Hindustan Times (Delhi)

It may get worse for Pak if it provokes again, warns BSF

- Ravi Krishnan Khajuria ravi.khajuria@hindustant­imes.com

JAMMU: India on Thursday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over its “provocativ­e actions” along the frontiers and warned of a strong retaliatio­n during a meeting between the border guards of the two countries.

The flag meeting, sought by the Pakistani side, between the sector commanders of the Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers was aimed at returning calm to the internatio­nal border and the Line of Control, the de facto border, in Jammu that have witnessed bloody skirmishes in the last few days.

“We lodged a strong protest and told them that our retaliatio­n was just an example and in future if they provoked again, it could get worse for them,” BSF’S Jammu frontier inspector general Ram Awtar said.

Thirteen people, including seven civilians, have died on the Indian side in Pakistan shelling between January 17 and January 22, which has also forced hundreds of thousands of villagers to move to safer places.

The flag meeting was held at the Octroi post in Suchetgarh area of RS Pura in Jammu district, the BSF said.

The Pakistani side requested the meeting and it was an indicator enough, Awtar said to a question about Pak Rangers body language. “On Wednesday we suddenly got a call on hotline where they requested a flag meeting. When we asked them about the date, they said at the earliest possible. And, when we asked when, they said the meeting could be held next day, on Thursday.”

All these things suggested they were under tremendous pressure, the officer said.

On the sniping incidents that left two BSF jawans dead on January 3 and January 17 that triggered the latest round of hostilitie­s, the IG said the Pakistan Rangers attributed them to rogue elements and other factors.

The Indian side, led by BSF Jammu sector DIG PS Dhiman, told them it was not possible for rogue elements to launch sniper attacks without their support. “We firmly put up our concerns making them understand that if provoked again, our retaliatio­n could get worst for them,” he said.

The meeting came a day after a soldier, injured grievously in Pakistani shelling in Krishna Ghati (KG) sector , succumbed to his injuries.

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