‘Pak planted landmines on Indian side of LoC’

Not only unprovoked firing from across the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan troops have also planted landmines on the Indian side of the border in Jammu and Kashmir to deter the Indian Army from carrying out area dominance patrol, officials said Wednesday.

Releasing photographs of the mines planted by Pakistani troops inside Indian territory, Army officials said some landmines were detected recently near the LoC. These mines carried markings of Pakistan Ordinance Depot on them. They were planted on the patrol route of the Indian Army apparently to inflict casualties among them, they added.

The matter was raised at the recent Brigadier-level flag meeting between India and Pakistan at Chakkan Da Bagh, said General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lt General K T Parnaik. "When we showed them photographs of the mines and the Pakistani markings engraved on them, the leader of Pakistani delegation took them from us. But after a brief rethinking, he returned the photographs saying he has nothing to do with them," he said.

The detection of Pakistani mines was not new in J&K as militants had been planting them on roads and culverts in the hinterland to cause casualties both among security forces and civilians.

However, what has raised eyebrows this time is the planting of landmines near forward Indian locations. Usually, landmines are laid by troops in their own area as a defensive measure to deter enemy from attacking their locations in case of a conflict. The troops also keep record of their numbers and locations so that they can be unearthed when the situation normalises.

It has also been seen that the Pakistani troops have been targeting Indian positions this time from behind civilian areas on their side. "They have been firing at us from across Poonch river which has residential areas as they know that if we retaliated, there would be civilian casualty and then they would go to UN," said Lt General Parnaik. "At the flag meeting, we also told them that they have been using their own civilians as human shields. We told them that we will not hesitate to retaliate if they do so again."

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