Within hours of India launching a massive assault across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has asked for talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO) of the two armies, to agree to ways to de-escalate tension between the two countries.
India's Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza had an unscheduled conversation on the hotline in the evening on Wednesday during which a request for a structured talk at the DGMO level came from the Pakistan, an Indian Army statement said.
The Pakistani DGMO is reported to have informed his Indian counterpart of civilian casualties on their side by Indian firing along the Line of Control. While Lt Gen Ranbir Singh expressed grief at civilian casualties, the he said emphatically that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated cease fire violations on Indian posts. He also expressed concern on casualties caused to Indian civilians and soldiers due to unprovoked Pak firing.
The DGMO further raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pakistan into J&K and the un-ethical act of mutilation of the body of Indian soldiers close to the Line of Control by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan. He also exhorted the Pak DGMO to exercise strict control on their troops to refrain from any nefarious activities so that normalcy can be returned along the Line of Control.
However, he was categorical that any cease fire violations initiated by Pak troops or any infiltration attempts made by terrorists from Pak Occupied Kashmir or territory under its control, would invite an appropriate response by Indian Army.
DGMOs of India and Pakistan last met on 24 December 2013, when the then DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia met his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Aamer Riaz at Wagah and discussed ways to lower border tension.
Last year, at the end of a summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in Russia, foreign secretaries of the two countries had announced that the DGMOs would sit across the table to discuss military issues concerning the border.
It was also announced that the dialogue between the two army officers would be preceded by a meeting between the Directors General of the Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers. While the border guards had multiple rounds of structured talks in the last couple of years, there was no DGMO meeting in the past three years.
The conversation between the two DGMOs comes on a day when the Indian Army pounded a Pakistan army camp and some of the civilian areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir with mortars to avenge the killing of three Indian soldiers in Machhal sector. The trio were ambushed during while they were on patrol duty.
Three soldiers – Prabhu Singh, K Kushwah and Shashank Singh of 57 RR – were killed by Pakistan-backed militants who also beheaded Prabhu Singh. Lt Gen Singh further raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists from the Pakistan side into Jammu and Kashmir and the unethical act of mutilation of the body of an Indian soldier close to the LoC by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan.
New Delhi on Wednesday also lodged a strong protest with Islamabad on the persistent violation of ceasefire by Pakistani soldiers and the killing of three Indian Army personnel and beheading of one of them.
The ministry of external affairs summoned the deputy high commissioner of Pakistan and conveyed to him India's strong concerns, reports DHNS.