RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said the Indian Army will always get a "befitting response" to ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).
According to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief's remarks came during a visit to the LoC where he was received by Corps Commander Rawalpindi Corps Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas.
Gen Bajwa was briefed about the latest violations by Indian forces "deliberately targeting innocent civilians along LOC" and the Army’s response, said the statement. "Blatantatrocities by Indian occupation forces on innocent Kashmiris and unethical targeting of civil population in (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) is unacceptable," it quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.
He said that such provocations by Indian forces are "a threat to regional peace and stability" and that the Indian Army "shall always get a befitting response" to ceasefire violations. "Pakistan Army shall protect innocent civilians along LoC and defend honour, dignity and territorial integrity of motherland at all costs," said the Army Chief. General Bajwa noted with appreciation the "operational preparedness and high morale of troops", said the statement, adding that the officers were lauded for their "continued vigilance and professionalism".
The Army Chief also acknowledged the strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols and the "proactive assistance" provided by troops to the AJK government in its fight against the disease. "Army will continue to support the national effort against the pandemic," said General Bajwa.
On Monday, a woman was martyred and a minor girl sustained injuries when Indian troops opened unprovoked fire along the LoC.
According to an ISPR statement, the ceasefire violation occurred at Jandrot & Khuiratta sectors in the morning hours. The wounded child was later evacuated and provided medical care, the statement added.
Director General (South Asia & Saarc) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri summoned Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia, to register Pakistan's "strong protest" over the ceasefire violations, said a statement by the Foreign Office the same day.
"The Indian occupation forces along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB) have continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars and automatic weapons. This year, India has committed 882 ceasefire violations," the statement read.
Tensions have been high between the two nuclear-armed states over the past couple of years. India and Pakistan came close to war in February last year after the Pulwama suicide attack that left more than 40 Indian soldiers dead.
India blamed Pakistan for aiding militants who carried out the attack. Islamabad denied the accusations. However, on February 26, 2019, Indian jets bombed Balakot. The next day, PAF jets shot down two Indian planes and captured an Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.