Amid repeated border skirmishes, India, Pakistan DGMO's discuss ceasefire violations

Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General AK Bhatt on Monday spoke to his Pakistani counterpart over the repeated exchange of fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, after a five-year-old girl and a soldier were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in heavy shelling by Pakistani force.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The latest in a series of Pakistani border aggression came even as two senior military commanders of the two countries held talks over repeated exchanges of fire along the LoC which divides Jammu and Kashmir between them.

The deceased girl, who was hit by a Pakistani shell, was identified as Saida of Balakote in Poonch district. The soldier was killed in Rajouri district's Tarkundi area.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said the firing along the LoC was still going on after Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked shelling at Bhimber Gali, Mendhar and Balakote sectors of Poonch and Rajouri districts.

The Indian Army retaliated "strongly and effectively", Mehta said.

As the firing was on, the Directors General of Military Operation (DGMO) of India and Pakistan spoke over hotlines to deescalate the border tension. The DGMOs usually speak on Tuesdays but Monday's was an unscheduled conversation on Pakistan's request.

The Indian DGMO conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart that India reserves the right to retaliate to any cross-border firing along the LoC. The two DGMOs also deliberated on the situation along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, an Army official said.

The Indian DGMO highlighted that "all ceasefire violations were initiated by the Pakistan Army and the Indian Army only responded appropriately," an army statement said.

"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."

He said continued attempts of sniping and targeting of Indian troops were "undertaken through cross border actions supported by Pakistani Army troops.

The Indian officer also put across emphatically that the "trend of infiltration along the LoC continued with the active support of Pakistan forward posts."

The DGMO also noted that firing by Indian troops was initiated against armed intruders trying to sneak into India "from close proximity of Pakistan posts".

During the talks, the Pakistan DGMO, Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, raised the issues of targeting of Pakistani troops resulting in the death of four soldiers and a civilian in Athmuqam sector of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Pakistan's The News daily quoting unnamed sources said the Pakistan DGMO "strongly protested" against the deaths on Sunday.

"The Pakistan Army reserves the right to respond any Indian aggression," the daily said, quoting the sources.

According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Indian troops targeted an Army vehicle that fell into the Neelum river and the four soldiers drowned.

The two armies have repeatedly exchanged heavy fire this summer along the winding LoC that has left many soldiers and civilians dead on both sides.

Two Indian soldiers were killed in Kupwara sector of the Kashmir Valley on July 12.

India and Pakistan had in November 2003 agreed to cease fire along the de facto border but violations have intensified since the 2016 Kashmir unrest and amid souring of ties between the two countries.

There have been 23 incidents of ceasefire violations, one BAT (Border Action Team) attack and two infiltration bids by Pakistan in June in which four people, including three jawans, have been killed and 12 injured.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: Jul 17, 2017 02:36 pm | Updated Date: Jul 17, 2017 02:55 pm