Indian Army, IAF on high alert in Punjab….reports Asian Lite News
The Indian Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) were put on high alert in Punjab and neighbouring states to counter any escalation of the situation following the surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC), sources said on Friday.
Army convoys, carrying artillery guns, could be seen moving towards the border belt in Punjab on Thursday and Friday in preparation of thwarting any move from Pakistan to retaliate the LoC strike.
The IAF has been put on high alert with forward air bases on the western front in full preparedness. The IAF bases in the region include Halwara and Adampur (both in Punjab), Ambala (in Haryana) and Hindon (near Delhi).
Air Force fighter jets carried out sorties over some parts of Punjab as a preventive measure.
The International Border (IB) in the Punjab frontier is manned by the BSF which is on maximum alert following the latest developments at the LoC.
Army units were also on high alert in Punjab. The army presence in Punjab is substantial, spread in Mamoon cantonment near Pathankot, the 11 Corps based in Jalandhar, the 10 Corps in Bathinda in southwest Punjab and army units in Ferozepur, Amritsar and other places.
The Western Command, headquartered at Chandimandir near Chandigarh, is monitoring the situation along the border with Pakistan in Punjab sector, a senior Army officer told IANS here.
The Ambala-based 2 Corps, a strike corps, has also been put on high alert along with the Hisar-based 33 Armoured Division, sources said.
US Calls for Calm
Following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes against terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, the US has called for steps to avoid steps that escalate tensions between India and Pakistan.
“Our message to both sides has been the same, in terms of encouraging them to increase communication to deal with this threat and to avoid steps that escalate the tensions,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in the daily press briefing on Thursday.
“I think I’m not going to get into characterising each and every step along the way there,” he said.
“But obviously, what we want to see is increased cooperation against what is a very shared common threat for both countries, and to see steps being taken to deal with it by all sides.”
The Indian Army on Wednesday night carried out surgical strikes across the LoC on terror launch pads inflicting “significant casualtiesa, according to Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh.
This action came after the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army garrison at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 18 soldiers.
India has blamed the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed for the attack.
Stating that the US was following the situation closely, Kirby said: “We also understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication. We believe that continued communication is obviously important to reduce tensions.”
In a media briefing on Thursday in New Delhi following the operations on Wednesday, DGMO Singh said that he had shared the details of the action against the terrorists with his Pakistani counterpart.
He said that “we expect the Pakistani army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region.”
“We believe that continued communication is obviously important to reduce tensions,” Kirby said in Thursday’s media briefing.
Stating that terrorism knew no borders, he said in an obvious reference to the Pakistani establishment: “We continue to urge actions to combat and delegitimise terrorist groups like LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammed.”