Army chief pledges precise response to Handwara killings
The army chief reiterated that the infiltration attempts by Pakistan along the LoC clearly indicated that the neighbouring army was not interested in battling the coronavirus disease pandemic and was pursuing “its own myopic and limited agenda of pushing terrorists inside India”.Updated: May 05, 2020 02:19 IST
Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Monday said Pakistan was pushing terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir under its “myopic and limited” agenda even during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, and warned that India will respond appropriately and with “precision” to state-sponsored terrorism.
The chief’s comments came two days after five security personnel, including a colonel and a major, were killed in an encounter in north Kashmir’s Handwara.
“I would like to emphasise that Indian Army will give proportionate response to all acts of infringement of ceasefire and its (Pakistan’s) support to terrorism. The onus remains with Pakistan to bring peace in the region. Unless Pakistan gives up its policy of state-sponsored terrorism, we will continue to respond appropriately and with precision,” news agency PTI quoted the army chief as saying in an interview.
There has been an unusual spike in ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army at the Line of Control (LoC) this year to help infiltrators sneak into Jammu and Kashmir compared to border violations over recent years. The neighbouring army has violated the ceasefire about 1,400 times already this year. Violations by the Pakistan Army numbered 3,168 in 2019 and 1,629 in 2018.
The army chief reiterated that the infiltration attempts by Pakistan along the LoC clearly indicated that the neighbouring army was not interested in battling the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and was pursuing “its own myopic and limited agenda of pushing terrorists inside India”.
On the Handwara encounter, Naravane said the country was proud of Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, the commanding officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles battalion, and the four other security personnel who lost their lives while saving civilians from terrorists. A group of terrorists held civilian hostages inside a house at Changimulla village in the Rajwar forest when a five-man joint army-police team, led by Colonel Sharma, swung into action to rescue the hostages on Saturday. Sharma’s team was able to extricate the hostages but at the cost of their own lives.
“Even in the hinterland, Pakistan-backed terrorists are resorting to targeting innocent civilians with an aim to coerce them into following their azadi narrative. Pakistan claims to be a friend of Kashmiris; I want to ask what sort of friend resorts to killing and spreads terror,” the PTI report quoted Naravane as saying.
As reported by Hindustan Times on May 2, the nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has not affected counter-insurgency operations in J&K. Instead, these operations have intensified and resulted in the killing of the highest number of terrorists belonging to different Pakistan-based outfits in April. On the implementation of recommendations of the anti-terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force by Pakistan, the army chief said Islamabad had made superficial changes to its “non-existent checks” on terror financing and money laundering.
“It still continues to employ proxies to inflict terror and violence not only inside India but also in Afghanistan, where it supports the Taliban militarily and financially,” the army chief said.