Border Flare-Up:Tension Peaks As Indo-Pak Armies Trade Fire Along LoC,IB

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SRINAGAR -  The hostility between India and Pakistan troops continued on the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border as the two estranged armies traded gunfire in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch and Hiranagar sector of Kathua district, official sources said Saturday.

Pakistan Army resorted to shelling across the international border in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Friday night, officials said. They said army strongly retaliated to unprovoked ceasefire violation by the Pak troops.

Meanwhile, exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistan troops was also reported from KG sector of Poonch.

Defence sources said that around 5:00 am today, Pak troops resorted to unprovoked shelling and firing targeting army posts and civilian areas along the LoC.  Subsequently, with the passage of time, cross border shelling between the two sides intensified, which was continuing till reports last came in.

Defence sources said that along with artillery fire, Pakistani forces targeted Indian positions with light arms, which was effectively returned by the Indian side.

Till Friday, Indian Army has stated that ceasefire violations across LoC by Pakistan Army have doubled in 2019 with around 3,200 instances reported so far compared to last year’s 1,629 incidents.

In December this year so far, 329 incidents have been reported which is also double compared to last year during December with 175 cases. A senior Indian Army officer said that during winter ceasefire violations across LoC are very low but this year it is at an all-time high.

Since abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan has increased ceasefire violations. In August, a total of 307 incidents were reported. While in September, 292 incidents were registered, in October the figure was 351. In November, 304 cases of ceasefire violations were reported.

When compared to ceasefire violations in 2017 with 2019 across the LoC, it has tripled. In 2017, a total of 860 incidents were reported. The number of such violations was 228 in 2016.

The Pakistan Army has also intensified attacks on Indian posts sending their Border Action Teams (BAT). The Pakistan Army through ceasefire violations has been making desperate attempts to infiltrate terrorists across the border. However, Indian Army foiled many such attempts.

Also on December 18, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had stated that the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir could escalate at any time and India is prepared for a befitting response.

General Rawat, who is to retire on December 31, said that India is fully prepared to tackle any situation.

He made the remark in the backdrop of a spurt in ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC in J&K since the abrogation of Article 370 in August.

Plan To Strike Pak Post 26/11 Was Rejected: Ex-IAF Chief

Former chief of Indian Air Force (IAF) B.S. Dhanoa said that a proposal to strike Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks was rejected by the then government.

Dhanoa said that the Indian Air Force was aware about the militant camps in Pakistan and were ready to hit out. "But it is a political decision on whether or not to carry out a strike," he said.

He gave the statement while addressing students at the VJTI''s annual festival, Technovanza.

Dhanoa, who was the air chief between December 31, 2016, and September 30, 2019, said that after the attack on Parliament in December 2001, the force had proposed action against Pakistan through air strikes but it was not accepted.

He also stressed that if peace were to come, Pakistan would lose several of its privileges. The former IAF chief emphasised that Islamabad would keep the Kashmir pot boiling without allowing it to boil over.

"Pakistan indulges in propaganda battles and will continue to attack," said Dhanoa, adding that the Indian Air Force has the ability to fight short, swift wars.

But he pointed out that the major challenge faced by India is the fact that it has two nuclear-armed nations in its neighbourhood.

On Balakot air strike, the former IAF chief stated that the air strike had created a shock effect in Pakistan and the Pakistan Air Force was caught unaware. He had pointed out that there is a lack of joint planning among its defence forces and their morale is low.

He also stated that India had nuclear capability on land, and in the sea and in the air and China has developed a modern air force which relies on quality, not quantity.

He said that China has significantly increased the deployment of aircraft and air crew in the Tibet Autonomous Region. China is also busy on the eastern front and the South China Sea and they also have created unsinkable aircraft carriers

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