New Delhi: Pakistan troops violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Poonch sector for three quarters of an hour on Sunday morning, an Indian Army spokesperson said.
Pakistani troops started firing from automatic weapons along the LoC in Bhimbher Gali and Balakote sectors of Jammu and Kashmir at 6am, following which the Indian Army retaliated, the spokesperson said.
Marking the 11th alleged ceasefire violation in 2017 along the LoC the army stated, “There was unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan Army in Bhimbher Gali and Balakote sectors from 6am to 6:45am using two inch mortars and automatic weapons.”
According to the Indian Army, Pakistani troops also violated the ceasefire at the LoC in Poonch 12 and 13 March.
Cross-border infiltration and attacks continue to affect India-Pakistan ties. Although India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement in November 2003, the home ministry says India has registered 449 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir since then, while in January and February 2017 alone, there have been 28 violations.
“Yes, the Pakistan government continues to violate the ceasefire agreements and official sources in Pakistan continue to support cross border firing, sabotage and infiltration into India. Immediate and effective retaliation by Indian Army and BSF Personnel is carried out during instances of unprovoked fire and ceasefire violations. In addition, all violations of ceasefire are taken up with Pakistan authorities at the appropriate levels, through established mechanisms,” minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) also stated that while “Kashmir has also been witness to three infiltration bids in the last one month from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT),” the latest ceasefire violation by Pakistan comes just two days after the Hizbul Mujahideen released a video urging all Kashmiri youth to hurl stones at Indian security forces.
Meanwhile, the home ministry is scrambling to seal India’s borders by December 2018.
“The government is working on a multi-pronged strategy to deal with increasing security threat from Pakistan and has set a deadline to completely sealing the entire border in northern and western sectors by December 2018. The total sanctioned length of fence along Indo-Pakistan border is 2063.06 km out of which 2003.06 km has been completed,” said a senior home ministry official, on condition of anonymity.
Home ministry data has revealed that it is not just the northern and western borders which are under scrutiny, but India’s border with Bangladesh and Myanmar have also been made air tight.
While the total sanctioned length of fence along the Indo-Bangladesh border is 3,326 km, a length of 2,731 km has been completed, home ministry data reveals. Along the Indo-Myanmar border, a 10-km fence has been sanctioned, out of which approximately 4 km has been erected.
“The government has decided to plug the gaps along Indo-Pakistan border by means of physical and non-physical barriers. Vulnerability mapping of the Border Out Posts (BOP) which are sensitive with regard to infiltration and smuggling along the borders has been carried out. These identified BOPs have been strengthened by deploying additional manpower, special surveillance equipment, vehicles and other infrastructure support,” Ahir added.