, General Singh met the Special Forces personnel who carried out the strikes, and conveyed his appreciation, according to sources.
Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel N N Joshi said the Army Chief was briefed by Lt Gen D S Hooda, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, on the overall security situation.
In Chandigarh, the Army Chief was briefed by GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen Surinder Singh.
General Singh interacted with the corps commanders, senior formation commanders and made a first-hand assessment of the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness.
Meanwhile, firing and mortar shelling by Pakistan continued at some places along the LoC. In Pallanwalla sector of Akhnoor, there has been continuous shelling since Friday morning. There was intense mortar shelling in the area in the early hours of Saturday, forcing nearly 5,000 villagers to move to safer areas.
Sources said the mortar shelling started at around 3 am and continued till 8 am.
However, no loss of life has been reported. According to sources, this was the second ceasefire violation along the LoC in Akhnoor sector in the last 24 hours. Pakistani troops resorted to mortar shelling at Chapriyal and Samwan on Friday too.
Barring a few people, the villages in Pallanwalla sector and other border areas including Plattan, Thanghar, Milley Di Khui, Shammu, Chapriyal and Battal have all been evacuated.
Ravishan Singh, 52, a shopkeeper at Pallanwalla, said they were asked to vacate the area as the shelling was likely to continue. He said he had already sent his wife to a camp set up by the administration. “I too will be moving to the camp before the sun sets, after leaving sufficient fodder and water for my two buffaloes,” he said.
In view of the current tension, the state government has ordered closure of all educational institutions in border areas, set up relief camps in safer areas, and kept “standby vehicles” to evacuate people.