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March 17, 2018

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LoC fire to cease on our terms: Indian Army chief

ISLAMABAD: Ceasing of hostilities between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir must be on Indian terms, Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat on Friday said, noting that Pakistani forces have been feeling the "pain" of Indian Army's offensive along the border.

He alluded to a rise in cross-border firing by India as part of a larger strategy to put pressure on Pakistan, reported the international media. "So, we have raised the ante by resorting to cross border firing, which is leading to violations of ceasefire.

"Earlier, the burden was only on us to man the border and remain alert and now the Pakistan Army is facing the same pain. They also have to now remain alert on the border," the Indian Army chief said.

Rawat said, “Pakistani posts supporting infiltrators must be punished” and asserted that “the increase in the ceasefire violations had compelled Pakistan to deploy more forces along the Line of Control, which was earlier in the hinterland or peace postings.”

Recalling the time when borders were relatively calm and the ceasefire agreement was not being violated, Rawat said, “Despite this the infiltration continued and there was no pressure on the Pakistani Army which aided and abetted infiltration across the LoC.”

The Indian army chief was speaking at an event organised by the Vivekanda International Foundation. "Let me assure you, it is not just the Indian army which is (alone) facing the brunt. The people sitting across the LoC are suffering far more damage than what we are suffering," the army chief said.

When asked about the “continuing infiltration despite Indian forces showing deterrence”, Rawat termed it a "cheap option" by Pakistan. He, however, cautioned if Islamabad raised the "threshold", New Delhi would have the option of going to the next level.

"And I think Pakistan is just about ensuring that they do not raise the threshold, but then the call as to when we want to raise the threshold rests with us. It is in our hands to raise it, depending on how high we want to do it," he said.

The ceasefire between India and Pakistan must come on Indian terms which mean Pakistan has to stop supporting infiltration, the Indian army chief said. "You want a ceasefire and we are willing to go for a ceasefire but you stop supporting and infiltrating (militants) into our country. If you stop doing that we are willing to do that," he said.

"So it must come on our terms. And those terms will come when they find that we have the potential to raise the ante. Gradually, if this does not work, we can keep calibrating and raising the ante, till they find it that they cannot take it longer," Rawat said.

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