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Careful Use of ‘LoC’ in India and Pakistan’s Statements Downplays War Rhetoric after IAF Strike

In their statements, spokespersons of the both the nations chose to use words that would mean a challenge to their sovereignty (for Pakistan) and an attack solely targeted at terrorism (for India).

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:February 28, 2019, 12:01 PM IST
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Careful Use of ‘LoC’ in India and Pakistan’s Statements Downplays War Rhetoric after IAF Strike
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets the Cabinet Committee on Security in New Delhi on Tuesday.
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New Delhi: On Tuesday, before any official statement was made by the Indian government, Pakistan’s DG (ISPR) major general Asif Ghafoor wrote on Twitter, “Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow.”

He further said, “Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow.”

Soon, Pakistan foreign minister SM Qureshi said what India did was a ‘misadventure’ against Pakistan.

“I will call it a grave aggression. We had warned the world that such an act can take place. Today they carried out this misadventure against Pakistan. This is a violation of the Line of Control. Pakistan reserves the right to an adequate response and a right to self-defence,” Qureshi said.

Hours later, Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said it was a ‘non-military pre-emptive strike’, the location for which was chosen carefully so that there were no civilian casualties and it was specifically targeted at a training camp run by the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed.

“The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. Hence this non-military pre-emptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details,” Gokhale said.

In their statements, spokespersons of the both the nations chose to use words that would mean a challenge to their sovereignty (for Pakistan) and an attack solely targeted at terrorism (for India).

In fact, the careful use of ‘LoC’ is noteworthy as the military control line between India and Pakistan is not an internationally recognised one and hence, does not fall under international laws.

“It’s a way of conveying that it was the LoC and not the international boundary and that is why the foreign secretary called it non-military. It’s basically to downplay the rhetoric. If it was an international boundary, then it would have been a declaration of war. But since it’s the LoC, it is disputed territory in any case. Then you’re not targeting any military facility and you’re (India) taking pre-emptive action and also the attack was targeted at a designated terror outfit,” said former diplomat and India’s first ambassador to the UN conference on disarmament, Rakesh Sood.

A similar opinion was voiced by former Pakistan national security advisor Mahmud Qureshi. He said, “The use of ‘LoC’ shows that India and Pakistan are trying to bring down the rhetoric and trying to play it down,” he said.

India and Pakistan’s international border runs from the LoC to the zero point in Gujarat (for India) and Sindh (for Pakistan) that was created based on the Radcliffe Line in 1947.

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