Be prepared: Army Chief Bipin Rawat tells troops at LoC
Amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, Army Chief Bipin Rawat paid a visit to LoC to review "preparedness" and asked troops to be ready for any contingency. Rawat went to Srinagar on Friday, for a two-day visit, his first after Centre revoked Article 370 and divided Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs. This move ruffled Pakistan's feathers which has been on war-mongering mode.
Rawat visited some forward posts and formations yesterday to assess the situation. Local commanders briefed him about the ceasefire violations and the measures taken. He was accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lt General K J S Dhillon on the visit. The head of the Army heaped praises on morale and motivation of the troops. Furthermore, he also spoke about emerging security challenges.
"He appreciated the robust counter-infiltration grid which has neutralized multiple infiltration attempts of terrorists. He shared intelligence reports of a large number of terrorists ready to infiltrate from multiple launch pads across the LoC," an official in the know told HT.
Rawat's visit assumes significance, given the increase in ceasefire violations. In Bandipore district, which is a volatile area, heavy shelling and firing were reported from the Pakistani side, earlier this week. The shelling got a befitting response but one person was injured and nearly 23 houses were damaged. Separately, over two dozen terror pads across LoC have been abuzz with movements for days now.
According to reports, terror outfits, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, have been threatening shopkeepers to not go about their business. On Thursday, terrorists killed a 65-year-old shopkeeper for keeping his shop open in Parimpora. His death sparked panic in the Valley. Meanwhile, two Gujjars were abducted and killed by terrorists in Tral, South Kashmir, in the third week of August.
Interestingly, the BJP-led Centre had anticipated such a situation, which is why heavy troops were sent to J&K before annulling Article 370. The restrictions have been in place since August 5, and a couple of them were removed gradually. However, reports claimed restrictions were re-imposed in the Valley on Friday after authorities got intel that the prayers could turn violent.