Amid heightened tension along the LoC, which has witnessed a spurt in ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Army on Sunday said it has inputs about Pakistan trying to engineer more Border Action Team (BAT) attacks along the borderline.
India has blamed BAT, which is a mix of Pakistani special forces personnel and terrorists, for the brutal killing of its two soldiers in January, one of whom was beheaded, and killing of its five personnel along Line of Control in Poonch sector.
“There are inputs of such (BAT) actions. In this area they have not done anything so far. There are inputs that they are going to try something (engineer BAT attacks on the forward posts along LoC),” Brigade Commander, 120 Infantry Brigade, A Sengupta told reporters in Bhimbher Gali in poonch sector along the LoC.
Brig Sengupta was replying to volley of questions about whether there were inputs of more BAT attacks along LoC in Poonch, increase in ceasefire violation and India’s response.
“But we are ready for that (any Pakistani BAT attack)”, the Brigade commander said.
There have been 70 ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops in 2013 from January one to August 5, which is 85% more than the last year during the same corresponding period, Army officials said.
The fierce exchanges in recent weeks have cast a shadow on the prospect of the 2003 Indo-Pak border truce. India and Pakistan entered into the border ceasefire as a confidence building measure during NDA rule and it will complete one decade on November 26, 2013.
The ceasefire violation have been reported on daily basis for past nine days without a break, forcing Indian troops to retaliate, they said.
Six jawans were killed and five jawans were among nine persons injured in ceasefire violations and firing by Pakistan troops on forwards post, civilian areas and patrolling parties along Indo-Pak border during August 2013.
“Pakistan troops have been firing on our forward posts daily for past couple of days. They are firing intensely with mortar bomb, rockets, RPG and high calibre weaponry,” Brigadier Sengupta said.
They are not only directly firing on the posts but also target civilian villages along borderline, said the officer, who looks after operation command of three-tiered fence along the LoC in Bhimber gali sector.
“Pakistan is not showing any respect to the Indo-Pak ceasefire. They are violating it daily by firing at us. Where is sanctity of this truce,” he said, maintaining that Indian troops have always respected the truce despite provocations in the past.
“Not only this there is also threat of Pak BAT attacks on our posts so the troops are alert and vigilant round the cock,” said Col Anai Shanker of unit deployed in the border-sector.
Sengupta said the firing from Pakistani side was aimed at helping terrorists infiltrate and demoralise the troops posted along LoC. “But the morale of our troops is very high,” he said.
The officer said the ceasefire violations are “very intense and totally unprovoked”.
“Troops are ready to give a strong response to those firing from across. We have also strongly retaliated in these sectors — their five posts have been damaged in retaliation by us,” Sengupta said.
He said officers have been asked to respond strongly and effectively.
“We have fired heavy calibre weapons from our side in retaliation. They have been firing at us for past one week without any reason with an intention to cause casualties,” he said.
He said the ceasefire violations from across are due to frustration over failure of infiltration bids by terrorists.
“We have major inputs that there are a large number of terrorists — from 200-300 (waiting to infiltrate),” he said.
Since August 10, the army personnel feel that the daily Pakistani firing has brought the situation back to pre-2003 when jawans were entrenched in their mud posts with LMGs and MMGs round-the-clock to retaliate to any Pakistani provocation.
“There was not much firing from Pakistan in past years. It was once of twice in two to three months that major ceasefire violation from Pakistan took place. But this year ceasefire violations and firing has increased. We have accordingly changed our strategy of movements,” a jawan said.
“We are engaged sometimes in night-long exchanges. Peace on the borders seems to have ended,” Jawan Raju Singh said.