Army Chief admits raising heat along LoC
“Ceasing hostilities must be on Indian terms”
New Delhi, Mar 15: Alluding to rise in cross-border firing by India as part of a larger strategy to put pressure on Pakistan, Army chief Bipin Rawat today said that Pakistani forces have been “feeling the pain of Indian Army’s offensive” along the border.
He also said ceasing of hostilities between India and Pakistan along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir must be on Indian terms.
“So, we have raised the ante by resorting to cross-border firing which is leading to violations of ceasefire.
“Earlier, the burden was only on us to man the border and remain alert and now the Pakistan Army is facing the same pain. They also have to now remain alert on the border,” the Army chief said.
Rawat said “Pakistani posts supporting infiltrators must be punished” and asserted that “the increase in the ceasefire violations had compelled Pakistan to deploy more forces along the Line of Control, which was earlier in the hinterland or peace postings.”
Recalling the time when borders were relatively calm and the ceasefire agreement was not being violated, Rawat said “despite this the infiltration continued and there was no pressure on the Pakistani Army who aided and abetted infiltration across the LoC.”
The Army chief was speaking at an event organised by the Vivekanda International Foundation.
“Let me assure you, it is not just the Indian Army which is (alone) facing the brunt. People sitting across the LoC are suffering far more damage than what we are suffering,” the Army chief said.
When asked about the “continuing infiltration despite Indian forces showing deterrence”, Rawat termed it as a “cheap option” by Pakistan.
He, however, cautioned that if Islamabad raised the “threshold”, New Delhi would have the option of going to the next level.
“And I think Pakistan is just about ensuring that they do not raise the threshold, but then the call as to when we want to raise the threshold rests with us. It is in our hands to raise it, depending on how high we want to do it,” he said.
“The ceasefire between India and Pakistan must come on Indian terms which mean Pakistan has to stop supporting infiltration,” the Army chief said.
“You want a ceasefire and we are willing to go for a ceasefire but you stop supporting and infiltrating terrorists into our country. If you stop doing that we are willing to do that,” he said.
“So it must come on our terms. And those terms will come when they find that we have the potential to raise the ante. Gradually, if this does not work, (then) we can keep calibrating and raising the ante, till they find it that they cannot take it longer,” Rawat said.
Pak not expecting improvement in ties with India
Islamabad, Mar 15 (PTI) Pakistan is not expecting improvement in relations with India due to the frequent “ceasefire violations by India”, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said today, amid a fresh war of words over the alleged harassment of Pakistani diplomatic staff in New Delhi.
Asif’s statement comes a day after cross-border firing injured two people in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, ‘Dawn’ newspaper reported.
“India is violating ceasefire agreement time and again on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. In such circumstances we are not expecting improvement in relations between the two countries,” Asif was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan.
Pakistan has summoned Indian diplomats here several times this year, alleging ceasefire violations by Indian forces.
Last month, the Pakistan Foreign Office had claimed that Indian forces had committed more than 190 ceasefire violations since the start of 2018, killing 13 civilians and injuring 65 others through the use of heavy mortars and automatic weapons.
But India has made it clear to Islamabad that the onus is on Pakistan to create a conducive atmosphere for dialogue between the two countries.
“Any meaningful dialogue can be held only in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence. Onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere. India will continue to take firm and decisive steps to respond to cross-border terrorism,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had said in Parliament earlier this month.
Ahir said Pakistan has been asked to abide by its commitment not to allow any territory under its control to be used against India in any manner, to respect the sanctity of the International Boundary and Line of Control and to adhere to the 2003 understanding on ceasefire along the International Boundary and the LoC to maintain peace and tranquility.
Foreign Minister Asif’s comments came as the Pakistan Foreign Office claimed that the staff and their families have been facing “harassment, intimidation and outright violence” from Indian state agencies in recent weeks.