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Pak targeting border people ‘immoral, unethical’: Top army

India's BSF soldier patrols near fenced border with Pakistan in Suchetgarh

Hitting out at Pakistan for targeting civilian population along LoC, a top Army commander today termed such action “immoral and unethical” and said that Indian Army does not flout agreements, but is forced to retaliate to Pakistan’s violation of the ceasefire.

“Our army is ethical, our army is professional. We do not believe in abrogating any agreements (on truce)… But if the adversary indulges in (firing and shelling), we are forced to retaliate in a proper manner,” General Officer Commanding (GoC), 16 Corps, Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar told reporters here.

He was replying to queries on the army’s retaliation of shelling by Pakistan troops targeting border residents.

“It does not behove a professional army to target civilian areas, that much I can say.

“We are of the opinion here, especially in our country, that it (targeting civilian areas) is immoral and unethical,” the GOC said.

Asked about the likely reason behind Pakistan so often resorting to firing across the border, Nimbhorkar said, “As far as the firing is concerned, there does not seem to be any reason. We cannot say as to why it is going on.

“It is unprovoked firing by our adversaries, where they are doing it despite various talks held recently. It actually does not sound very logical. (But) this thing is continuing for quite some time and we also give appropriate retaliation.”

On whether cross-border infiltration was the reason behind the ceasefire violations, the army commander said it was part of the modus operandi in such ploys.

“But it surprises me; when we look to the last 2-3 years, we are so strong on the anti-infiltration obstacle system that there has been no infiltration,” he said.

“So, to give cover fire to (militants) who will in any case not be successful in an infiltration bid, that is illogical to me,” Nimbhorkar said.

Asked about reports of ISIS making footholds in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, he said that it cannot be linked it with the situation here and that they are not very authentic. Therefore, it will be “incorrect and inappropriate” to say anything for certain in this regard.

On Special Police Officials reportedly re-joining terror outfits in Jammu and Kashmir, Nimbhorkar said there has been only one instance in which two SPOs have gone from Doda area.

“In the Valley of course, there is a different dynamic altogether. Why they (SPOs) have gone after surrendering… that is a matter of investigation. We will have to go into the details,” the GOC said.

He added that, “As far as I have investigated into their background, both of them are very poor people. So, I think the lure of the gun to get some monetary benefit may be a strong motive in this case.”

On a query about possible air-space violations by Pakistan, Nimbhorkar said he was not aware of it.