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Pak guns kill 2, Army warns of ‘right to retaliate’

| | New Delhi
Pak guns kill 2, Army warns of ‘right to retaliate’

As ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir increased in the last few days, India on Monday told Pakistan that it reserves the right to retaliate “appropriately”. Conveying this stern message during the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) talks, India also “emphatically” said the Pakistan Army was aiding infiltration of terrorists from across the LoC impacting peace and tranquility and internal security.

On Monday, a nine-year-old girl identified as Saida of Balakote was killed in Poonch and an Army jawan was killed in Rajouri district in ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC. 

Meanwhile, late on Monday, three terrorists of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba were killed in an encounter in Anantnag.

The DGMO-level talks were sought by Pakistan. Maintaining that it was sincere in maintaining peace on the LoC, Indian DGMO Lt General AK Bhatt told his Pakistani counterpart, Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, on the hotline that Pakistan should also reciprocate.

Giving details of the ten-minute unscheduled talks, officials said the request was made by Pakistan on Sunday at 8.30 pm and the talks took place on Monday at 10.30 am. Pakistan sought the talks claiming that four Pakistan soldiers were killed in cross-border firing by the Indian Army last week in the area opposite Keran sector. 

The two DGMOs talk to each other on the hotline once a week on Tuesday as part of confidence building measure. Pakistan had sought a similar unscheduled dialogue on June 5 this year after the Indian Army retaliated to ceasefire violations by Pakistan which claimed its civilians were killed in firing. However, India had refuted the claim.

Two Indian soldiers were killed in sniper fire in Keran sector last week by the Pakistan Army and India retaliated. The Pakistan DGMO raised the issue of targeting his troops resulting in the death of four soldiers and one civilian in Athmuqam Sector of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) opposite Keran sector, Kupwara district.

The Pakistan Army said in a Press release, “DGMO Pakistan notified Pakistan’s demarche to Indian DGMO to protest deliberate targeting of Pakistan Army’s vehicle resulting into shahadat (martyrdom) of four soldiers besides injuring one soldier and a civilian passerby.

The Pakistan DGMO emphasised the importance of controlling tactical actions of under command troops, since these indiscretions can potentially spiral major stand-offs. Such acts have the potential to escalate which then will be extremely detrimental to peace and stability. “While we don’t want to go down the path where we start choking each other’s supply lines; however, any such recurrence will invoke more strong and effective measures from Pakistan’s side,” the Pakistan DGMO said.

Bhatt clarified that the Indian Army did not target any one in particular and opened fire in response to Pakistani firing in the same sector killing two Indian soldiers. The four Pakistani soldiers travelling in the vehicle were reportedly killed near the Neeulm River in PoK after it was hit by Indian firing. 

The Indian DGMO also said all ceasefire violations were initiated by Pakistan Army and the Indian Army only responded “appropriately” to them. Apart from these, firing by Indian troops was initiated against armed intruders when attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pakistani Army posts along the LoC.

He also put across “emphatically” that the trend of infiltration along the LoC continued with active support of Pakistan forward posts impacting peace and tranquility along the LoC and also the internal security situation. “This was evident from continued attempts of sniping and targeting of our troops undertaken through cross border actions duly supported by Pakistani Army troops,” officials said.

The LoC has become hot with more than 240 ceasefire violations by Pakistan from January to July first week this year. Moreover, 103 terrorists were killed in the same period on the LoC and in the hinterland in anti-terror operations.



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