Tensions escalate as Pakistan swears to avenge its loss at the hands of India

By Pratheeksha Gopinath

In stark contrast to the 2003 agreement signed between India and Pakistan regarding the upholding of peace along the Line of Control, the two countries have been indulging in crossfire along the border, posing a threat to peace and security on both sides.

Latest border attack

On Tuesday, the 27th of February, the Pakistani army swore to launch a vengeful attack on India in retaliation for perceived violations of the cross-border agreement. Defending India`s actions, Brigadier Y S Ahlawat of the Indian Army claimed that the Indian military’s action on the border has only been a suitable reply to Pakistan’s perpetual violations of the agreement. Ahlawat also dismissed allegations that Indian units initiated the cross-fire.

On Monday, the 12th of February 2018, armed Pakistani militants laid siege to an army base in the Jammu region. At least five civilians were killed. The attack heralded a week of intense fire from both sides. After the Pakistani military group Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for the attacks, India declared a state of high alert in the Jammu region. The attack, which took place in the wee hours of Saturday, left an ugly mark on the picturesque valley. The militants were armed with AK-47s, with which they created havoc in the army base. It took the Indian Army an entire day to take the militants down.

Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand also confirmed an attack by the militants on family members of the Army personnel in the residential quarters. This attack took the lives of a junior commissioned officer and a non-commissioned officer. As a precautionary measure, schools and other public institutions were shut down. In a desperate attempt to keep citizens out of harm’s way, the Indian army heightened security in the valley. The main area of conflict was the border areas of the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir and the Pakistan province of Punjab.

The government’s response

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh issued standing orders to the army to retaliate for every single blow from Pakistan. Claiming that the fight is essential if the future of Jammu and Kashmir is to be secured, the former CM of Uttar Pradesh gave his full support to the Indian Army.

The attacks have created chaos on both sides and instilled fear among the innocent citizens that dwell in villages along the contentious border. India has had to move over 36,000 people from the war-afflicted areas in order to assure their security. On February 22, the day the gun battle began, 2,600 residents from five villages were forced to flee. Buildings were destroyed and cattle were killed in the heavy shelling.

Farooq Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed both governments for the violent disruption of life in the valley. He insisted on a negotiation between the governments of India and Pakistan. Mr Abdullah demanded that autonomy be granted to the border regions in both Indian and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The United Nations also issued a plea to both the nations requesting them to withdraw troops from the contentious border.

Featured Image Source: Flickr