The Indian Army DGMO today spoke to his Pakistani counterpart and made it explicitly clear that while India is committed to peace along the Line of Control, it reserves the right to retaliate to any Pakistani provocations.
On the day when an Army jawan and a nine-year-old girl died in Pakistani firing from across the Line of Control, New Delhi warned Islamabad that it reserves the right to retaliate to any provocation across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
The message was delivered by Indian Army director general of military operations Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt to his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza. During the ten-minute phone call over the Indian Army-Pakistan Army hotline, Lt Gen Bhatt also told the Pakistani DGMO that the Indian Army was committed the maintaining peace along the LoC.
Lt Gen Bhatt made it explicitly clear that the Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate to any ceasefire violation, but "is sincere in its effort of maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LoC provided there was reciprocity", Army spokesman Lt. Col. Aman Anand was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The two DGMOs speak weekly over a special hotline established between the Indian and Pakistani armies. However, today's conversation was initiated by Maj Gen Mirza who claimed that the Indian Army was "targeting" Pakistani troops and that raised the issues of the death of four Pakistani soldiers and one civilian in the Athmuqam Sector of PoK facing the Indian Keran Sector in Kupwara District last week.
"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," Anand added. Firing by Indian troops was initiated only against "armed intruders attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pakistani posts along the Line of Control", he said.
The Indian Army spokesperson also 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," Anand said.
Pakistan for its part said that its DGMO informed Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt about a demarche to "protest deliberate targeting of Pakistan Army's vehicle" in which four Pakistani soldiers died.
According to a statement released by the Pakistani military, Maj Gen Mirza "emphasised the importance of controlling tactical actions of under command troops, since these indiscretions can potentially spiral major standoffs."
Pakistan said that situations like these have the "potential to escalate", a scenario that would 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 statement added.
There were 23 incidents of ceasefire violations, one BAT (Border Action Team) attack and two infiltration bids by Pakistan in June, according to the Indian Army.
Today's conversation came merely three hours after Pakistan initiated firing from across the Line of Control in Jammu's Poonch sector. The ceasefire violation resulted in the death of one Army jawan - Naik Muddasar Ahmed, who suffered fatal mortar shell injuries - and one eight-year-old girl.
On July 15, a soldier of the Indian Army died after Pakistan resorted to unprovoked firing and mortar shelling in Rajouri sector across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. Lance Naik Mohammed Naseer (35), from border district of Poonch, was hit during the firing and shelling by the Pakistani troops on the Indian forward posts.
On July 12, two jawans were killed in sniper fire by the Pakistani Army in Keran sector of north Kashmir.
Earlier on July 8, two civilians were killed and some others injured when Pakistani Army violated ceasefire and resorted to mortar shelling and firing of small and automatic weapons targeting forward posts and hamlets along the LoC in the Poonch district.