Increase in Army casualties as Pakistan steps up ceasefire violation: MHA

This year alone, Pakistan has provoked India by 22 ceasefire violations at the LoC till February end and 6 times at the IB where the BSF is in operational control.

The ceasefire violations by Pakistan has led to increase in casualties of soldiers at the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB), according to the latest figures stated by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Parliament.

This year alone, Pakistan has provoked India by 22 ceasefire violations at the LoC till February end and 6 times at the IB where the BSF is in operational control.

The figures by the MHA show a steady increase of ceasefire violations at LoC; 153 incidents in 2014, 152 in 2015 peaking at 228 in 2016. At the IB, there has been a reverse trend, the ceasefire violation peaked in 2014 with 430 incidents being recorded. In 2015, there were 253 incidents and in 2016, there have been 221 incidents.

The intense ceasefire violations have led to an increase in the overall causalities of the Indian Army personnel. The data shared by the government showed that in 2014, 1 Army personnel was killed and 11 injured. In 2015, 6 Army personnel were killed, 17 were injured. In 2016, the figure was 8 while the figure of Army personnel injured grew phenomenally to 74.

The figure in the BSF have also increased. In 2014, 2 BSF personnel were killed and 17 injured as a result of cross-border fire. In 2015, it 4 BSF personnel were killed and 9 injured, and in 2016, 5 BSF personnel were killed and 25 injured.

MHA RESPONSE IN LOK SABHA

The MHA on Tuesday told Lok Sabha that Pakistan government continued to violate ceasefire agreement and supported the continuous cross-border firing, sabotage and infiltration attempts into India. Minister of state (MoS) for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir gave a written answer to an unstarred question posed by Congress MP and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge.

The minister said that the response of Indian government to ceasefire violations has improved. Compared to maximum number of civilians being injured in 2014 when 14 were killed and 101 injured, in 2015, 16 civilians were killed, 71 injured and last year there were 13 killed, 16 injured despite government's claims of taking measures like shifting civilians to safer places.

The MHA also stated that it was taking measures of defence preparedness including strengthening of Nakas, field fortifications, high-mast lights at the IB. It added that steps including immediate and effective retaliation by the Indian Army and the BSF to unprovoked firing and ceasefire violations were also taken.

This statement comes shortly after Pakistani troops targeted the forward Indian posts along the LoC near Poonch forcing the authorities to suspend the Poonch-Rawalkote bus service and postpone examinations.

The minister said, "Pakistani troops used 82 mm mortars, automatic weapons and targeted our forward defended locations along the LoC and the fire was responded by our troops in a befitting manner, ensuing a heavy exchange of fire."

Pakistan's firing partially damaged the Trade Felicitation Centre (TFC), Chaka da Bagh in Poonch and forced authorities to suspend the Jammu-Rawalkote bus service. The ceasefire violations has often been used as a tactic to give cover fire to infiltration bids. There has been a sharp rise in infiltration bids and encounters since last year along the LoC.

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