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Army pounds terror camps and Pakistan posts along LoC

Six to ten Pakistani soldiers are reported to have been killed in Neelam Valley, PoK in a firing by Indian Army as a retaliation to Pakistan Army's ‘unprovoked’ fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector.

Updated: Oct 21, 2019, 10.06 AM IST
Caused severe damage to terror infrastructure in PoK: Army Chief Bipin Rawat
Caused severe damage to terror infrastructure in PoK: Army Chief Bipin Rawat
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army has said that it caused heavy damage to Pakistan Army posts, gun positions and terrorist launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) in cross-border firing. Six to 10 Pakistani soldiers are estimated to have been killed and several injured in Neelam Valley and near Leepa in PoK in the firing.

The army’s retaliation follows the Pakistan Army opening ‘unprovoked’ fire, including use of artillery guns along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector, to assist the infiltration of terrorists around midnight, officials said.

Two Indian soldiers and a civilian were killed and three other civilians were injured in the Pakistani firing.

“Last night, the Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation to assist infiltration by terrorists into Indian territories. As a result, calibrated escalation of area weapons was undertaken by the Indian side in which terrorist launch pads, Pakistan Army posts giving incidental protection to these launch pads and certain gun positions, were hit,” the army said. Indian civilian areas were also hit by Pakistan artillery fire, it stated.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat stated “6-10 Pak soldiers have been killed and the same number of terrorists have been killed. Three terrorist camps have been destroyed.”

He added, “We aren’t able to pick up any mobile communication (from Pak side), which means there have been heavy casualties. Pakistan Army doesn’t want to highlight this because the world will know that it’s taking no action against terrorists”

There has been a ‘significant’ increase in the number of ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts along the LoC after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. There were 307 violations in August –– the highest this year –– and 12 terrorists who infiltrated into India in September. This year witnessed the highest ceasefire violations –– over 2,317 –– since 2017.

Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh told ET that the counter-infiltration system along the LoC has been further strengthened this year by deploying new surveillance systems and additional troops.

“We have put in a systematic and robust counter infiltration (CI) grid and foiled most of the infiltration attempts close to the Line of Control. This year, we have further refined and deployed additional tiers of the CI grid so that if a terrorist gets past one tier, he can get caught in another tier. There are several tiers for the CI grid between the LoC and the hinterland. The CI grid is based on an effective surveillance architecture, anti-infiltration obstacle system covered by troop deployment and weapon platforms,” he said.

Officials added that the system will be automated. “Our surveillance equipment will identify an infiltrator and troops respond to the threat. It is work in progress. This year, we refined it,” an official said.

About 500 terrorists are undergoing training and preparing to infiltrate from 16 to 18 camps in PoK, despite the threat of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions on Pakistan, officials claim.

Singh added that Pakistan is now trying to infiltrate terrorists through India’s international borders with it and other countries. “Pakistan is feeling frustrated at not having successfully infiltrated terrorists across the LoC, due to our robust and effective CI grid. Therefore, they are trying to push terrorists through the IB sector in Punjab, Gujarat, and even through Nepal and Bangladesh. From there, they can make their way into J&K. This is further corroborated by reports of Pakistan using drones to drop weapons in our territory,” he said.

On the issue of PoK locals trying to cross the LoC, the officer said, “We are very clear that in case anyone tries to violate our territorial integrity and crosses the LoC, a befitting response will be given by our Army. They have understood the strong resolve of the Indian Army and have decided to call off the planned march at present. Any misadventure by the enemy will be dealt with by all the resources at our disposal.”

In J&K, the situation is under control but fragile, due to Pakistan’s action to keep the state in a “perpetual state of violence”, he said.

“After our government’s decision for abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, there was a lot of apprehension that violence levels may increase. However, there has been a reduction in terrorist initiated incidents, IED incidents, stone throwing and crowd protests,” he said.

However, the coming days are “sensitive” when the seat of governance shifts to Jammu from Srinagar on October 26. The next day, when Diwali is celebrated will also be crucial but security forces have raised their guard. EOM

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