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Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will arrive in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to review the security situation amid heightened tension on the Line of Control (LoC) and student unrest in the valley.

Given the urgency of the situation, Arun Jaitley advanced his visit by a day since he was otherwise scheduled to chair the two-day long Goods and Services Tax (GST) council meeting beginning in New Delhi on Thursday. He along with the Army Chief will meet commanders and troops deployed on the LoC.

India had claimed that Pakistan violated the ceasefire on 15th and 13th May, targeting civilian population too.

This comes at a time when incidents of cross-LoC firing have increased. According to the Indian media, today Pakistan violated the ceasefire again on Wednesday. Allegedly, Pakistan fired on forward posts in the Balakote sector of Jammu of Kashmir.

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India could well be playing this up so as to give a “foreign” touch to the simmering trouble in the Kashmir valley. Delhi has continued to attribute the flaring up of the situation in the valley to Pakistan. A hot LoC gives India a point to drive home its point.

“Pakistan army resorted to firing on forward posts along the LoC in Balakote sector from 0050 hours today,” a defense spokesman said.

The spokesman also stated that the Pakistan army initiated indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatic weapons, and 82 mm and 120 mm mortars last night along the LoC in Nowshera sector.

India had claimed that Pakistan violated the ceasefire on 15th and 13th May, targeting civilian population too.

Pakistan also complained of Ceasefire violations. Three civilians, including two women, were injured in unprovoked Indian firing in the Baroh Sector along the LoC. The injured were identified as Zamurd Begum, Shazia Parveen, and Muhammad Inzimam, an ISPR statement issued on Saturday evening said. Three more civilians, identified as Haji Muhammad Younis, Rehana Bibi, and Samina Begum were injured.

Army Chief General Bajwa visited the LoC and lauded the effective response given to Indian violations. Pakistan warned India against further provocations.

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“Indian Army has been targeting innocent civilians on both sides of Line of Control in recent past. Any misadventure by Indian Army across Line of Control will be a miscalculation, shall be responded with full force and could lead to unintended consequences.”
– ISPR press release

The LoC has remained heated since India claimed that the Pakistan army beheaded two of its soldiers on 1st May. The unusual and seemingly improbable event was taken up to create a war hysteria with top Indian officials clamoring for a response.

Dangerous time ahead

Exercises are a part of military preparations, but given the current scenario where India has time and again resolved to teach Pakistan a lesson, this exercise in proximity to the border with Pakistan is not a good harbinger.

Pundits believe that ramping up tensions on the borders is an attempt to deflect the brewing situation in Kashmir. Logically, Pakistan has nothing to gain by provoking India at a time when it is embroiled in fending off terrorism at home. Evidence of Indian involvement in destabilizing Pakistan is backed up by its open opposition to CPEC and military muscle flexing. The Indian military concluded a corps-level exercise on the Rajasthan border. 20,000 troops took part in the simulations, which involved the Air Force as well. The Army said it was rehearsing battlefield mobility of troops “keeping in view the fluidity of scenario and insertion of troops by the third dimension”. “Fluidity of scenario” refers to the fast-changing environment that is going to be a characteristic of all future wars. It was meant to test the induction of troops into a tactical situation through the use of airborne platforms.

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Exercises are a part of military preparations, but given the current scenario where India has time and again resolved to teach Pakistan a lesson, this exercise in proximity to the border with Pakistan is not a good harbinger. It is certain that Pakistan will be keeping a vigilant eye. This makes the situation very incendiary, and any other alleged incident may certainly lead to a clash, something which will have dangerous escalatory effects. With a nuclear overhang in the South Asian theater, this is the last thing that the region wants.

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