April 5, 2020 2:16:12 am
Notwithstanding the fact that both India and Pakistan are in a state of lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19, the guns on the Line of Control (LoC) have not fallen silent with 411 ceasefire violations recorded in March.
There was a slight rise in the number of ceasefire violations last month compared to the first two months of this year.
There were 367 such violations in January and 382 ceasefire violations were recorded in February on the LoC.
Both India and Pakistan have more than 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. India is in the middle of a three-week nationwide and the provinces in Pakistan have enforced their own lockdowns to avert a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The number of ceasefire violations so far in this year also show a very significant rise from the numbers recorded during the same period last year. In the first quarter of 2019, there were only 685 ceasefire violations, compared to 1160 such violations recorded between January and March this year.
“Despite the threat of COVID-19, a rather desperate Pakistan army is trying to keep the LoC hot and active. That is why the ceasefire violations are not coming down. But we are also giving a fitting response,” a senior military official said.
Two Army soldiers were injured on the LoC in shelling by Pakistan army in Balakot area of Poonch district on Thursday. Another ceasefire violation in the same sector had taken place on Tuesday evening. The Pakistan army had initiated another unprovoked ceasefire violation firing mortars in the Nowshera sector of Rajouri district on Wednesday. Officials said Pakistani soldiers also suffered heavily in the “befitting response” given by the Army.
“The situation has been particularly hot south of Pir Panjal and as the snow melts with the onset of summer, the LoC will become hotter in the north also. We can see early signs of that,” the official said.
“The ceasefire violations are directly linked to infiltration attempts. We already have the first set of infiltration attempts in Keran sector,” he added.
Official sources said that there was an “ongoing contact” with a group of infiltrating militants in the Keran sector on the LoC, for the past two days. These militants have been unable to escape towards the Pakistani side of LoC because of the snow and bad weather.
Even though no infiltration attempts on LoC were officially recorded in March, the military official felt that “all the indications are for a very hot summer in Kashmir this year”. Seven militants were killed and three militants apprehended by the security forces in Kashmir last month.
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