India

Since February pact, all quiet on Line of Control

General MM Naravane reviews the security situation along the Line of Control, in Kashmir. File

General MM Naravane reviews the security situation along the Line of Control, in Kashmir. File

There has been no exchange of fire nor infiltration attempts from across the Line of Control (LoC) for over 100 days since the commitment by India and Pakistan to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire , two defence officials on the ground said.

“There have been no infiltration attempts so far. No reported infiltration as well. However, presence of terrorists at launch pads is reported. There has not been any reduction in the numbers,” a senior officer on the ground said. “The border population is the biggest beneficiary. It is a huge relief for the villagers as they are able to move freely as no firing is taking place,” the officer stated.

 

As per data from the Army, last year there were over 4,600 Cease Fire Violations (CFV) and 592 CFVs this year till the commitment came into effect on February 25. For comparison, till June 1, 2020 there were 1,531 CFVs.

However, smuggling still continues as there are several villages ahead of the LoC fence, the officer said, adding that in these 100 days there have been major seizures of narcotics and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) material, grenades and pistols. “The guns are quiet, but we have not lowered our guard,” he said.

In a conversation between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) over the established hotline on February 22, both sides agreed on “strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the LoC and all other sectors” with effect from the midnight of February 24/25, a joint statement said.

With summers setting in the high altitude areas, the next few months have to be carefully watched, said two officials. “This is just the start of the summer. So we have to take it day by day,” said one officer. “We will have to watch through the season. This season will be important to see if Pakistan walks the talk,” he added.

Last week, Army Chief Gen. Manoj Naravane was in Jammu and Kashmir to review the security situation on the ground.

However, the Kashmir Valley has not seen such steep reduction in violence, noted several officials. The local recruitment in the Valley has seen only partial reduction with respect to last year. As per data, the local recruitment in 2019 was 119 and in 2020 it was 166. Till May 1 this year it stood at 38 compared to a corresponding figure of 49 last year.

There are also regional developments which can impact the ground situation and are being closely watched, officials say. Later this month, at the plenary from June 21-25,the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will take a decision on its grey listing of Pakistan for terror financing and money laundering. Last week, Pakistan improved its rating at the Asia Pacific Group (APG) an allied body to FATF. With the FATF and U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in September, the situation is expected to remain quiet, a senior defence official said.

As per surveillance inputs, several movements of terrorists were noticed close to the LoC despite no attempts to infiltrate. For instance June 1, three groups of six terrorists each were noticed in Lipa valley in the Keran, Naugam and Rampur sectors. While the group in Keran wasn’t identified, the groups at Naugam and Rampur were identified as belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen respectively, according to ground inputs. Similarly, there were at least seven instances of terrorist groups spotted close to the LoC in May.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 12:05:41 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/loc-remains-quiet-since-february-deal/article60678747.ece