Army defuses three mortar shells along LoC
STATE TIMES NEWSJammu: An Army officer was martyred in a gunfight with terrorists who had sneaked into Indian territory taking cover of firing from the Pakistani side in Rajouri, and two civilians were injured in cross-border shelling on villages along the LoC in Poonch district on Tuesday, officials said.
Indian forces capable of giving befitting reply to those who cast evil eye on us: RajnathNew Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said India has never been the aggressor but its armed forces are capable of giving a befitting reply to those who cast an evil eye on it. The Navy has maintained vigilance to ensure that 26/11 is not repeated, Singh added while addressing the media at the Naval Commanders Conference. India, he said, has never been “offensive”. “It’s character is such that it has not attacked any country nor conquered even an inch of land belonging to another nation. But the armed forces have the capability and strength to give a befitting reply to anyone who casts an evil eye on us,” the minister said.He was responding to a query on Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed reported statement that his country would retaliate against India with a nuclear attack for targeting Pakistani military posts in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector.According to Indian Army officials, there was unprovoked firing by Pakistan in the sector on the intervening night of Saturday-Sunday.On Sunday, the Indian Army retaliated by launching heavy artillery attacks, targeting at least four terror camps and several Pakistani military positions opposite the Tangdhar sector along the Line of Control, the officials said.On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on the CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), Singh said it would also improve the overall coordination amongst the three services, a statement issued by the Defence Ministry said.The three-day second edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference began here on Tuesday. It is the apex level biannual event for interaction between naval commanders for deliberation and formulation of important policy decisions.On the Indian Navy, the defence minister said that after visiting naval ships, submarines and establishments, including IMAC (Information Management and Analysis Centre), and having witnessed a wide range of naval operations at sea, he is confident that the Navy will continue to perform the duty of safeguarding the maritime interests of the nation.Singh also said that global terrorism continues to be a challenge for all security forces and that sea routes have their own vulnerability.He urged the naval commanders to continue reviewing procedures and strengthen the coastal security framework to counter emerging threats and challenges effectively.“Post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the Navy has made concerted efforts to strengthen security and stability of our waters and coastal regions, and enhance inter-agency cooperation and coordination.“Our Navy’s resolve is that 26/11 will not be repeated under any circumstances and it has ensured tight vigil,” he said, referring to the November 2008 terror siege of Mumbai.A strong Navy remains a necessary guarantor of India’s security and prosperity, and therefore the need for a modern, potent and credible Navy cannot be over-emphasised, Singh said.For the Indian economy to reach the USD 5 trillion mark by 2025 there is a requirement for a stable and balanced environment in which Navy has a crucial role to play in the form of safeguarding the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC), which are the economic lifeline, he observed.In this context, he highlighted the swift and calibrated manner in which the Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’ in wake of the incidents involving attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June this year.Escorting Indian flagged merchant vessels through this energy lifeline of the country during Operation Sankalp, the Navy has emphatically reiterated its ability to defend India’s critical national interests, he said.Singh said the Indian Navy has also established itself as a vital tool for military diplomacy.The Indian Navy is marching towards indigenisation and its ships have a high percentage of indigenous equipment, Singh added.The minister also said all three services have placed emphasis on the need to reduce defence imports.“All the three forces are also working to pick up niche technologies to meet the challenges,” he said.
Giving details of the Rajouri incident, a senior Army officer said that a patrol team saw “suspicious movement” near the forward area along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kalal belt of Nowshera sector and engaged with the terrorists. In the ensuing gunfight, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the Army was critically injured and later succumbed to his injuries, he said, adding that Pakistani troops also fired at the Indian side in the sector.
“Today, a JCO was martyred in Nowshera sector,” a defence spokesman said in a brief statement following the fresh ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the LoC in Rajouri district.
Earlier in the day, two civilians, including a woman, were injured in heavy Pakistan shelling along the LoC in Poonch district, officials said. Mortar shelling from across the border started at around 1.20 PM, prompting strong retaliation from Indian Army, the officials said.
The latest cross-border firing came two days after the Indian Army, in a major counter-offensive in retaliation to Pakistan’s unprovoked action, carried out heavy artillery strikes targeting four terror launch pads and several Pakistani military positions in Neelam Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), killing six to 10 of their soldiers and nearly 20 terrorists.
The defence spokesman said the shelling in Balakote sector in Poonch ended at around 2:00 PM.
While the injured woman, Gulabo Bano, was shifted to hospital, the other was discharged after first-aid, the officials said.
People in the shelling-hit villages rushed to the safety of their homes and underground bunkers, while the children in some schools falling within the range were escorted to safety by Army and police personnel, the officials said.
On Saturday, Pakistani troops had resorted to firing in Tangdhar sector of Kashmir along the LoC to assist infiltration by terrorists, in which two Indian Army personnel were martyred and a civilian was killed. Three others were injured in the attack.
Two soldiers were martyred and a woman was also killed in separate incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan in north Kashmir’s Uri sector, Nowshera in Rajouri and Shahpur sector in Poonch district between October 12 and 15.
Meanwhile, the Army has defused three live mortar shells fired by Pakistan troops along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, officials said.
With the safe defusal of the mortar shells by Army engineers, a tragedy had been averted in Karmara village of Poonch district, they said. Pakistan has been resorting to heavy mortar shelling along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir for the past over one month.
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