05:08 GMT +316 July 2019
Listen Live
    In this July 21, 2015 file photo, Indian and Pakistani flags are lowered during a daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border check post of Attari-Wagah near Amritsar, India

    Escalation of Indo-Pak Conflict Unlikely at the Moment - Major General

    © AP Photo / Prabhjot Gill, file
    Opinion
    Get short URL
    0 50

    A senior Indian defense specialist says that Pakistan may have adopted an aggressive posture as evident from Sunday’s missile attack on Indian forward posts, but the action is reminiscent of the administration’s desire to bring India to the table for talks rather than escalating the military conflict.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): India has said that it lost four of its soldiers when Pakistan Rangers fired missiles and other long-range weapons at Indian forward posts at the Bhimber Gali sector of the Line of Control (de facto border) on Sunday.

    This was the first time that any of the sides resorted to the firing of long-range weapons since heavy cross firing began in November 2017.  

    "Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics, mortars, and missiles from 3.30 pm (on Sunday) in Bhimber Gali sector along the Line of Control (LoC)", Colonel NN Joshi, defense spokesman at Northern Command Headquarters of the Indian Army told the media.

     

    Official data from both India & Pakistan show that violation of the ceasefire, which was agreed upon in 2003, has witnessed more casualties in the last few months on both sides than at any other time in the last 14 years.

    Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif recently told the parliament that Indian troops had committed over 170 ceasefire violations in January 2018 alone, wherein 11 civilians lost their lives. On the other hand, the Indian government claimed 150 ceasefire violations by Pakistan during the same month.

    Pakistan Rangers and India's Border Security Force had agreed in November 2017 that the "spirit" of the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement would be revived to "protect innocent lives," but have failed to implement the resolution.

    Is the situation indicative of a full-blown military conflict between India and Pakistan? Sputnik spoke to Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch (retired), Director of the India Foundation think tank.

    Sputnik: Indian forces have been outmaneuvered by the Pakistani Rangers this time despite India's firepower superiority. Why? 

    Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch: India is not on the back foot, as far as the present standoff on the LoC is concerned. For the first time, Pakistani aggression is being responded to in kind, which has had serious repercussions for the Pakistan military. Their army and other security forces have suffered heavy casualties due to Indian counteraction, which has resulted in both the Pakistan military establishment as well as its political leadership seeking the initiation of talks to defuse the tension on the border.

    Sputnik: Pakistan has begun targeting Indian posts with missiles. Is this a clear indication that the situation has moved beyond the usual exchange of fire between troops?

    Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch: As of now, the engagements across the LoC are with weapons held at the unit level. It can be ratcheted up by India, if required, to increase the costs for Pakistan for pushing terrorists into India. As of now, escalation appears unlikely.

    READ MORE: Cross Border Fire Between Indian, Pakistani Troops Claims 8 Civilian Lives

    Sputnik: What according to you are the reasons behind Pakistan's aggressive posturing?

    Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch: Pakistan's aggressive posturing is an indication that they are losing the plot in stoking disturbances in J&K. 2017 has been the defining year when the state of J&K showed signs of the return to normalcy. This trend will get magnified in 2018 and 2019. Once peace sets in, it would be difficult for Pakistan to stoke violence.

    Sputnik: Do you see an international angle to this sudden escalation of conflict?  

    Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch:  The international angle is Chinese support to Pakistan, which in a manner of speaking is China using Pakistan as its proxy, to engage India.

    The views and opinions expressed by Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.

    Related:

    Ceasefire Violation Allegations Keep India-Pakistan Tension Simmering
    India, Pakistan Army Commanders Hold Talks Amid Increasing Border Tensions
    India to Investigate Pakistan’s Alleged Role in DPRK Nuclear Program
    India Alarmed By China's Plan to Deploy Warships in Pakistan's Gwadar Port
    Tags:
    ceasefire breach, border clashes, firing, casualties, Pakistani Army, Indian Army, India, Pakistan
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik