We reserve right to retaliate: India to Pak on LoC firings

In a stern message conveyed by the top Army brass, India today told Pakistan that it reserves the right to retaliate appropriately against any incident of ceasefire violation along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a telephonic conversation, Lt. Gen. A K Bhatt, the 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 fired mortar shells along the LoC in the Poonch and Rajouri districts, killing an Indian Army jawan and a nine-year-old girl.

Anand 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 PoK facing the Indian Keran Sector in Kupwara district last week.

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.

In Islamabad, the Pakistan army said DGMO Mirza had "strongly protested the deliberate targeting" of a Pakistan army vehicle by Indian forces. It said four soldiers were killed when a vehicle "hit by fire from across the LoC" fell into a river.

While we don t want to go down the path where we start choking each other s supply lines... any such recurrence will invoke more strong and effective measures from Pakistan s side, Mirza said.

The Indian Army spokesman said Bhatt 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.

There were 23 incidents of ceasefire violations, one BAT (Border Action Team) attack and two infiltration bids by Pakistan in June, according to the Army.

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