The Indian security forces unleashed “massive retaliation” on Tuesday all along the 200-kilometre long International Border (IB) in Jammu against what they termed unprovoked firing by Pakistan Rangers that began on October 1.
The Indian attack targeted 37 Pakistani border posts, resulting in around 15 deaths, more than 30 injured and serious damage to outposts manned by the Pakistani Rangers, intelligence sources told HT.
India has lost six people and sustained 13 injuries in Pakistani firing in the Jammu sector, part of a five-fold increase in ceasefire violations on the IB this year to 41. The incidents have perplexed military analysts who are more accustomed to firing across the Line of Control (LoC) to facilitate infiltration of terrorists.
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The IB is the formal border between India and Pakistan and the 700-km LoC is a line demarcated in 1972 across which troops of either side are ranged.
A terse eight-minute phone conversation between the Indian and Pakistani deputy directors of the directorate general of military operations (DDDGMO) ended with brigadiers from both sides trading accusations.
There were some reports of the Rangers holding their fire in the wake of the strong Indian response but by and large the Pakistanis responded in kind to Indian action in Arnia, Raghubir Singh Pura, Ramgarh, Samba, Akhnoor and Pargwal.
“While India has no intention of escalating situation on the Jammu border, there is no question that the Pakistanis will be allowed to go without punishment,” said a senior South Block official.
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South Block sources said the Indian side was forced to open up after the Pakistan Army first violated the Line of Control in Poonch followed by their Rangers, who let loose with heavy machine guns and mortars in the Jammu sector.
The first incident happened on October 1, when the Pakistan Army targeted an Indian Army border outpost (BoP) under Mandi sub-division of Poonch sector. On October 3, the Pakistanis again fired at a BoP in Mandi, killing a 17-year-old girl and injuring four Indian civilians.
On October 3-4 night, the Pakistan Rangers decided to escalate firing to the IB and targeted an Indian BoP in Arnia sector. A Pakistani mortar shell landed in a house in Kaku de Kothey village in Arnia as a result of which two civilians sustained serious injuries. This was just the beginning.
On October 4, an Indian Army jawan was killed in an improvised explosive device blast and two others were badly hurt. The border action team of Pakistan-based terrorists had planted the device near Tiba forward post in Mendhar in Poonch sector.
Two days later, the Pakistan Rangers again opened up at the IB and targeted Indian BoPs in Arnia with heavy mortars, killing five civilians including a minor, and injuring 30 others. Since October 1, Indian BoPs in Mandi, Mendhar, Arnia, Khour, Ramgarh and Rajouri sector have been targeted by the Pakistani forces.
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Read: Pak media accuses India of provoking tension