WITH TENSIONS rising on the Line of Control, the Army has given “adequate freedom” to its commanding officers and post commanders to initiate action and retaliate against Pakistani action on the LoC, sources told The Indian Express.
This move is part of the proactive stance adopted by the Army against Pakistani posts on the LoC since September 2016, when it conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Sources said the Army “has been able to establish moral ascendancy on the LoC and undertake proactive tactical actions” to prevent Pakistan from activating its terror launch pads on the LoC in the coming summer season.
According to estimates of the Northern Command, headquartered in Udhampur, 375-400 militants are waiting on the Pakistani side of the LoC, ready to infiltrate into Kashmir. Sources said that since Kashmir experienced less snowfall this winter, the Pakistan Army is expected to “start pushing militants across the LoC” very soon.
According to sources, “radio chatter” and reports of burials indicate that 138 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 156 others injured on the LoC due to Indian action last year. This year, they said, Pakistan is believed to have lost 20 soldiers on the LoC with seven more injured.
The Indian Army has lost nine soldiers on the LoC so far this year, and 32 last year. Sources said the Army was undertaking various types of “punitive fire along the LoC, whether it be stand-off fire, punitive fire assaults, raids or guerilla tactical operations”, as part of its counter-terrorist strategy. Consequently, they claimed, nearly two-thirds of ceasefire violations were initiated by the Indian side, along with retaliatory strikes against Pakistani action on the LoC.
According to sources, the Pakistan has been “shaken” by the proactive stance of Indian soldiers, as reflected in the nearly three dozen ‘Red Alerts’ issued for its posts and civilians on the LoC. Moreover, Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps Commander, Lt General Nadeem Raza, visited a dozen sectors on the LoC in January to address troop morale, sources said.
According to Indian government figures, there were 860 ceasefire violations on the LoC last year, and over 280 this year. The Pakistan government claims that there were 1,970 ceasefire violations by India last year, and 335 this year.
Pak summons Indian envoy
Pakistan’s foreign ministry Thursday summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and condemned what it described as “unprovoked ceasefire violations” at the Battal sector on Thursday.
In a statement, Pakistan claimed that the Indian Army had “deliberately targeted a school van carrying school children on Battal-Madharpur road, resulting in the shahadat of the driver of the van, Mr. Sarfaraz Ahmed, leaving the school children severely traumatised.” The statement also warned India against committing a “strategic miscalculation”.