Pakistan firing at LoC heaviest since 1971 war

Pakistan firing at LoC heaviest since 1971 war

There is an uneasy truce of some kind on the Indo-Pak border currently. But it has come about after a period of intense confrontation between the forces. Recently, the Indian Government gave its security forces full autonomy to deal with the current situation on LoC that has seen according one official, “the heaviest firing since the 1971 war” from across the border. The result is that border forces have pulled out all stops and gone for targeted and precision firing which has led to far more casualties on Pakistan side in just 10 days of firing this year than was witnessed in 30 days of skirmishes last year in August.

A total of 12 Indian soldiers were killed through 2013 by Pakistan forces. This year there has been only one casualty — of a BSF jawan — due to sniper firing a month ago.

“Ever since mid-August ceasefire violations, we have gone on complete offensive, firing both guns and area weapons. We are thrice in strength of Pakistan Rangers and thus have as many weapons. This has resulted in heavy casualties on the other side even though Pakistan Rangers are being supported by their Army. We will continue to retaliate fiercely until Pakistan stops firing,” a senior BSF officer was quoted in the media as saying.

BSF sources said Islamabad has also deployed Pakistan Army’s 12 Mujahideen Battallion in Charwa sector to help Pakistan Rangers.

At a meeting held at home ministry with minister Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval and BSF DG DK Pathak among others discussed the issue of escalating tension on the Indo-Pak border. Sources said government is fully backing all action taken by BSF and asked it to ensure safety of civilians in border areas. Pathak said, “We are giving befitting reply to ceasefire violations from Pakistan. At the same time we are trying not to hit civilian areas in Pakistan.”

The force has been forcing villagers in border areas out of the range of Pakistan bullets and shells during the night. “We are making them sleep in schools and other government buildings away from their homes. During the day they return to their daily chores in their villages as most of the firing takes place at night,” said a BSF officer.

“Yes it is (the heaviest firing) for last so many years … I think may be after the 1971 war. 45 days is a very long period for this kind of thing to happen,” BSF director general DK Pathak told reporters in Jammu.

Giving details of the pattern of the firing, Pathak said, “As you are aware the firing took place for the last 45 days, to be more precise since the first incident of sniper took place on July 17 when a jawan died in the incident. It lasted for about 10 days or so. Then, there was a brief lull. This month, there was firing through out the nights and some times during day time also.”

The firing from across the border on all posts is going on, he said, adding firing is also targeting civilian areas.

Asked about the decision to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation, Pathak said, “I hope peace prevails. We have made so many efforts …”

“We have made all possible efforts to stop it (ceasefire violations and firing). We tried four to five times to hold flag meetings. But they (the Pakistani side) did not respond to it … They never turned up,” Pathak said after a whirlwind visit to the forward areas along the IB.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley also held a meeting with the three services chiefs during which they discussed the ceasefire violations by Pakistan and the Indian response.

The BSF chief visited several forward areas and met the jawans in a bid to boost their morale. He asked the jawans to give strong and befitting reply to the ceasefire violations.

“We have lodged with them protest notes 16 to 17 times after firing incidents and ceasefire violations,” Pathak said.

Asked about the decision to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation, Pathak said, “I hope peace prevails. We have made so many efforts …”

“In fact, ever since this problem started as many as 16 attempts of contacting them over telephone through established channel of communication have been made. They only responded to the initial calls and thereafter they have not responded and there have been no initiation from their end,” he added.