351 ceasefire violations by Pakistan since January 1; 87 casualties

India and Pakistan at the Line of Control

Pakistan has violated the ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir as many as 351 times since January 1 this year, the government said on Monday.

Of these, 209 cases occurred in January while 142 instances were noted since February 21, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

"Appropriate response to these ceasefire violations has been carried out wherever necessary. During ceasefire violations, the inhabitants of border villages, which are vulnerable to shelling and firing, are shifted to safer locations to prevent any loss of life. All arrangements are made to shift them to safer locations," the Minister said in his reply.

He added that the defences along the border are "periodically fortified" and made "more robust and resilient" through continuous improvements to withstand the attacks.

The opposition has been critical of the Narendra Modi government for its failure to contain Pakistan in order to check ceasefire violations and terrorist intrusions from across the border that have resulted in considerable loss of life including that of security personnels in the last few years.

In 2017, a total of 860 instances of ceasefire violations by Pakistan occurred in which 15 Army personnel lost their lives while 58 were injured. Also, four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and 14 were injured, according to the information provided by the government to the upper House.

In these cross-border firings, 12 civilians also lost their lives while 79 got injured.

Besides, 33 infiltration bids were foiled by the army while 131 terrorist-related incidents happened last year.

In these cases, 14 Armymen, two BSF men, 40 civilians and 31 Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel lost their lives while 46 Army personnel, two BSF men, 99 civilians and 85 state police personnel were injured.

In a separate reply, Bhamre said that the defence forces have taken various measures to check terrorist attacks on army camps such as intensifying intelligence gathering and deployment of drones for surveillance.

"The government had issued broad guidelines for security of defence installations to the defence services and in compliance to the said guidelines, the defence services have taken a number of actions including risk categorisation of military bases; appraisal and upgradation of intelligence gathering capabilities; strengthening and streamlining of the response mechanism; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs); periodic security audit of all military installations etc," the Minister said.

"The Army also carries out in-depth analysis of the terrorist incidents and security breaches that are identified with various incidents," he added.