Retaliate to Pak firing: Army Chief

NEW DELHI (TIP): Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has made it clear to his commanders along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan that they should retaliate to Pakistani firing and events across the LoC as per laid down policies and instructions. The General was on a visit to the LoC on Aug 8 to do an on-the-spot assessment following the killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army in a cross-border raid in the wee hours on Aug 6.

Sources said there was no need for a fresh set of instructions following the latest incident. The existing set of instructions is detailed and it needs to be followed. “If an act of the local commanders is within the listed standard operating procedures, then there is no fear of getting blamed for escalating matters,” sources said.

One set of instructions lay down a policy to maintain ceasefire along LoC in line with the 2003 agreement with Pakistan but it also says that Indian troops should fire back when the ceasefire is violated. When the last incident had taken place in January this year, Gen Bikram Singh at a press conference had said: “I expect all my commanders on the LoC to be aggressive and offensive in face of provocation and fire. I do not expect my commanders to be timid”. He had virtually publicly announced the standard operating procedure: “Uphold the ceasefire as long as the adversary upholds it. When fired at, we will respond immediately. Commanders must understand that the Army hierarchy is standing behind them”.

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