With India giving a stern reply to Pakistan’s repeated ceasefire violations along the International Border by killing its five personnel and destroying a militant camp, Islamabad on Thursday made desperate attempts to contact the director general of military operations (DGMO) and the defence secretary in New Delhi to ease the situation, sources said.
India’s response was part of a well-planned strategy to attack outposts of the Pakistan Rangers after a BSF constable was killed on Wednesday morning while he was patrolling with his team as part of an agreed border defence mechanism between the two countries.
Even as it was forced to call a flag meeting with the BSF, the Pakistan Rangers continued to fire along the border on Thursday. “Pakistan does not like to stay quiet even on New Year day. They started (cross-border) firing again and don’t seem to learn (any) lesson,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was quoted as saying in Bangalore by PTI.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too asserted that India would not tolerate brazen ceasefire violations by Pakistan, saying, “Our jawans are protecting the border with all their might. No one can dare cast an evil eye on India. Even if someone tries to do so, the BSF and other security forces will give them a fitting reply.”
He said Pakistan should desist from such violations and officials of both the countries have been in touch over the issue.
The BSF has also destroyed a militant camp on the other side of RS Pura Sector, its senior officials said, adding that the camp was being used to push infiltrators into India.
“They were forced to call us for a flag meeting and even tried to reach out to the DGMO and the defence secretary. When that failed, they contacted DIG, BSF in Delhi. This time, we resorted to five times heavy firing,” said a senior BSF official.
The heavy firing by the Rangers appears to be a bid to help armed terrorists sneak into the Indian territory from launching pads on the other side of the border. Suspecting that nearly 50 to 60 terrorists were camping at launching pads in Pakistan, Inspector General of BSF (Jammu zone) Rakesh Sharma said that the paramilitary force would register a “strong protest’’ with the Rangers over fresh incidents of ceasefire violation along the IB.
To check infiltration, security has been intensified along the border, he said, adding that over a dozen BSF border outposts were affected by firing from across the border.
The latest skirmishes along the IB started after BSF in Arnia sector foiled an infiltration attempt on Wednesday afternoon, injuring a suspected terrorist.
Perturbed over stepped up vigil by the BSF, the Rangers after some time started unprovoked firing on outposts and even civilian settlements in Khawara, Regal, Suchetgarh Kullian and Mawa areas in adjoining Samba sector, killing BSF constable Sri Ram Gowria of Khetpur in Rajasthan. BSF ASI Sunil Kumar was injured.
“This is the first time they have targeted a BSF man who was patrolling on the zero line. We are used to firing attempts at our BOP’s, but this was unacceptable. Even their team patrols on the zero line, but they have never come under fire from our side,” said DK Pathak, DG, BSF. Pathak on Thursday briefed Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami about the prevailing situation along the border.
The BSF retaliated by killing the Rangers whose bodies were seen lying in the open for some time. Taken aback by strong retaliation from the Indian side, the Rangers after sometime waved white flags from their posts so that they could retrieve the bodies of their deceased personnel.
The guns on both sides went silent thereafter, but firing was again started from the Pakistan side at 12.30 am Thursday at various places along the border in Arnia, Samba and Hiranagar sectors. The BSF retaliated and the exchange of fire between two sides continued till 6 am.
The latest ceasefire violation by Pakistan has been the third during the last 36 hours as the Rangers had on Tuesday injured a BSF jawan in Palanwalla.