Saturday, 22 July 2017

Figures tabled in parliament say violence rising in Kashmir and on LoC



By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 21st July 17

Even as Indian troops remain locked into a month-long confrontation with Chinese border guards on the Sikkim border, violence is rising in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) – both on the border with Pakistan’s army and in jihadi insurgency in the Valley.

Figures tabled in parliament on Friday reveal that as many ceasefire violations have taken place on the Line of Control (LoC) this year, as in all of 2016. Up to July 11, fire was exchanged 228 times across the LoC – more than one violation daily on average, although the 2003 ceasefire remains notionally in place.

Chart 1: Ceasefire violations

Ceasefire violations
Year
Along Line of Control in J&K   (under control of Army)
Along international border in J&K (under control of BSF)
2014
153
430
2015
152
253
2016
228
221
2017
  228*
   23#

(Source: Figures tabled in Lok Sabha on July 20, 2017)
* Upto 11th July, 2017
# upto 30th June, 2017

With the LoC showing no signs of cooling off, ceasefire violations are set to more than double from the 153 infringements in 2014, and a similar number in 2015.

The good news is that ceasefire violations have dramatically reduced this year along the international border in the Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts, which is manned on the Indian side by the Border Security Force (BSF) and on the Pakistani side by the paramilitary Rangers.

Chart 2: Casualties due to ceasefire violations

Year
Army
BSF#
Civilians#

Fatal
Injured
Fatal
Injured
Fatal
Injured
2014
01
11
02
17
14
101
2015
06
17
04
09
16
71
2016
08
74
05
25
13
83
2017
  04*
  21*
  01#
  03#
  03#
 14#

(Source: Figures tabled in Lok Sabha on July 20, 2017)
* Upto 11th July, 2017
# upto 30th June, 2017

Indicating an improvement in the Indian army’s operational procedures, casualties on the border have reduced this year, despite far more firing. Compared to eight soldiers killed and 74 wounded last year, 2017 has so far witnessed four dead and 21 injured. Civilian casualties in cross-border firing have also reduced steadily.

Chart 3: Militant attacks on the army

Year
Number of incidents
Army Fatalities
2015
04
-
2016
09
31
  2017*
14
09

(Source: Figures tabled in Lok Sabha on July 20, 2017)
* Upto 11th July, 2017

Despite a sharply uptick this year in militant attacks (which the army terms “terrorist initiated incidents”) significantly fewer soldiers have died. Last year, 31 soldiers were killed in nine militant attacks, including the operational setbacks at Pathankote Air Base in January (seven soldiers killed); and in Uri in September (19 soldiers killed).

In contrast this year, nine soldiers have died in in 14 militant attacks.

Along with militancy, jihadi infiltration across the LoC has risen sharply this year. In each of the last three years, 30-40 militants were killed in 18-27 infiltration attempts. This year, 36 militants have already been gunned down in 16 infiltration bids.

Chart 4: Infiltration bids eliminated on LoC

Year
Infiltration bids
Infiltrators killed
Soldiers killed
2014
23
39
09
2015
18
30
08
2016
27
37
09
  2017*
16
36
03

(Source: Figures tabled in Lok Sabha on July 20, 2017)
* Upto 11th July, 2017

Both the Indian and Pakistani armies deny responsibility for cease-fire violations. On July 17, after Pakistan’s director general of military operations (DGMO) called his Indian counterpart on a hotline to protest the killing of four Pakistani soldiers and a civilian, the Indian DGMO’s response, according to an army statement, “highlighted that all Cease-Fire Violations (sic) were initiated by Pakistan Army… [but the] Indian Army reserved the right to retaliate appropriately.”

Sources in Rawalpindi (Pakistan Army headquarters) also deny responsibility for ceasefire violations. A serving Pakistani general, speaking anonymously, highlights two reasons for wanting to keep the LoC quiet. First, Pakistan wants global attention focused on the civilian unrest in the Valley, not on ceasefire violations that allow India to “change the narrative” to one of Pakistani aggression.

Second, many Indian army posts occupy comparatively dominating terrain on the LoC, allowing them to observe into nearby Pakistani posts and fire effectively into them. Cease-fire violations, according to this logic, imposes a heavier cost on Pakistan than on India.

“We naturally respond to unprovoked firing from the Indian side and make them pay a price. But that is only when India starts it”, says the Pakistani general.

Nothwithstanding claims of innocence, both Indian and Pakistani armies have officially claimed to have attacked and destroyed each others’ military posts. On May 23, three weeks after the bodies of two Indian soldiers were mutilated on the LoC, the Indian Army released (without comment) a video of a military post being destroyed by heavy firing.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan Army’s public relations chief, Major General Asif Ghafoor, posted a similar clip on his Twitter feed, with the caption: “Clip showing Pak Army’s response to Indian CFV (ceasefire violation) today. Every CFV shall get such aggressive & effective response (sic).”

It is not possible to verify the date or geographical locations of such video clips.

2 comments:

Anupam Das said...

When you shook the hornet's nest, its bound to happen

Anonymous said...

Pakistan needs to co-operate with india on ensuring none of citizens create trouble by physically entering or by networks /phone/social media.
As long as this happens , it is automatically cease fire violation. Then Indian army will fire. Period.