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.