Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

From Today's Papers - 07 Oct 2014

No exchange of sweets at Attari-Wagah border on Eid
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Escalating tension between India and Pakistan due to repeated ceasefire violations by the latter along the LoC in J&K seems to have taken a toll on the bilateral ties as the two countries didn’t exchange sweets and pleasantries at the Indo-Pak border on Eid here today.

This is the first time that the goodwill gesture has been dumped by both the sides in recent years.

Talking to The Tribune, Border Security Force DIG MF Farooqui confirmed that their Pakistani counterparts didn’t exchange sweets with them today for the “reasons best known to them”.

He said exchanging sweets and pleasantries on festivals such as Eid was a part of their mutually agreed norms. He said they usually have a flag meeting with the Pakistan Rangers a day before Eid during which the latter intimate them about the next day’s plan and the timings for the same are fixed.

“However, this time the Pakistan Rangers told us that they are not going to follow the norm of exchanging sweets and pleasantries on Eid. Therefore, we also took a decision on the same lines,” he said.

According to him, gestures like these need to be reciprocated and they can never be one-sided.

Though there had been tension along the LoC for the past couple of months or so, the two countries had been exchanging sweets at the border as per the protocol and laid down customs till now.

The BSF had accepted the greetings and sweets offered by the Pakistan Rangers at the Attari-Wagah joint check post on their Independence Day celebrations on August 14.

Similarly, the Pakistan Rangers too had accepted sweets offered by the BSF officials on India’s Independence Day on August 15. However, the entire exercise remained a modest affair due to tension at the LoC.

The Eid celebrations on July 29 was also a low-key affair as mediapersons were not allowed at the Zero Line where the sweets were exchanged by the BSF officials and the Pak Rangers.

BSF officials present sweets to Pak Rangers on Diwali, Independence Day and Republic Day. On the other hand, the Pakistan Rangers offer the same to the BSF on their Independence Day.

BSF to protest Pak move

The BSF will lodge a protest against the Pakistan move. BSF DIG MF Farooqui said they would send a protest note to the Pakistan authorities as it was a clear violation of mutually agreed norms. Subsequently, there would be a discussion on the protest note in their monthly meeting, he added. On being asked about the BSF’s strategy on presenting sweets to the Pakistan Rangers on Diwali, he said, “It all depends on their response to the protest letter dispatched by us. As far as the BSF is concerned we are committed to maintaining harmony.”
 Rajnath warns of quick action
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 6
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today strongly asked Pakistan to put an end to the ceasefire violations along the LoC and the international border in J&K. He warned of appropriate retaliation to Pakistan firing.

Since the firing targeted Arnia, which is along the international border in J&K, the BSF has been tasked to respond with adequate fire-power, sources said. The BSF is mandated along the international boundary, while the Army is mandated along the LoC.

“A response is expected from the BSF soon,” a source said. BSF Director General DK Pathak briefed Rajnath on the situation. Rajnath said: “India will not tolerate Pakistan ceasefire violations anymore. It should understand the reality that times have changed in India.”

The Home Affairs Ministry has asked Pathak to rush to the border areas of J&K and coordinate the response. Pakistan rangers used automatic weapons and mortars to target the border hamlets along the border last night.

Pakistan also shelled Army-patrolled areas along the LoC in the Mendhar sector today. The Army has responded adequately and the Director Generals of Military Operations on either side are expected to speak tomorrow over the telephone hotline.
Army to procure new APCs for UN missions
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
To meet the operational requirements of troops deployed overseas on peacekeeping missions under the United Nations (UN), the Army is planning to acquire modern armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

The Army is projected its preference for wheeled APCs over tracked vehicles. These would replace the earlier BTR-60 and BRDMs, which are of Soviet origin and date back to the 60s and 70s.

India is among the largest contributors of troops for UN peacekeeping missions, having contributed over 1.60 lakh troops for 43 operations since Independence.

Many operations call for deployment of armoured vehicles to protect troops. Besides APCs, India has also deployed the tracked BMP-1/2/3 mechanised infantry combat vehicles and even T-72 tanks as in Operation Continue Hope in war ravaged Somalia.

The Army is on the hunt for APCs with high mobility, state of the art driving and navigation aids, modern electro-optical sights for the driver, gunner and commander, firing ports in the hull, provision for externally mounted anti-tank guided missiles, adequate environmental protection and amphibious capability.

While wheeled vehicles are more susceptible to damage by small arms fires, mines, grenades and artillery fragments because of exposed tyres, suspension and underbelly components that tracked vehicles, they have higher road mobility and better maneuverability in built up and semi-built areas and in areas where operations in difficult terrain are not an issue.

Besides emitting a lower noise signature, wheeled vehicles have better fuel economy and require lesser support and maintenance. This has a direct correlation with operational logistics.
Blasting away at peace
Civilians bear the brunt of firing on Line of Control

The heavy firing by Pakistan on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir is yet another violation of the ceasefire between the two countries. A number of adults and a child lost their lives and many civilians were injured in this particular instance. Civilians are most affected by such actions. Their lives are at risk, they can be injured and at the very least, they have to be evacuated to safer areas, which disrupts their lives and affects their livelihood. Hundreds of panic-stricken civilians have been moved to safe areas this time. Earlier in August sustained firing had caused displacement of an estimated 15,000 civilians.

Security agencies, sometimes, tie such firing to attempts by the Pakistani intelligence agencies to infiltrate terrorists into India. The onset of winter is when such attempts are made frequently and thus there is concerted effort to push more and more people into India. While the immediate objectives of the Pakistan army are not clear, there can be little doubt that using machine guns, mortars and other weapons and firing in such a sustained manner is bound to be counterproductive. Not only does it provoke a similar response from the Indian side, it also makes it ever so difficult to restart a stalled diplomatic process, which is the only way of achieving lasting peace between the two neighbours.

Instances of civilians falling victim to or being injured in such cross-border firing are too numerous to ignore. The Pakistan army needs to understand that its efforts at puncturing the overall peaceful relations between the two counties are seen by many as nothing but an ineffectual assertion of its identity. India and Pakistan need to move their relations forward, and peace is a prerequisite for that. Cross-border firing will and should meet with an effective response. On the other hand, peace overtures would, and should, meet with positive actions that can be building blocks for better relations.
Border flares up again: Five civilians killed in Pak firing
35 injured as Rangers shell villages in RS Pura
Rajnath warns Pak
Tribune News Service
Arnia/Jammu/New Delhi, October 6
Pakistan Rangers today opened indiscriminate fire along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, killing five civilians, including four of a family, and injuring 35 others in one of the worst truce violations, triggering a strong reaction from New Delhi.

Along the Line of Control, the Pakistani Army flared up a 40-km stretch comprising Mankote-cum-Balnoi, Mendhar and Balakote sectors in Poonch district.

“Pakistani troops indulged in heavy and unprovoked firing on 15 border outposts (BoPs) and half-a-dozen forward villages along the International Border in Arnia in RS Pura sector of Jammu,” said a BSF spokesman said. “Our troops retaliated strongly and gave a befitting reply to the Rangers,” said BSF DG, DK Pathak.
In New Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned Pakistan against ceasefire violations. "Pakistan should stop truce violations now and understand the reality that times have changed in India," said Rajnath Singh.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley deplored the ceasefire violations from across the border and said the Indian armed forces were "fully ready" and are responding to each of these provocations from across the border. “Pakistan must realise that the kind of environment it is generating between the two countries is not going to help in normalising relations. The onus of creating a positive environment is on Pakistan which is failing to do so,” said Jaitley. J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly condemned the shelling on civilians, saying targeting them exposed the frustration of the Pakistani Government after its failure to gain international attention on the Kashmir issue.

In RS Pura sector, four members of a family were killed as Rangers pounded border hamlets. The deceased have been identified as Parshottam Lal alias Pappu, his daughter Kajal, sister-in-law Satya, nephew Rajesh Kumar — all from Mahashe-De-Kothe village. Parshottam’s uncle Khazan Chand said: “Three shells landed around 1.30 am and we lost everything. We have been left shattered.”

Ram Lal (60) of Mahashe-Di-Bohri village was also killed in the shelling. Among the injured are mostly relatives and friends of Arnia resident Babu Ram who had invited over 100 guests to celebrate his grand-daughter first birthday. “Nearly 25 people were sleeping on the roof when a mortar shell exploded, injuring many. My brother Prakash has been seriously injured while my neighbour Ram Lal died,” said Babu Ram.

BSF’s Jammu Frontier IG, RK Sharma said 82 mm mortars were fired by the Rangers, “We always try to de-escalate the situation, but such unprovoked firing needs strong reply. We will retaliate to protect our people.”

Jammu DC, AK Sahu, said, “The administration has announced Rs one lakh each for the next kin of the deceased. The injured will be given Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for their treatment.” The administration has identified schools in Salehar, Deoli, Rehal and Bishnah to house people till situation normalises.“Food and transportation will be provided to them,” said Sahu.

In Poonch, Pakistani troops opened heavy fire on Indian posts in Mankote-cum-Balnoi, Mendhar and Balakote sectors. From 9 am to 10 am, Pakistani troops opened heavy fire, including mortars, and then switched over to automatic weapons and small arms, said a defence spokesperson.

“Around 5.30 pm, Pakistani troops opened mortar fire in Kerni sector of Poonch. At 9 pm, they again resorted to heavy mortar shells in Mankote sector of Poonch,” the spokesman said. The firing was on till the reports last came in.
Five killed, 34 injured in heavy shelling by Pakistan along LoC; India says 'forces ready'
Jammu/New Delhi: In one of the worst ceasefire violations by Pakistan, five villagers were killed in overnight heavy mortar shelling and firing from across the international border and Line of Control in Jammu and Poonch sectors even as two more violations took place since evening.

Pakistani troops indulged in heavy and unprovoked firing and shelling of mortars on 10 border outposts (BoPs) and civilian areas along international border (IB) in Arnia belt of Jammu district from 10 PM spilling over to this morning, a BSF spokesman said. As many as 34 people were also injured in this incident.

In a fresh ceasefire violation between 1540 hours and 1600 hours, Pakistani troops fired at a forward area along Line of Control (LoC) in Kerni belt of Poonch district, a defence spokesman said.

"They fired mortar bombs, automatic and small arms during the firing," the spokesman said. There was no loss of life or injury to any person in the firing and shelling.

At 2100 hours again, Pakistan resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing in Mankote sector of Poonch district, the spokesman said. There have been a dozen ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border in J and K during the last four days.

The exchange of fire was on, he said, adding no casualty has been reported so far on the Indian side. BSF troops retaliated effectively and gave a befitting reply in the overnight ceasfire violation, the spokesman said.

In the shelling, five villagers were killed and 34 injured in several hamlets, SSP, Jammu, Uttam Chand told PTI.

In New Delhi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley deplored the ceasefire violations from across the border and said the Indian armed forces were "fully ready" and are responding to each of these provocations from across the border.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations now and understand the reality that times have changed in India."

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly condemned the shelling on civilians, saying targeting them exposed the frustration of the Pakistani government after its failure to gain international attention on the Kashmir issue.

Omar attended cremation of those killed in Arnia and also visited the village which came under heavy Pakistani shelling the wee hours of today.
The Chief Minister said he will brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in the wake of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

A PTI correspondent, who visited some of the affected areas hit by the shelling, saw blood stained beds, torn off roof-tops and windows punctured by bullets besides splinters of mortar bombs lying scattered around.

There were some reports of people moving out of the affected areas, fearing fresh attacks.

The Pakistani troops also resorted to mortar shelling and firing on forward posts along LoC in Bhimber Gali belt of Poonch district since 0830 hours today, a Defence spokesman said.
Army foils infiltration bid along LoC, kills 3 terrorists

The Indian Army on Monday foiled an infiltration bid and killed three terrorists along Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar Sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Three terrorists were killed in Tangdhar sector along the LoC after the midnight when they were trying to cross the border," Col. Brijesh Pandey of the 15 Corps headquarters, told IANS.

Earlier, five civilians were killed and 35 injured in shelling from the Pakistani side of the India-Pakistan border in Jammu district.

Monday's major ceasefire violations by Pakistani rangers came on a day when Muslims in both India and Pakistan are celebrating the holy Eid-ul-Azha festival.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal