Poonch: Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control by the Pakistan Army continued on Monday with firing reported at Mendhar sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. The firing reportedly began at 2:35 pm, retaliation from the Indian side was in progress.
The Indian Army soldiers, meanwhile, are keeping a 'hawk's eye' on the LoC in Poonch. "Our morale is very high. We are not scared of Pakistani firing and are ready to retaliate strongly, paying them in the same coin," Sepoy Raj Singh said. "We have to keep an hawk's eye on the LoC at all times... it does not matter whether there is a ceasefire violation or firing on our posts or infiltration of militants and BAT teams," Singh added.
Situation in the past few weeks in Poonch-Rajouri sector has deteriorated following repeated ceasefire violations, firing on forward posts and snipper-firings which has forced jawans, officers and commanding officers to remain on their toes along the 225-km-long LoC.
Meanwhile, AK Antony in a tough message to Pakistan said that India's restraint should not be taken for granted.
Not only they have to patrol the LoC to check infiltration of militants, they also have to battle inhospitable terrains at high altitudes coupled with near zero-visibility. "Apart from Pakistan Army firing, we have to fight inhospitable terrains. Visibility in cloudy conditions along the LoC becomes so poor that we cannot see our own jawans even at a distance of 10 to 20 metres," Altaf Ahmed, a JCO, said.
Unperturbed by continuous firing and burst of Pak 62-mm mortar shells near a high-altitude post here last night, Sepoy Singh assured his officer of a 'strong retaliation'. Another jawan manning a LMG post bang on Zeroline in KG sub-sector pointed out in the dark and said in a defiant tone, "We will not be cowed down."
"Pakistani troops have been firing intensely on our forward posts daily with mortars, rockets, RPG and high calibre weaponry," Brigade Commander, 120 Infantry Brigade, A Sengupta said. "Our troops are alert and if there is firing from across the border we are ready with a befitting reply," he said. General Officer Commanding (GoC), 25 Infantry Division, Major General VP Singh yesterday said, "Morale of our troops is high. You need a lot of force to break it. We are actively responding along the LoC."
Since January, there has been 70 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops, which is 85 per cent more than last year during the same corresponding period, Army officers said. Referring to the ceasefire violations, Singh warned that Pakistan was making a big mistake and advised them to refrain from doing so. "You (Pakistan) are making a serious mistake...It would be better if you do not do it. This would not affect us nor weaken our resolve. We are here to respond to each and every act of yours in whichever way it is," he said.
Blaming Pakistan for killing of its five soldiers on August 6 in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, India today said its restraint should not be taken for granted and that the incident will have consequence on the relationship with the neighbouring country. "Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC ever be doubted," Defence Minister AK Antony said in Rajya Sabha.
(With additional information from PTI)