While the world is watching in horror and silence the genocide of Christians by radical Islamists in Egypt and Syria, another group has decided to stir up a half century old conflict along the LOC (Line of Control) in Jammu and Kashmir along the Indian and Pakistani border. The Press Trust of India reports the following:
After the killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistan Army troops in Poonch sector on the Line of Control (LoC) on August six, 24 ceasefire violations have taken place marking an increase in the frequency of breach of truce, Defence Minister AK Antonysaid on Monday.
“This year, there have been 82 violations till August and still four months are left. From August 6 till Monday morning till 6 AM, there is increase in frequency with 24 violations taking place including the tragedy in which our soldiers were killed in Poonch,” he said while making a suo motu statement on the issue in Rajya Sabha.
The Defence Minister observed that the number of ceasefire violations have gone up in the last few years as in 2011, there were 61 violations while in 2012, the figure rose to 117. Antony said the Army was ready to protect the sanctity of the LoC at any cost and has mobilised all of its resources to respond to the situation effectively and strongly.
It has now become clear that specialist troops of Pakistani army were involved in the August 6 attack on the Indian side of the LoC, Antony said, adding that a group from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) had crossed the LoC and killed the jawans.
Per the Chandigarh Times, there was another firefight in the Poonch region with an increase in the attacks from the Pakistani military:
Jammu, August 19
Pakistani troops continue to shell Indian forward posts with mortars and rocket propelled grenades in the Hamirpur, Mendhar, Balakote and Mankote areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district. The Indian Army has been responding in equal measure in these areas. “Heavy exchange of fire is on in Mendhar, Hamirpur, Balakote and Mankote areas since last night,” said a senior Army officer.
“There was yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistani army in the Balakote and Mendhar areas at 2.05 pm yesterday. They also opened heavy firing in Hamirpur and Balakote border belts along the LoC in Poonch last night,” said Defence spokesperson SN Acharya.
They fired mortars, RPGs and automatic weapons and were responded in equal measure, he added. No casualty or injury was reported on the Indian side, he said.
Pakistani troops also pounded civilian areas with medium mortar shells and rockets, triggering panic among border residents in Mankote, Hamirpur and Mendhar belts, said reports.
There have been 17 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in past the 10 days. At least 73 ceasefire violations have taken place from the Pakistani side from January 1 to August 19 — an 85 per cent jump since last year.
Five soldiers were killed on the intervening night of August 5 and 6 in the Chakan-da-Bagh area by Pakistan’s border action team, triggering tension between the two countries. The Poonch sector has witnessing heavy fire all along the Line of Control since August 8.
The Pakistani army opened small and heavy arms fire in Drass and Kaksar on August 12 after a gap of 14 years.
“As of now the skirmishes between the two sides are confined to mortar (a battalion level weapon). The artillery fire has not been used so far for the simple reason that it has more range, causes concentrated and considerable damage. And, then simply it is considered to be a war,” said an Army source.
Major General VP Singh, GOC, Ace of Spades Division (25 Infantry Division), had yesterday said Pakistan was making a “serious mistake” by carrying out ceasefire violations and attacks by the border action team along the Line of Control.
This escalation is not by accident. The government of Pakistan is under increasing pressure to shift the militants from the Northwest of the country towards the Indian border so as to reduce the amount and frequency of U.S. airstrikes via drones into their country. There is also a sense of desperation within the political arena as both the ISI and Pakistani military are expressing great dissatisfaction with the policies of appeasement with regards to the U.S. and India as opposed to taking a strong stand against the West. With China also violating Indian territory it would appear that there is a concerted effort to draw India into a regional conflict so as to pacify some domestic political discontent and economic stress within those nation’s respective economies.
Tonight, India has announced the deployment of special commando groups into the region to initiate retaliatory strikes should attacks occur again on Tuesday, according to an article published in the Defence News of India:
Stay tuned as the Indian economic miracle which appears to be imploding in concert with the ChiCom economy could provide some major fireworks should the Chinese and Pakistanis decide to escalate this situation further.