BSF chief vows to retaliate to Pakistani firing
India will not do anything to disturb peace along the border in Jammu and Kashmir but will retaliate to any aggression by Pakistan, BSF chief D.K. Pathak said Tuesday.
The BSF director general said his men foiled three-four attempts by terrorists to sneak into India since Dec 31.
"India will not do anything to disturb peace along the border but will retaliate befittingly if the situation demands," Pathak told the media.
"Prevalence of peace (is the) best situation. But if Pakistan does not want peace, if firing comes from their side, we will definitely respond," he said.
"We cannot go on taking bullets," Pathak said, after paying tribute to Border Security Force trooper Devinder Singh who was killed in shelling by Pakistani border guards in Samba district Monday.
Pathak visited the international border in Samba, Kathua and Jammu districts Tuesday to take stock of the situation following indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan Rangers in the last three days in which two BSF troopers and a woman were killed.
He said there has been no firing at the border since Monday night.
Pathak admitted Pakistan too suffered civilian deaths but said it was "collateral damage". India has never targeted civilian areas, he said.
"The BSF never targets civilian areas, there can be collateral damage... But they always fire first and target our civilian areas."
Asked about the provocation for the Pakistani firing, Pathak said: "There can be more than one. Since Dec 31, we have foiled three to four attempts of infiltration. We have good proof of this.
"There can be multiple reasons for the escalation in firing. It is possible they are trying to divert attention from Peshawar," Pathak said, referring to the massacre of over 140 school students and teachers.
"Maybe it is because of the Republic Day," he added. US President Barack Obama will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi Jan 26.
He said the last communication with Pakistan was Jan 1.
"On Jan 3, we went to deliver a protest note which they refused to accept. The note was then sent to the Wagah border, they refused to accept it there as well. So there has been no communication," he said.
The BSF chief said it could not be said with certainty whether the infiltration attempts were plotted by Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
"Hafiz Saeed could be a factor, but this cannot be said conclusively," Pathak said.
He said that intelligence reports indicate that a large number of militants could be waiting to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.
More than 10,000 residents of border villages have so far abandoned their homes in Samba and Kathua districts because of the shelling by Pakistan. They are now lodged in makeshift accommodations in safer places away from the border. - IANS