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India, Pakistan DGMOs talk over LoC firing

Army Soldiers stand guard near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch.

Army Soldiers stand guard near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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While the Indian DGMO said Pak Army’s support to terrorism unacceptable, his counterpart accused Indian Army of deliberately targeting civilians.

In an unscheduled talk over hotline on Monday, Pakistan Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza raised the issue of alleged unprovoked firing carried out by the Indian Army along the Line of Control (LoC).

“Pakistan DGMO protested on recent deliberate targeting of innocent civilians along LoC resulting into civilian casualties. Indian troops are deliberately targeting innocent civilians including children and said that such deliberate actions are serious concern and violation of 2003 agreement,” a statement from ISPR said.

In his response, Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt “emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out in response to unabated support given by Pakistan army to armed terrorists who infiltrate across the border and target Indian posts with heavy calibre weapons,” the Army said in a statement.

It said Lt Gen Bhatt also clarified that the Indian Army always maintains impeccable standards of professionalism and does not target civilians.

“On the contrary, Pakistan Army has employed civilians at the forward posts and accorded permission for permanent locations of civilians in the vicinity of Pakistan Army posts,” the Army said.

“These civilians have repeatedly been used for gaining information of locations of Indian troops and providing guides to the terrorists while crossing the LoC,” Lt Gen Bhatt told his counterpart.

On India’s allegation of targeting of civilians by Pakistan Army, DGMO Pakistan Army stated that Pakistan considered people living across LoC as its brethren and Pakistan Army as a professional force has never done such act.

The unscheduled talks were requested by the Pakistan Army.

Lt Gen Bhatt “reiterated that this support to terrorism by the Pakistan Army is unacceptable and the Indian Army will continue to take all retaliatory measures as well as retain the right to punitively respond to such provocative acts of aggression from the Pakistani side,” the Army said.

Pakistan in the past few weeks has summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner frequently to lodge its protest alleging that despite calls for restraint, India continued to indulge in ceasefire violations. “In 2017 to date, Indian forces have carried out more than 1150 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in the Shahadats of 49 innocent civilians and injuries to 165, as compared to 382 ceasefire violations in 2016,” Foreign Office spokesperson said last week. 

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 11:36:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pak-armys-support-to-terrorism-unacceptable-indian-dgmo/article19949920.ece

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