Indian Army gives free hand to LoC commanders, 20 Pak soldiers killed in retaliatory fire this year: Report

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Highly-placed government sources have revealed that around 20 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in retaliatory action by the Indian Army along the Line of Control (LoC) this year.

Many other soldiers have been injured on the other side of the de-facto border since January 1, sources said further, adding the Army has intensified punitive fire assaults and guerrilla operations along LoC to “pro-actively dominate” it. India quoted a source as saying that the Army has been hammering and bleeding the Pakistani Army ever since its commanding officers along the LoC were given freedom to act. The punitive action has helped deny the Pakistani forces any tactical advantage along the LoC.

The retaliatory action has seen many Pak Army posts getting destroyed. In the exchange of fire that has been going on, both sides have been using light field guns, heavy 120mm mortars and anti-tank guided missiles, the report said. Most of the action has been taking place in areas like Balnoi, Mendhar, Kalal, Keran, Doda, Sarla, Laleali and Banwat along the 778-km LoC. The report came in the wake of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman warning Pakistan that it would pay the price for targeting Indian security forces’ camps in Jammu and Kashmir, through its terror proxies.

February has seen two such attacks – the first on the Sunjuwan Army camp in Jammu last Saturday while the second one at Srinagar on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) facility. In total, six Army soldiers and a CRPF jawan got martyred in these attacks. Pakistan too has cautioned India in the wake of warnings from New Delhi, against any move to conduct fresh surgical strikes. It may be recalled that following the 2016 Uri attack, the Indian Army had conducted surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, killing many terrorists and Pakistani soldiers.

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Meanwhile, India has lost 16 soldiers, excluding BSF personnel and civilians, in more than 280 ceasefire violations and terror attacks in J&K this year. But, top Army officials including chief General Bipin Rawat have stressed that the Pak Army has been “suffering three to four times more casualties” in the heavy exchange of cross-border firings.

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