NEW DELHI: The Line of Control with Pakistan remains extremely volatile, with over 600 ceasefire violations being recorded over the last two months and New Delhi warning Islamabad to desist from targeting civilian areas in the ongoing cross-border mortar and artillery duels.
Army sources on Friday said the hotline between the two directorate generals of military operations was used last week to warn the Pakistan Army to stop shelling civilian areas or be prepared to face the consequences.
The Army commanders’ conference, which will be held from October 14 to 19 under the chairmanship of General Bipin Rawat, is also slated to review the operational situation along the LoC with Pakistan as well as the “northern borders” with China. “The apex level leadership of Indian Army will brainstorm on all the current emerging security and administrative challenges to chart the future course for the force,” said a senior officer.
Overall, the number of ceasefire violations (CFVs) recorded by the Indian Army along the 778-km long LoC has already crossed 2,320 this year, breaking all annual records since 2003. The security forces have gunned down 147 terrorists in different operations along the LoC as well in the hinterland in J&K, while 31 soldiers have laid down their lives till now this year.
“There has also been frequent caliber-escalation during the CFVs, which in effect means that heavy mortars and artillery guns are coming into play instead of just small arms and light mortars. The Indian Army is responding pro-actively,” said a source.
The already violent LoC turned especially red-hot after the Modi government on August 5 revoked the special status of J&K and moved to split the state into two union territories. “Though there was an upward trend in the CFVs since July, the number drastically shot up after August 5. There were 307 CFVs in August. In September, the number stood at 292, which is triple the number of CFVs recorded in September in 2017 and 2018,” said the source.
Just in September, there were as many as 61 incidents of caliber-escalation, with the two armies targeting each other with light artillery guns, anti-tank guided missiles and heavy mortars with civilians being often caught in the middle. The fiercest cross-border duels have taken place in areas like Nowshera, Poonch, Bhimber Gali and Krishna Ghati, among others.
“The Pakistan Army often uses CFVs to push in infiltrators across the LoC. The Pakistan Army-ISI combine is desperate to plug the leadership void among the terror outfits in the Valley. In September, for instance, at least 28 terrorists attempted to cross the LoC, as per intelligence estimates, but only around a dozen managed to get through,” said the source.