Tensions escalate as Pakistan flexes its muscles in Siachen
New Delhi : Tensions escalated on Wednesday with Pakistan Air Force Chief Suhail Aman activating all forward bases in response to purported India "threats" and fighter jets flying over the Siachen glacier violating the Indian air space, a claim New Delhi has dismissed.
The fresh Pakistani provocation came a day after the Indian Army said it had "proactively" dominated the Line of Control (LoC) with "punitive fire assaults" against military posts and terror launch pads.
According to media reports in Islamabad, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman along with senior PAF officers visited the Qadri Airbase in Skardu - part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir - where war exercises by fighter jet squadrons are being held at present.
The air chief also took part in the exercises, flying a Pakistan Air Force Mirage fighter jet and reviewed the exercises and operational preparedness of the PAF.
In an apparent response to India's aggressive LoC posture and recent reports of Indian Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa's missive to the force to be "prepared" for action at short notice, Air Chief Marshal Aman told reporters at the Skardu base that Pakistan would give a "befitting response to any misadventure by the enemy".
"Pakistan has and must have zero concern over the statements of the enemy. Our response to any aggression by the enemy will be such that their future generations will also remember it," he said according to a Radio Pakistan report.
The reports said he also ordered the "operation activation" of the forward posts on the nearly 780-km LoC -- the de facto border that divides Jammu and Kashmir between the two countries.
Aman's visit to the Skardu base coincided with other reports in the Pakistani media that the PAF on Wednesday flew fighter jets near the Siachen Glacier - the world's highest battleground in the northern part of Kashmir where the LoC ends. Skardu is around 140 kilometers from Siachen.
Samaa TV citing unnamed sources said Pakistani fighter jets "made flights near Siachen Glacier on Wednesday morning".
But the Indian Air Force denied any violation of India's airspace.
"There is no reported airspace violation," said an Indian Air Force official, who did not want to be identified.
The strategically important Siachen Glacier and all its major passes are under Indian military control since 1984 when the two armies fought a bitter military conflict in the mountains above the unpopulated territory in the Karakoram range.
The inhospitable Siachen is one of the major disputes between the two countries. India has said it was willing to bring its forces down but Pakistan has to authenticate the positions the two militaries currently hold.
Pakistan has said it is willing to agree but the Indian condition should not be considered as the final endorsement of India's claim over the glacier - one of the major sources of water for Pakistan's rivers.
India and Pakistan military tension went up since last year when Indian commandos carried out surgical strikes against terror launch pads killing dozens of terrorists and their sympathisers across the LoC.
On May 1, India said Pakistan's Border Action Team - that comprises of militants trained by the Pakistan Army - beheaded two Indian soldiers in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch.
The brutal incident was followed by a major assault by the Indian Army on Pakistani bunkers at forward posts in the Naushera sector across the LoC on May 9.
On Tuesday, the Indian Army released a short video clip of the attack ostensibly blowing some forward posts of the Pakistan Army.