Jammu & Kashmir: ceasefire line
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
1949 Karachi agreement
1949 Karachi agreement defined ceasefire line
The Times of India Oct 27 2014
After the first Indo-Pak armed conflict in 1948, military representatives of both sides met in Karachi in 1949. The Karachi agreement signed between the two countries defined the ceasefire line-CFL. Both parties accepted that the CFL runs from Manawar in the south, north to Keran and from Keran east to the glacier area. There was no precise definition of the line after a northernmost point called NJ 9842. Both sides have different interpretations of the CFL line in the glacier area. Until 1984, the region saw no conflicts as both countries chose to ignore this terrain, which was uninhabitable for human beings.
What made India occupy Siachen?
Since the 1970s, Pakistan encouraged international mountaineering expeditions on the glacier in order to reinforce its claim in the area. It is reported that in 1977 an Indian colonel, Narinder Kumar, read an article on a Siachen expedition in an international mountaineering magazine. This prompted him to lead an Indian team to the glacier. The Indians successfully reached the glacier, climbed several peaks and return ed. Later, the Pakistanis spotted the Indian trail when they found a crumpled packet of an Indian brand of cigarette. Alarmed by this, the Pakistani army decided to occupy the glacier. Pakistan ordered mountaineering gear from a London firm, which was a supplier for India. The information leaked out and alarmed by Pakistan's planned aggression, in April 1984, India launched Operation Meghdoot. Since then Siachen has been under India's control.
What is Pakistan's claim?
Through an issue brief published by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi-based, retired Pakistani brigadier Asad Hakeem claims that Pakistan had de facto control up to the line NJ 9842 Karakoram Pass until the situation was reversed by India. He further claims that it was India which initiated patrolling in the area in 1978 and questions India's justification of its occupation based on intelligence re ports about Pakistani patrols.
International media has however reported that Pakistan had planned the aggression, which forced India to put the glacier under its control.
What is the cost of this conflict?
A 2009 press brief issued by the IPCS, Brig (Retd) Gurmeet Kanwal explains the hardship of soldiers and the economic and human cost of the conflict. He points out that even at the peak of the fighting, maximum causalities were because of the harsh climate rather than enemy gunfire. The ruthless terrain and lack of oxygen also take a psychological toll on the soldiers posted there. The economic costs are huge and at that time were estimated between Rs 3 to Rs 3.5 crore a day-Rs 1,000 crore to 1,200 crore annually .
Border skirmishes: 2013-14
Smoke and Brimstone
Contrary to popular perception, the intensity of Pakistani firing and shelling across the border is down to one-fourth
August 28, 2014
Acoordinated barrage of fire from Pakistan, targeting 50 BSF posts along the international border near Jammu, killing a jawan and creating panic leading to mass evacuation of villages. Similar heavy exchanges on the Line of Control (LoC), just falling short of heavy artillery guns being brought into action. Hundreds of mortar shells targeting a single Indian Army post to try raze it to the ground.
The noise over "Pakistani provocations" seems higher, encouraged subtly perhaps by the official machinery and a new government keen to display its muscular policy on Pakistan months before Jammu and Kashmir elects a new state Assembly.
Contrary to popular perception, the numbers show that there is actually a slight dip in the intensity of duels this year. The contentious LoC has seen only a marginal increase in violations to 96 until August 26 compared to 92 last year. But the fatalities are down to zero this year as against two jawans last year. Significantly, the number of rounds fired or shells hurled during each violation has come down to one-fourth.
Although the prolonged period of intermittent firing on the international border since July 16 is a matter of concern, there have been nearly 130 violations so far this year compared to 148 through 2013. Going by the pattern of exchanges, the escalation has been in July-August this year and has been partially defused after flag meetings while a similar spike happened in September-October last year. While two combatants and three civilians have been killed in Pakistan, the Indian toll is two civilians and one jawan. BSF chief D.K. Pathak raised eyebrows when he claimed that such heavy cross-border firing had not been seen in "recent years ever since the 1971 war". But there is little evidence on the ground to support his claim.
While October 2013 was bad, the international border saw much higher fatalities regularly before the 2004 ceasefire pact. Government records show that in just the three-month period of January-March 2000, there were 90 firing incidents on the international border. There were 5,153 such incidents in 1998 and 2,896 incidents in 1999, the year of the Kargil conflict.
On the LoC, although the number of ceasefire violations has gone up marginally, there have been very few successful Pakistani Border Action Team raids. These raids had raised temperatures last year as seven Indian soldiers were killed in two incidents, including one in which a soldier was brutally beheaded. Similarly, there is no dramatic increase in infiltration by militants either even though the Army has been anticipating a stronger push aimed at disrupting the Assembly elections.
For instance, there were 275 infiltration attempts last year compared to 93 until August this year. Twenty-four militants are suspected to have got through this year while 95 managed to cross over in 2013. With winter setting in soon, this number is not expected to grow by too much. "Unlike last year when each exchange was strong and aimed at causing damage, the Pakistani firing this year is more for effect. Almost as if it is being done only for the sake of violating the ceasefire agreement," says an Indian Army officer.
However, what has changed this year is the Indian attitude to border management, which is encouraged by the new government in Delhi and analysts say there is need for some caution to prevent an escalation. Area commanders and military leaders have been told that they would now have a freer hand to deal with cross-border violations. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, for instance, called Pathak on August 24 amid escalating violence and gave him the go-ahead to retaliate with full force.
"Until last year, there were instructions to retaliate but there was always a sword hanging to not let the situation get out of hand. This would at times limit our response. It is different now. There is a clearer thought process that has been percolating down, that there would be no bar on retaliation," an officer of general rank told India Today.
But former generals say it also calls for equally clear thinking on the part of those with their finger on the trigger. "These kinds of events happen every year in Kashmir," says retired Lt-Gen Ata Hasnain, who was the commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps. "The only thing is that every year the context changes. The real reason is to ensure that the relevance of Kashmir remains in the eyes of the Pakistani public. There has, however, been a lot of exaggeration of events this year and people are more worked up. There is a lot of discussion and excitement but little informed talk on the actual situation on the border."
Border skirmishes/ 2014-16
Civilian and security personnel casualties, 2014-16
Pakistan violated the ceasefire on the international border (IB) in Jammu around 480 times in 2018, a rise of more than 400% over the 111 violations in 2017. The incidents included firing at Indian posts, shelling on villages and sniping at jawans, in which 11 BSF personnel were killed.
BSF officials said Pakistani forces violated the ceasefire almost thrice a day this year even though they were responding aggressively to the provocations and despite the DGMOs of India and Pakistan agreeing on May 29 to “fully implement” the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit”.
The officials cited the absence of a government in Islamabad as one of the reasons for Pakistan’s misadventures. “Cross-border firing on the IB and even the LoC, which is managed by the army, has increased because Pakistan Rangers and military are not accountable to any leadership and local commanders have taken matters in their hands,” an officer said.
Intelligence alerts have suggested that ceasefire violations will continue till Pakistan’s general election on July 25.
Sources said the ISI has also become active in the region and was using non-state actors to snipe at BSF jawans, which was sometimes supported by Pakistan Rangers.
BSF chief K K Sharma has advocated heavy retaliatory firing, forcing Pakistan to seek truce a dozen times in the last two years. However, officials said Pakistani forces don’t honour their word and start firing within hours of a flag meeting or a call between the two sides.
August-Oct 2019/ 600 ceasefire violations
Overall, the number of ceasefire violations (CFVs) recorded by the Indian Army along the 778-km long LoC has already crossed 2,320 this year
The already violent LoC turned especially red-hot after the Modi government on August 5 revoked the special status of J&K and moved to split the state into two UTs
NEW DELHI: The Line of Control with Pakistan remains extremely volatile, with over 600 ceasefire violations being recorded over the last two months and New Delhi warning Islamabad to desist from targeting civilian areas in the ongoing cross-border mortar and artillery duels. Army sources on Friday said the hotline between the two directorate generals of military operations was used last week to warn the Pakistan Army to stop shelling civilian areas or be prepared to face the consequences.
The Army commanders’ conference, which will be held from October 14 to 19 under the chairmanship of General Bipin Rawat, is also slated to review the operational situation along the LoC with Pakistan as well as the “northern borders” with China. “The apex level leadership of Indian Army will brainstorm on all the current emerging security and administrative challenges to chart the future course for the force,” said a senior officer.
Overall, the number of ceasefire violations (CFVs) recorded by the Indian Army along the 778-km long LoC has already crossed 2,320 this year, breaking all annual records since 2003. The security forces have gunned down 147 terrorists in different operations along the LoC as well in the hinterland in J&K, while 31 soldiers have laid down their lives till now this year.
“There has also been frequent caliber-escalation during the CFVs, which in effect means that heavy mortars and artillery guns are coming into play instead of just small arms and light mortars. The Indian Army is responding pro-actively,” said a source.
The already violent LoC turned especially red-hot after the Modi government on August 5 revoked the special status of J&K and moved to split the state into two union territories. “Though there was an upward trend in the CFVs since July, the number drastically shot up after August 5. There were 307 CFVs in August. In September, the number stood at 292, which is triple the number of CFVs recorded in September in 2017 and 2018,” said the source.
Just in September, there were as many as 61 incidents of caliber-escalation, with the two armies targeting each other with light artillery guns, anti-tank guided missiles and heavy mortars with civilians being often caught in the middle. The fiercest cross-border duels have taken place in areas like Nowshera, Poonch, Bhimber Gali and Krishna Ghati, among others.
“The Pakistan Army often uses CFVs to push in infiltrators across the LoC. The Pakistan Army-ISI combine is desperate to plug the leadership void among the terror outfits in the Valley. In September, for instance, at least 28 terrorists attempted to cross the LoC, as per intelligence estimates, but only around a dozen managed to get through,” said the source.
NEW DELHI: India has recorded as many as 3,200 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control with Pakistan this year, with the two rival armies continuing to pound each other with heavy-caliber weapons like artillery guns and anti-tank guided missiles on a daily basis.
“The cross-border hostilities are continuing all along the 778-km LoC, with the exchange of firing particularly fierce in areas like Akhnoor, Poonch, Uri and Keran. Casualties take place on both sides. We, for instance, lost a junior commissioned officer at Rampur on December 25, while Pakistan lost two soldiers,” said a senior officer.
In yet another ceasefire violation (CFV), the Indian Army strongly retaliated after Pak Army opened fire in the Poonch-Rajouri sectors on Thursday night. “There are indications of a few Pak soldiers being killed…but it cannot be confirmed,” said the officer.
The virtually “bunker-to-bunker” exchange of firing across the LoC, with civilians often being caught in the middle, has further escalated after the Modi government on August 5 revoked the special status of J&K and moved to split the state into two union territories.
Of the 3,200 ceasefire violations (CFVs) already this year, which has broken all annual records since 2003, around 1,600 have taken place in the last five months. The tally was 307 in August, 292 in September, 351 in October and 304 in November, with the count in December also crossing 300-mark several days ago. In contrast, the total number of CFVs stood at 971 in 2017, and 1,629 in 2018.
“Earlier in the year, the Pak Army-ISI combine was desperate to push in as many terrorists as possible into J&K before the mountain passes got snowed under, with CFVs often being used to provide cover to infiltrators or BAT (border action team) operations. Now, though the infiltration levels have come down, the CFVs are continuing with both sides trying to dominate the LoC,” said another officer.
The Indian Army is also carrying out targeted fire assaults as well as sniping operations against forward posts of the Pak Army, which are often co-located with terror launch pads. Overall, the Army has lost 41 soldiers in CFVs on the border and counter-terrorism operations in the hinterland, while it has killed 158 terrorists in J&K this year.
As was reported earlier by TOI, Army chief General Bipin Rawat on December 18 had said India should be prepared for escalation in the situation along the LoC in the backdrop of Pak Army continuing with its attempt to conduct BAT operations as well as indulge in heavy cross-border firing.
“We have to be prepared for the spiraling of the escalatory matrix,” he said.
The intensity of the cross-border firings, with both sides often deploying heavy mortars, anti-tank guided missiles and artillery guns, had first registered a major spike after IAF fighters conducted the pre-dawn air strikes on the major Jaish-e-Mohammed facility at Balakot in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on February 26.