Jammu: There is a ‘sharp decline’ in cross-border firing incidents at the Line of Control and the International Border but recent sporadic firing incidents prove that India can’t lower its guard against Pakistan, Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Friday.
A BSF jawan and a woman were injured while several houses were damaged in cross-border shelling and firing by Pakistan Rangers, the first major ceasefire violation since 2021, in Jammu’s Arnia on Thursday night.
According to the Border Security Force (BSF), the unprovoked firing by Pakistan continued till 3 am on Friday and was ‘befittingly responded’.
Speaking to reporters in Samba, Singh said there is a ‘sharp decline’ in cross-border firing incidents at the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB).
‘But the sporadic firing incidents in the recent days and continuing infiltration bids across the LoC prove that we cannot lower the guard against mischief from Pakistan and territories under its illegal occupation,’ he said in response to a question about Thursday’s incident.
The minister of state for Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said violence in Jammu and Kashmir has also come down in the last nine years, especially in the four years since Article 370 was revoked in August 2019.
He said that India’s attitude has changed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge in 2014.
‘First the surgical strikes by the Indian Army were conducted in September 2016 and later the Balakote airstrikes were conducted by the IAF in February 2019,’ Singh said.
It has sent a clear signal that terrorist attacks sponsored from across the border will be sternly dealt with, he said.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Shaheed Gate in memory of Colonel Narayan Singh in Samba, Singh said the Modi government has taken several decisions for the welfare of families of soldiers who lose their lives in the line of duty.
‘Unlike previous governments, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sensitive and concerned about the welfare of the armed forces,’ he said.
No other government has introduced so many welfare measures to take care of the families of martyrs, he added.
Listing some of the welfare measures, Singh said the Union government gives an ex-gratia of Rs 25 to 45 lakh to the families of martyred soldiers.
‘In addition to this, Rs 8 lakh is provided in the form of ex-gratia by the Army Central Welfare Fund. State governments also provide an ex-gratia amount as per their provisions. This is in addition to the liberalised family pension and regular service benefits,’ he said.
In the case of the death of an Agniveer in the line of duty, the next of kin will receive over Rs 1 crore, he said.
(Published 28 October 2023, 02:14 IST)