Army plays down LoC escalation; ‘No intention to open Uri front’

Last week there was a sudden flare-up on the LoC and armies from both sides exchanged heavy artillery, for the first time since 2003 - when the neighboring countries entered into ceasefire agreement.

Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 26 2018 11:38PM | Updated Date: Feb 27 2018 1:35AM
Army plays down LoC escalation; ‘No intention to open Uri front’GK Photo

Army on Monday played down the recent escalation on Line of Control (LoC) saying the ceasefire violations, during which heavy artillery was used, was a local phenomena and the Army doesn’t intend to open front on the de-facto border with Pakistan.

“It is more of a local affair in a specific region where due to their (Pakistan’s) action we have reacted at specific places. We don’t intend to open an entire front (but) we will retaliate if Pakistan does any aggressive action and tries to push the infiltrators,” said Lt Gen AK Bhatt, general-officer-commanding (GoC) of 15 corps based in Srinagar. He was speaking to media after pass-out parade of newly inducted soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI).

Last week there was a sudden flare-up on the LoC and armies from both sides exchanged heavy artillery, for the first time since 2003 - when the neighboring countries entered into ceasefire agreement.

Even people living in border villages, close to LoC, had to vacate after announcements made by Pakistan army on public address systems, asking them to leave the villages. The girls higher secondary school in border town of Uri had been converted into makeshift shelter for the families who had fled their villages during one of the largest migration from border villages during past 28 years.

Bhat played down the use of public address systems from across the LoC as well. “There were no announcements…but they advised a few villages to vacate for safety reason,” said Bhatt. “We are conscious about the safety of our people living on the border. Of course the ceasefire violations were started by Pakistan and we responded.”

The GOC however said this year the infiltration on the LoC could start early as there had been less snowfall in the valley as well as on borders.

He asserted that a large number of militants were waiting on launching pads in the groups of 30 and 40 from Leepa Valley to Mandil and up to Rampur, to infiltrate to this side of Kashmir.

“But we are taking measures. These ceasefire violations like those in Tangdhar and Kupwara are also an attempt to push militants inside Kashmir,” said Bhatt.

He said the militant leadership would continue to be the target of the different forces operating in the Valley. The Army, Bhatt said, was operating in complete synergy and coordination with all security forces in the Valley.

“My primary aim is to ensure peace in Kashmir by carrying out people friendly operations, so that Kashmir which is moving towards mainstream continues doing so,” said Bhatt.

On the killing of two policemen in the valley on Sunday, Bhatt said the militants were now looking for easy targets.

 

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