Pakistani troops on Sunday resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.
A defence ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Devender Anand said “around 1 pm, Pakistani troops initiated ceasefire violation by firing of small arms and shelling with mortars in Poonch. The Indian Army is retaliating befittingly,’’ he added.
The ceasefire violation by Pakistan comes a day after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and Northern Army Commander Lt General Ranbir Singh visited the troops on the LoC in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, to review the prevailing situation and operational preparedness of units of the White Knight Corps.
During his visit, the Army Chief interacted with the soldiers deployed on the Line of Control and commended them for their unwavering dedication to duty, selfless devotion and high standard of professionalism. He was appreciative of the measures and standard operating procedures institutionalized to ensure safe-secure environment and mission readiness of the troops.
General Rawat conveyed his satisfaction on the synergy with civil administration and was appreciative of the people friendly measures taken by White Knight Corps resulting in ushering normalcy in areas falling South of Pir Panjal in a smooth and quick timeframe.
On Friday, General Rawat had visited LoC in Kashmir where he had exhorted troops to be ready for any contingency including “emerging security challenges’’ in view of increased infiltration attempts. The Army Chief’s first visit to the state after the revocation of Article 370 assumes significance as it comes amidst increased tension between India and Pakistan over the issue.
While large scale activity has been reportedly noticed at over two dozen terrorist camps/launch pads along the International Border and LoC in the state, there have also been increased incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops since the second half of July this year.
Three soldiers have been killed in Pakistani firing in the past week. The damage on Pakistan side in retaliation by Indian Army has been much more, sources said, adding that the former has been targeting even civilians on the Indian side. Nearly a dozen students of the Government Middle School at Dabraj in Poonch district had a narrow escape on Thursday morning when Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms fire from across the Line of Control. A 24-year-old man identified as Mohammad Zaffar Ahmed was also injured in Pakistani firing in Digwar area of Poonch on Thursday night.