Unable to push in ultras, Pak trying to create panic
The almost unabated ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the last 10 days have a definite strategic pattern. Using heavy artillery, the Pakistan Army is specifically targeting areas south of Pir Panjal since February 26 after Indian aerial strikes as civilian population lives closer to the Line of Control (LoC). However, it is not the case in north of Pir Panjal due to sparse population centres located far away from the border.
While the Indian Army is retaliating aptly, it has also warned Pakistan to desist from attacking Indian posts and civilian areas and any “misadventure” will be responded strongly with “dire consequences.” Army chief General Bipin Rawat also visited Western Command Headquarters on Saturday to assess operational preparedness amid heightened tension. Earlier, he had toured Rajasthan apart from LoC in Jammu & Kashmir.
As regards ceasefire violations, the Army is maintaining vigil all along the 750-km LoC and more so in South of Pir Panjal comprising Jammu division. Elaborating upon Pakistan’s definite pattern in upping the ante since the aerial strikes, sources in the security establishment said here the main target of Pakistan firing is civilian areas.
The main aim is to spread panic in border areas of Poonch, Rajouri and Naushera and force inhabitants to flee. Moreover, the Pakistan Army wants to attain moral ascendancy over the Indian Army by firing with heavy artillery on the Indian posts as Pakistan has some advantage in the that region due to the terrain.
Ruling out the possibility of infiltration from South of Pir Panjal at present as terrorists generally attempt to enter India under covering fire from the other side, sources said the Pakistan Army is trying to retaliate after the aerial strikes.
However, effective action from the Indian side has resulted in the flattening” of some Pakistan Army posts in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) in regions facing Rajouri and Poonch sectors, they said.
Giving figures about ceasefire violations, they said more than 70 such incidents have taken place since February 26 in the South of Pir Panjal region and total for this year is nearly 480 as compared to 1,629 for the entire last year. At least three persons of a family were killed on the Indian side and several others injured in these violations.
The situation in the North of Pir Panjal is somewhat different with almost no ceasefire violations as villages are situated far away from the LoC, sources said. Terrorists try to sneak in from POK there and then come into the Kashmir Valley when the Pakistan Army provides them covering fire. But this is not happening at the moment due to heavy snow blocking ingress routes and officials said it is only a matter of time that this region also becomes “hot” once snow melts thereby making easier for the terrorists to infiltrate.
An Army statement said Western Command chief Lt General Surender Singh briefed and updated the Army Chief on Saturday about the current operational situation, prevailing security environment and preparedness of the formations especially in Amritsar and Samba sectors.
The Western Command looks after Punjab and part of Jammu.
Rawat directed the formations to ensure continued state of vigilance and alertness and be prepared to decisively deal with challenges that may develop. He also interacted with the officers of the Western Command and complimented them for maintaining highest standards of training, operational readiness and synergy with the IAF.
Sunday, 10 March 2019 | Rahul Datta | New Delhi