Army Neutralises Terrorists As Pak Ramps Up Terrorism During Pandemic

In the year 2020, there has been continuous meddling from Pakistan-backed terror groups in J&K and along the LoC. Apart from killing 50 terrorists in 2020, of which 18 were during the lockdown, Indian Army and other security forces have been actively clearing militant posts across LoC. In what seems to be an ongoing operation, Indian forces are on high alert.

Crux of the Matter

2nd May – Handwara
Encounter broke out between Indian soldiers and terrorists at Handwara, J&K – it lasted 12 hours. 5 Indian soldiers were martyred and 2 terrorists killed. One of the terrorists was a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader, Haider. In the Changimulla region, civilians were taken hostage by these terrorists. They were rescued by the Security Forces.

4th May – Kupwara
A CRPF battalion was attacked by militants in the Kupwara region of J&K. 3 CRPF men martyred and a dead body of a 14-year old also found. Militants manage to escape. Army is unsure of militants’ link to Handwara terrorists.

6th May – Pulwama
Security forces got intel of top Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Riyaaz Naikoo being in Pulwama. He was visiting his parents. Since the evening of 5th May, the entire area was cordoned off and search operation was carried out. Riyaz found in a bunker on the early morning of Wednesday. Security personnel opened fire on Riyaz and his aide, both of whom fired back. The forces blew off the house he was trapped in and successfully neutralized him. Internet and SMS services were temporarily suspended to avoid clashes.

Timeline: Terror Strikes in 2020

January1st – Breach at LoC near Rajouri, 3 militants and 2 Indian Army personnel died

25th – 3 terrorists including JeM leader Qari Yasir and 2 Indian soldiers killed
February9th – Army kills 3 militants at LoC near Poonch and attacks terror launch pads near LoC in Nakyal village of PoK
March4th – MoS for Defence, Shripad Naik informs there were 646 ceasefire violations between 1 Jan – 23 Feb at International Border and Line of Control

31st – Forces bust militant bunker along LoC and recover arms and ammunition in large numbers
April5th – 5 LeT terrorists trying to infiltrate through LoC near Keran killed; 4 Indian soldiers martyred; major infiltration avoided

9th – JeM commander Sajad Nawab Dar killed

22nd – Massive shelling along LoC and on Indian posts from Pak’s side; J&K DGP Dilbag accuses Pak for disrupting peace in the valley during the Coronavirus pandemic
  • Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, father of Osama Bin Laden, was a multi-millionaire Saudi businessman working primarily in the construction industry. He founded what is today the Saudi Binladin Group and became the wealthiest non-royal Saudi, establishing the wealth and prestige of the Bin Laden family.
  • CRPF is considered the largest paramilitary force in India. It has over 3 lakh personnel in 246 battalions. It reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s during the conflicts of Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Palestine.

LoC turns into Line of Chaos amidst J&K Ceasefire Violations

According to Indian intelligence reports, 15 Pakistan army troopers along with eight terrorists were killed on April 10, after the latter initiated heavy artillery fire in the civilian area of Keran in J&K. Considering this as a violation of the 2003 ceasefire accord agreed for Line of Control (LoC), tensions flared between India and Pakistan.
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Crux of the Matter

What’s a Ceasefire Violation?
A ceasefire (or truce), is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other, to suspend aggressive actions. Dating back to the times of World War I, they may be declared as part of a formal treaty or an informal understanding between opposing forces. So a ceasefire violation is a direct breach of the mutually agreed upon peace agreement.

There have been frequent incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan, ever since India announced its decision to withdraw the special status of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and revoked Article 370, in order to bifurcate the state into two union territories in August 2019.

Indian Army data shows 1,197 Pakistani violations in 2020. The Pakistan military has recorded 705 ceasefire violations by the Indian Army during the same period.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Multiple Sources report that the army operation started after the footage from an UAM (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) picked up screenshots of an infiltration attempt in the Keran sector of J&K on Saturday, 4th April 2020. Five Indian soldiers of the 4 Parachute unit were airdropped, 6 feet away from the invaders at the LoC (Line of Control), as heavy snow had restricted movements on the regular army unit responsible for action there.

Screenshot of the Indian Army’s strike across the LoC

Thereby, the squad led by Subedar Sanjeev Kumar spotted the terrorists’ footsteps, visible in the rough yet snowy terrain and followed the trail. Unfortunately three members of the squad stumbled into a gap midway, right on top of the infiltrators hiding there. In the battle that ensued in point blank range, the terrorists naturally had an advantage. But the elite commandos managed to put up a strong fight and took down the 5 militants. The Indian soliders later succumbed to their own injuries. The search party which later went to the site, said that it was unusual that the battleground bore the signs of a close-quarter, hand to hand fight because most encounters take place from a safe distance.

The Departed
The brave members of the Indian squad included Havildar Davendra Singh and Paratroopers Bal Krishan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.

Out of five terrorists killed, three belonged to J&K and the others were trained with the notorious Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Pakistan based Jihadi group active in Kashmir.

Pak Making Best Out of a Pandemic
As per findings by the security agencies in Kashmir, Pakistan has been collaborating with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to push the COVID-19 infected Pakistani terrorists into J&K. This would get their hands off the sick in their nation while causing havoc on the other side.

Moreover LeT has started recruiting its cadre from the Sindh province of Pakistan, which has recently been recorded as the Pakistani state with the highest number of Coronavirus cases,  crossing the 1,000-mark.

What’s in Store for Both?
India has issued a strong demarche to Pakistan, which is a diplomatic correspondence on a given subject from one government to another government or intergovernmental organization. This move comes after three innocent Indian civilians were killed in what they believe was an unprovoked ceasefire infringement by Pakistan and released subsequent footage of terror launch pads, gun positions and an ammunition dump found across the LoC.

In the meantime, Pakistan thinks India is raising a false flag operation, to divert attention from the ongoing issues in Jammu and Kashmir. It further added that it had simply countered the ‘Indian’ assault by targeting ‘Indian’ Army posts along the LoC with matching weapon calibre. The Foreign Office said that Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri summoned Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia to lodge a complaint for the same.

  • The term Line of Control (LoC) refers to the military control line between India and Pakistan which does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary but serves as the de facto border. Originally known as the Cease-fire Line, it was redesignated as the “Line of Control” following the Simla Agreement, which was signed on 3 July 1972.
  • One of the first conflicts on LoC happened in 1984, which is called “Operation Meghdoot”. Launched on 13 April 1984, this military operation was the first assault launched in the highest battlefield in the world, Siachin glacier.
  • LOC has also witnessed some peacemaking activities like, in 2005, a limited bus service was set up to ferry passengers across the LoC from Srinagar, Indian Kashmir’s summer capital, to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir and after a massive earthquake in 2005, both the countries opened several crossing points on the LOC to swap aid and allow families to meet.

Fencing near the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India & Pakistan at Silikote, Uri

Indian Army Prepared for any Escalations at the LoC says, General Bipin Rawat

In the backdrop of increasing ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control since the removal of Article 370 in the month of August the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on December 18 said, “the situation along the Line of Control could escalate any time and the Indian Army is always ready for escalation matrix.”

Crux of the Matter
  • Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy had informed the Lok Sabha that 950 incidents of ceasefire violation along the LoC from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir were reported during August 2019 to October 2019. 
  • News sources suggest that Pakistan’s Border Action Teams (BAT) are attempting to target Indian security personnel on a regular basis along the LoC. 
  • The BAT generally comprises special forces personnel of the Pakistani Army and terrorists. Pakistan is carrying out BAT operations at an interval of 3-4 days.
  • General Rawat’s term ends on December 31 and he is likely to be appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff. Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane will succeed him. 
  • The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been brought under control to a large extent and the security situation in the state is being closely monitored by the military. 

The Line of Control refers to the military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary but serves as the de facto border. Originally known as the Cease-fire Line, it was redesignated as the “Line of Control” following the Simla Agreement, which was signed on 3 July 1972. The part of the former princely state that is under Indian control is known as the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani-controlled part is divided into Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan. The northernmost point of the Line of Control is known as NJ9842. More Info

Ceasefire Violation at LoC Takes Life of 2 Pakistani SSG and 1 Indian Army Rifleman

In the Sunderbani sector of Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian Army noticed ‘suspicious movement‘ followed by a loud noise. This led to ceasefire violation and heavy firing from both sides. A 21-year old Indian Army Rifleman martyred from a direct bullet.

Crux of the Matter
  • In the Sunderbani region of Jammu & Kashmir, troops noticed ‘suspicious movements’ along the Line of Control.
  • Following a loud noise, Indian troops retaliated to the fierce firing from the Pakistani troops.
  • In the ‘heavy exchange’ of fire, a 21-year old Indian Army Rifleman, Sukhwinder Singh, attained martyrdom.
  • Reports say that Pakistan has also lost 2 of its Special Sevices Group (SSG) commandos.
  • Post the abrogation of Article 370, several incidents of ceasefire violations have been reported and therefore the Indian Army has been on its toes.

The Karachi Agreement of 1949 was signed by the military representatives of India and Pakistan, supervised by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan, establishing a cease-fire line in Kashmir following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. It established a cease-fire line which has been monitored by United Nations observers from the United Nations since then. More Info