Indo-Pak DGMOs talk tough

The telephone exchange took place three hours after the Pakistani army allegedly fired mortar shells along the LoC in the Poonch and Rajouri districts, killing a soldier and a nine-year-old girl.

PTI/Tariq Naqash
New Delhi/Muzaffarabad, Publish Date: Jul 18 2017 12:39AM | Updated Date: Jul 18 2017 12:39AM
Indo-Pak DGMOs talk toughRepresentational Pic

India on Monday told Pakistan that it reserves the right to retaliate appropriately against any incident of ceasefire violation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a telephonic conversation, Lt Gen AK Bhatt, director general of military operations (DGMO), also told his Pakistani counterpart that the Indian Army was sincere about maintaining peace on the LoC.

The DGMO made it explicitly clear that the Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate against any ceasefire violation, but “is sincere in its effort of maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LoC provided there was reciprocity”, Army spokesman Col Aman Anand said.

The telephone exchange took place three hours after the Pakistani army allegedly fired mortar shells along the LoC in the Poonch and Rajouri  districts, killing a soldier and a nine-year-old girl.

He said the conversation was initiated by the Pakistani commander, Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, who raised the issues of the "targeting" of Pakistani army troops and the death of four Pakistani soldiers and one civilian in the Athmuqam Sector of Pakistan facing Keran area in Kupwara district last week, Anand said.

The nearly 10-minute-long conversation over the hotline between the two army commanders came amid “rising incidents of ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army and a spurt in violence in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“The Indian DGMO in response highlighted that all ceasefire violations were initiated by the Pakistan army and the Indian Army only responded appropriately to them,” he said.

Firing by Indian troops was initiated only against “armed intruders attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pak posts along the Line of Control”, he said.

The spokesperson said Bhatt also put across “emphatically” that the trend of infiltration along the LoC continued with the active  support of Pakistani forward posts, impacting peace and tranquillity  as well as 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistani DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza communicated Pakistan’s demarche to his Indian counterpart, Lt Gen Anil Kumar Bhatt, to protest against the “deliberate targeting of Pakistan Army’s vehicle resulting into the martyrdom of four soldiers, besides injuring one soldier and a civilian passerby.”

While emphasising the importance of controlling tactical actions of under command troops, Mirza warned that such indiscretions could “potentially spiral major standoffs” between the two sides.

“Such acts have the potential to escalate which then will be extremely detrimental to peace and stability,” he maintained, according to a handout by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

He also made it clear that while the Pakistan Army had been exercising restraint, recurrence of any such incident in future could, however, leave it with no choice but to respond with further “strong and effective” steps.

“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,” Mirza told Lt Gen Bhatt.