NEW DELHI: The Army on Tuesday morning issued a direct warning to Pakistan during top commander-level talks on the hotline, saying the response will be “immediate and effective” if troops across the border continue firing at Indian areas. “We have told them that if they continue to provoke us, they will get an effective, appropriate and immediate response. And we reserve the right to respond,” said an officer in the know of the conversation between top commanders of India and Pakistan. In the conversation, which lasted for ten minutes, both sides raised the issue of civilian casualties.
Later in the day, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley met the three service chiefs at his residence here and discussed the situation on the ground. Multiple sources confirmed that the Indian forces have been directed to respond “full throttle” while dealing with the ceasefire violations. Local commanders manning the LoC have been given enough freedom to retaliate appropriately at their end. “Similar instructions are believed to have been passed on to the BSF, manning the International Border in the Jammu sector,” an officer told Express.
With over 125 incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC, top defence sources said the “response from the Pakistani side appears planned and structured”.
Army officers maintained that the continuous firing was a desperate attempt at pushing maximum terrorists into Indian territory ahead of the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. According to a senior official in the Defence Ministry, over 1,000 militants are being trained in more than 20 terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Military strategists told Express that most infiltration attempts were being made north of the Pir Panjal range, which divides the Valley, while the firing is taking place south of the range. “We have specific inputs that over 350-400 militants are waiting north of Pir Panjal to infiltrate into India,” said an officer.
25 Jammu Hamlets Shelled in a night
At least 42 outposts and 25 hamlets along the International Border in Jammu sector were targeted by Pakistani troops with heavy mortar shells on Monday night, a Border Security Force report submitted to the Home Ministry said.