NEW DELHI: Amidst continuous ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces on the Line of Control and International Border, top military commanders of both armies held telephonic talks to defuse the tension. When Pakistan alleged of its civilian killings in firing by Indian army, but Indian Army categorically told Pakistan that it reserves the right to “retaliate appropriately” to any incident leading to loss of lives of Indian troops.
Conveying this stern message, Indian Director General Military of Operations(DGMO) also told his Pakistani counterpart that Pakistan Army continued to support infiltration as was evident from sniping and targeting Indian troops.
The LOC has witnessed more than 470 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan this year apart from 290 odd militants tried to infiltrate. While, 50 of them were killed this year, more than 80 managed to sneak into Kashmir, sources said. However, security forces killed total 151 militants in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir during multiple operations and figure is an all-time high in recent years.
In unscheduled talks sought by Pakistan DGMO Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza with Indian DGMO Lt General A K Bhatt on Friday at 1.30 pm, the former claimed that the Indian troops killed Pakistani civilians in its area facing Jammu sector. The two DGMOs have a hotline as part of confidence building measure and talk to each once a week every Tuesday. The last unscheduled talks took place on July 20.
In Islamabad, Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said six civilians were killed and 26 others injured in alleged ceasefire violations by the Indians from across the LOC. Later in the day, Pakistan summoned Indian deputy high commissioner in Islamabad to lodge protest against civilian killings.
Refuting the allegation, Lt. Gen Bhatt said in ten minutes parleys all ceasefire violations in the Jammu sector were initiated by Pakistan Rangers and the Border Security Force (BSF) only responded appropriately. He also emphasized that no targeted firing on civilians was carried by the Indian side. Apart from these, firing by BSF troops were initiated onto armed intruders attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pakistani posts along the Amritsar border. This incident took place two days when at least two armed intruders from Pakistan side tried to infiltrate from the International Border and the BSF shot them dead.
Similarly, Pakistani Rangers indulged in unprovoked firing all along the International Border in Jammu last week forcing the local administration to close educational institutions in a radius of five km to prevent civilian casualties.
The Indian DGMO also pointed out that infiltration from across the LOC continued with the active support of Pakistani forwards impacting peace and tranquility along the LOC and also the internal security situation. This was evident from continued attempts of sniper fire and targeting of troops undertaken through cross border actions duly supported by Pakistan Army, Bhatt told Mirza, officials said. Bhatt reaffirmed the Indian Army’s sincerity to maintain peace along the LOC provided there was a reciprocal effort from Pakistan.