In an indication that the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir may show signs of cooling down after nearly two weeks of tension and skirmishes, the Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed not to allow the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to escalate.
The DGMOs spoke to each other for 10 minutes, Army sources said. Pakistan’s DGMO confirmed that orders have been passed to troops to observe ceasefire strictly and exercise restraint on the LoC where tension has prevailed.
Normally, the two DGMOs speak over a hotline on Tuesdays but due to the Indian Army Day celebrations, they could not speak on January 15. Army sources said Pakistan’s DGMO protested over the issue of killing of a Pakistani soldier in firing, allegedly by Indian troops violating ceasefire along the LoC late Tuesday night and indulging in “unprovoked firing” in Hotspring and Jandrot sectors.
Sources said the Pakistani allegations were denied by his Indian counterpart, who informed him that Indian troops had exercised restraint even after they were fired upon from across the border. It was only after some time that the Indian DGMO told his Pakistani counterpart that Indian troops retaliated in response to Pakistani firing.
The DGMOs had also spoken on two earlier occasions as tension had gripped the LoC. The Indian Army has alleged that Pakistani troops violated ceasefire at least four times since Monday when a flag meeting was held at Chakkan Da Bagh.
The DGMO-level interaction is being seen as an attempt to let things cool down along the LoC, particularly after the Indian government hardened its stance over beheading of an Indian soldier on January 8. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday had said there cannot be normal business with Pakistan after such brutal incidents on the LoC.
Army Chief General Bikram Singh also vehemently denied Pakistan’s allegations that the Indians had violated the ceasefire and killed a Pakistani soldier.
“Pakistani soldier died in retaliatory fire”
“Pakistan is wrong in alleging that its soldier died in unprovoked firing on the LoC. He must have died in retaliatory fire. Our soldiers do not cross the LoC. In a ceasefire violation, we fire when they fire,” General Singh said on Wednesday.
The Army Chief, accompanied by his wife Bubbles Singh, visited the home of Lance Naik Hemraj at Khairair, near Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh. Hemraj had been beheaded by Pakistani Army regulars on the LoC in Poonch sector on January 8.
General Singh said: “We have retaliated in response to cross-firing. The relationship [between the two countries] has to be seen on what has been going on at the border,” he told journalists at Khairair village.
Talking about Hemraj, the Army Chief said his purpose here was to meet the family. “This is an expression of solidarity and concern. We respect the supreme sacrifice of the soldier.” He assured Hemraj’s family that all their requirements would be met.
He said it would be his endeavour to meet the families of all soldiers who have made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
India releases more proof
Meanwhile, India released more proof against the Pakistan Army. It released pictures of landmines, allegedly planted on the Indian side of the LoC by Pakistani troops. These anti-personnel mines were manufactured at the Pakistan Ordinance Factory.
The Army said the pictures were shared with Pakistan during Monday’s brigadier-level flag meeting. Pakistan denied all charges of starting the aggression, the Army said, adding that it was “adamant and arrogant” in its attitude.