New Delhi: As Indian security forces in Kashmir continue flexing their muscles, in a span of just 10 days, the Indian Army and the Border Security Force (BSF) have gunned down 15 Pakistani soldiers in shoot-outs triggered by unprovoked cross-border firing by the latter, the army said.

On Monday, the Indian Army gunned down seven Pakistan Army soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Poonch district, the army’s Northern Command said .This offensive comes close on the heels of the BSF killing eight Pakistani Rangers on 4 January.

Monday’s offensive by the Indian Army was preceded by five Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants being gunned down by security forces in Kashmir’s Uri sector. Director general of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police S.P. Vaid told the media that an ongoing combing operation in the area led to the terrorists being killed.

Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat once again sounded a stern warning to Pakistan against abetting terrorism, and committing ceasefire violations.

“Pakistan Army has been continuously trying to help terrorists sneak into India along the LoC in J&K. We are using our might to teach them a lesson. If we are forced, then we may resort to ‘other actions’ by stepping up the military offensive. We will not let anti-India activities succeed at any cost," Rawat told reporters in New Delhi.

On-ground intelligence officers said the situation was not indicative of India stepping up the heat on Pakistan.

“There is not going to be a war-like situation. This proxy war works best for Pakistan because not only does it not cost them much and they will continue with it, but the losses suffered are much less than what is faced during a war. Likewise, India too will avoid a war at any cost because of the expense factor and the dent it causes to our resources," said a senior intelligence official, who did not wish to be named.

According to Union home ministry data, in 2017, Pakistan violated the ceasefire 771 times along the LoC as opposed to 228 times in 2016, signalling a 230% jump. The official quoted above added that “repeated ceasefire violations signalled desperation on Pakistan’s part to inflict greater damage on India."

In addition to this, according to intelligence reports reviewed by Mint, the Pakistan Army has been scaling up its military acquisitions.

“Pakistan Army has placed an order to China’s North Industries Corporation for procurement of 2,496 Ground Based Launchers. Inputs have been received regarding Pakistan Army raising two armed regiments. The new raisings (over and above the existing 46 regiments) are taking place at Gujranwala and Kharian respectively," one intelligence report says.

Defence experts argued that India requires a less reactive and belligerent military policy in order to engage with Pakistan.

With militant infiltration becoming cyclical with the reopening of passes in the mountains after the winter and ceasefire violations acting as cover-fire for the terrorists, experts said India needed to overhaul its military tactics in the valley.

“This problem (ceasefire violations and militant infiltration) is unending. Our policy at the border has been very belligerent over the last few years. Now, Pakistan has done a very good job of figuring out our temperament in Kashmir and how we operate militarily. We now need to beef up our internal security in order to tackle Pakistan differently," said H.S Panag, a former Indian army officer and defence expert.

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