STATE TIMES NEWS
UDHAMPUR /KUPWARA: Two top Army commanders on Saturday said the fresh ceasefire between India and Pakistan will have no bearing on the counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and that the force will exercise “maximum restraint” in the event of any violation by the neighbouring country.
Udhampur : Commi-ssioned into the army over a year before running into live action with infiltrating terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Captain Rahul Sharma’s heroics have won him the prestigious Sena Medal. The 25-year-old was among the 61 army personnel who were presented the gallantry and distinguished service awards by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi in a solemn investiture ceremony here on Saturday.It is a soldier’s dream to do something for the country and when you get anything like that (gallantry award) at an early stage of your carrier, it is icing on the cake, Captain Sharma told PTI.An alumnus of the Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai, Sharma said he was commissioned in the army in March 2019 and “had a wonderful operation” the next year when the Indian Army foiled a major infiltration bid cum Border Action Team (BAT) attack in Keran sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.It was a team achievement and this is a happy day for all of us, especially my unit. We were deployed ahead of the fence and we came together to scuttle the enemy’s attempt causing heavy casualties on them, the officer said, without going into the details saying he was not authorized to speak much on the matter.He said it was a proud moment for his parents who along with his sister had joined the officer to share his joy on the occasion.The Army commander presented two Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry) and 50 Sena Medals (Gallantry) to the brave soldiers besides three Sena Medals (distinguished) and six Vishisht Seva medals for selfless service to the nation.Major Kulbhuhan Singh of the Jat regiment, another recipient of the Sena Medal, said he led his men to shoot dead two terrorists during an anti-militancy operation in the Kashmir valley in March 2019.It is a proud moment for all of us. We are doing our best to improve the situation in the valley and bring peace to the region, he said. Major Singh said the youth in the valley are not inclined towards terrorism as is perceived outside the valley.The situation in Kashmir is improving and going by my interaction with the local youth, they too dream to be doctors, engineers and other professionals and live a peaceful and dignified life, he said, adding there are some elements who are exploiting the innocence of the youth and misleading them to the wrong path under the influence of forces from outside the country.Rashtriya Rifles soldier Ayub Mohammad, whose brave action not only saved precious lives of his colleagues but also led to the elimination of two terrorists during an operation in Kulgam district in 2019, said he is doing his duties towards the nation and can sacrifice his life without a second thought.It is a big day for me and my family who raised me to serve the nation, he said. Lt Gen Joshi also awarded unit appreciation to 26 units for their overall outstanding performance in the command theatre. The awardees include 8 field regiment (Artillery) led by Col Pankaj Joshi, deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Srinagar-based 15 corps zone.It is a great achievement for my unit, Colonel Joshi said.
The comments by the Army’s northern commander Lt. Gen. Y K Joshi and General Officer Commanding (GoC), 28 Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. V M B Krishnan at separate events came two days after India and Pakistan issued a joint statement to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control(LoC) and other sectors. The decision by the two countries came into effect from the midnight of February 24/25.“Recently, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan have announced an agreement to uphold ceasefire along the LoC. I want to assure that this ceasefire will have no bearing on the counter-terrorism operations and we will maintain our alertness,” Lt. Gen. Joshi said at the northern command investiture ceremony in Udhampur.Without naming China and Pakistan, he also said the Indian Army has maintained its domination on its borders with the neighbouring countries and helped in maintaining peace in the hinterland.“The northern command has always stood like a shield against the attempts by our neighbouring countries to spread disturbance and it will continue to remain so in the future. Whenever anyone raises an evil eye on our country, Indian Army has replied strongly,” Lt. Gen. Joshi said. The military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh erupted on May 5.Maj. Gen. Krishnan said the army will exercise maximum restraint in case of any violation of the ceasefire understanding by Pakistan.Welcoming the Thursday agreement, he said the decision was significant as it would bring relief to the people living near the LoC.“We will not retaliate as long as it is possible and we hope that the Pakistani side will also uphold the agreement,” he told reporters in Kupwara, about 100 km north of Srinagar, when asked about the directions for the Army in case Pakistan violated the ceasefire agreement.The 28 Infantry Division covers the Tangdhar, Keran, Machil (in Kupwara district) and Gurez (in Bandipora) sectors along the LoC.“We welcome the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan. We hope it ushers in an era of peace, security and development to the villages close to the LoC,” Maj. Gen. Krishnan said.He also expressed hope that the infiltration from across the LoC is “shut down” by Pakistan.The GoC said the reiteration of the ceasefire agreement is a significant decision as it will bring a lot of relief to the people of about 300 villages located very close to the LoC.“It will now enable these people to go about their daily lives…. It is important for us to have peace and security in our region so that development can take place,” he said.Saying peace and tranquillity along the LoC will help build mutual trust and confidence between the two neighbouring countries, Maj. Gen. Krishnan asserted that the ceasefire agreement is the first step towards that.“(But) we have a fair amount of distance to cover. I hope terrorism gets absolutely diminished and eliminated in the next couple of years. So we have to take all these steps for many things to happen in Jammu and Kashmir.”Maj. Gen. Krishnan said the LoC has been tranquil for the last two days as there has been no violation and “it is very quiet”.However, he said the Army continues to receive inputs about the presence of militants at some terror launchpads across the LoC.“We are on high alert and fully prepared to foil any infiltration attempt,” he added.Asked about the possible impact of the agreement on infiltration attempts from across the border, the GoC said when there are no ceasefire violations, “it does enable us to handle the situation very well”.However, infiltration attempts are very much possible, especially given the rugged terrain of the area, he added.At the investiture ceremony, Lt. Gen. Joshi also referred to the military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.He said the Indian Army stood up to the challenge on the snow-capped mountains of the Line of Actual Control(LAC) during the challenging situation in 2020 and maintained the highest alert.“Our action is a glaring example of our training, bravery and pledge (to safeguard the borders) and it will be written in history with golden words. The northern command made possible what seemed impossible. The success of the operation (in Ladakh) is the glaring example of the bravery of Indian Army.”Lt. Gen. Joshi said 2020 was historic in many ways for the Indian Army which demonstrated its mettle in eastern Ladakh by its “grit, determination, self-confidence, bravery and steadfastness”.He said there has been a tremendous improvement in the basic deployment and preparedness and the efforts in this direction will continue. The measures we have put in to strengthen our defences, the same efforts were made to maintain peace, he added.In Kashmir, he said, the overall security situation saw a great improvement in the previous year as there has been a considerable reduction in terrorist-initiated incidents, stone-pelting activities and protests as a result of tireless efforts of the security forces and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
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