Indian Soldier Killed In Cross-LoC Firing

Indian Soldier Killed In Cross-LoC Firing

7 June 2013
Times of India


Jammu: Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may promise 'warmer ties' with India, but it shows no sign of translating into reality. In another ceasefire violation, Pakistani troops on Friday afternoon opened persistent fire at a forward Indian post in Jammu & Kashmir and killed a junior commissioned officer (JCO). Pakistani troops targeted the Lunawali post in Saujian area of Poonch sector with small arms fire and under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) around 1 pm. 'The firing lasted for around 30-40 minutes...we retaliated in a controlled manner. But the JCO, Subedar Bachan Singh of Garhwal Rifles, was killed due to splinter injuries,' said a senior officer. 'With the snow melting and mountain passes opening, there has been a spike in the cross-border infiltrations...Pakistan has already violated the ceasefire 32 times since January, resorting to their old tactic of giving covering fire to infiltrators,' he added. After the firing on Friday, the Army sounded an alert and cordoned off the thickly-forested Saujian area to intercept militants who may have infiltrated across the Line of Control during the fire-fight. 'We anticipate a major increase in infiltration bids over the next two months. One reason is that a major chunk of the Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed leadership has been neutralized in south Kashmir. The Amarnath Yatra is also slated to begin from June 29,' said another officer. The last major violation of the ceasefire - which came into force in November 2003 - had taken place on May 24 when two Indian officers, including a Brigadier and a jawan, were injured in firing in the Naugam sector. On the same day, Pakistani troops had also fired on Indian posts at the Tangdhar sector. 'Ceasefire violations since then have taken place every few days. Around 50 infiltration bids have already been detected so far this year. Intelligence reports point to terrorists concentrating in areas opposite the Macchil, Tangdhar, Keran and Kupwara areas,' said the officer. The situation on the 778-km LoC had also turned red-hot earlier this year, with the two armies exchanging heavy fire on a daily basis, after Pakistani Army 'regulars' with some LeT militants crossed over into the Mendhar sector in J&K and beheaded an Indian soldier and mutilated the body of another on January 8. With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then holding that it could no longer be 'business as usual', it was finally on January 16 that military de-escalation had kicked in after the Pakistani director-general of military operations told his Indian counterpart that orders had been issued to his troops to firmly uphold the ceasefire. Defence minister A K Antony has repeatedly said that Pakistan will have to 'translate its promises into sincere action' if it wants bilateral ties to take an upward trajectory. The Army maintains the infrastructure of terrorism is still 'very much intact' across the border, with over 2,500 militants in 43 terror-training camps. Moreover, around 450 terrorists are present on 'border launch pads' waiting for an opportunity to sneak into India, with militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba working in close conjunction with the Pakistani Army to launch attacks in India.