ALSO READPakistan firing at LoC Day 4: Over 10,000 people in Kashmir affected Pakistan ceasefire violation: Bodies of two Indian soldiers mutilated Pakistan army opens fire along LoC in Poonch, Indian forces hit back Jammu & Kashmir: Schools along LoC shut after Pak shelling kills woman Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Poonch; kills 2 Indian jawans
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday asked the Army to remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across the border, days after two security personnel were beheaded by the Pakistani Army after crossing the Line of Control (LoC). Jaitley, while reviewing the security situation of Jammu and Kashmir at a high level meeting here, also asked the forces to deal firmly with the inimical elements but ensure safety of the innocent people, officials said. The meeting, where newly-appointed Defence Secretary Amit Mitra and Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat were also present, took place against the backdrop of spurt in militant attacks and incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir and repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC. The Defence Minister, who arrived here this evening and soon after chaired the meeting, was briefed on the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and steps being taken to restore normalcy in the Valley through close coordination amongst all the government agencies, officials said. He was also apprised of various measures to strengthen the counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LoC), where Pakistani forces have been indulging in shelling and attacks. Jaitley "lauded the valour, sacrifice and patriotic fervour of every soldier who is serving in these challenging situations for national integrity", saying the entire country is proud of them, the officials said. He urged all soldiers to continue the good job being done and ensure safety of the innocent people while dealing firmly with the inimical elements. He also impressed upon the commanders to maintain strict vigil along the LoC and remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across. Jaitley, who also holds the fianance portfolio, will preside over the GST Council meeting here tomorrow. He is also likely to meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The visit of Jaitley and Rawat to Kashmir comes against the backdrop of beheading of two Indian security personnel by Pakistani military in Poonch district earlier this month which was termed "barbaric" by India. While Rawat hinted at retaliation to avenge the killings, Jaitley had said the sacrifice of the two soldiers will not go in vain and that the armed forces will react "appropriately". Pakistani troops have also been repeatedly violating the ceasefire on the LoC and have been shelling Indian Army posts and civilian areas. The Kashmir valley has witnessed a spurt in incidents of violence and militant attacks in the last couple of months. The Pakistani troops were involved in 67 ceasefire violations in the first four months of 2017, with maximum of 26 incidents reported in April, according to Army sources. They said a total of 27 militants were killed between January and April in counter-insurgency operations.