Over the past few days as the India-China face-off along Line of Actual Control has worsened with Chinese troops killing twenty Indian soldiers, the Line of Control with Pakistan has also heated up. India and Pakistan have engaged in artillery duels along the border resulting in loss of lives of soldiers and civilians. Latest exchange of firing took place along Nowgam sector in Kupwara. Earlier, there was shelling in Tanghdar sector. In the skirmishes along the border in Jammu’s Poonch sector, an army man was killed and three others were injured in the shelling from Pakistani side. In Pakistan administered Kashmir, a woman and three young boys lost their lives.
But while the entire focus has been on the LAC, the violence on the LoC and its fraught nature has gone largely unnoticed. Alongwith the potential of these skirmishes to grow into a major military confrontation, the recurrent border violence is making life hell for the civilians living along the border. They have to move to safer areas along with their cattle. In some areas the government has made underground bunkers for the shelter of the fleeing people. But they are not enough to accommodate all the people. In some areas along the border, the government has yet to build bunkers that is taking heavy on the life of border dwellers. More so, in Kashmir where such bunkers remain grossly inadequate in number. For example, in Uri the residents recently protested the lack of bunkers in vulnerable areas. Though the administration has recently sanctioned Rs 25 crore for 125 underground bunkers along the LoC in Baramulla and Kupwara, there has been no progress on the work. The issue has been brought into fresh focus after a woman from Batgra village in Uri lost her life when she was hit by a shell fired from Pakistan. The shelling damaged several residential houses as well.
As for the military implications of these frequent LoC face-offs, situation has the potential to worsen in the upcoming weeks and months. There is a possibility that the skirmishes can escalate into a bigger confrontation. The bitterness between the neighbours now runs deeper than before. The leaders of the two countries have now even given up the pretense of showing interest in the engagement thus abdicating their responsibility towards peace in the region. This has let the violence take the centre stage again. And with the LAC stand-off with China taking a war-like dimension, the violence along the LoC cannot be ignored. From the looks of it, the current instability seems set to continue for some time. Here’s hoping it all ends up well.
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