LoC fencing extensively damaged by heavy snowfall, says commander


Srinagar : The Indian Army Saturday said the fencing along the Line of Control (LoC) was severely damaged in heavy snowfall this year as it also paid tributes to its 17 soldiers killed in two avalanches in the Kashmir Valley two days ago.

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Lt. General K.T. Parnaik, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the army’s Northern Command, said here the fencing along the LOC has suffered extensive damage during the snowfall and the army would have a huge task repairing the fencing after the snow levels go down in spring and summer.

Paying tributes to the 17 soldiers killed in the avalanches, Lt.Gen. Parnaik said: “It is an unprecedented tragedy although it is usual for the army to discharge duties in highly inhospitable weather conditions.”

“We lost 17 of our men who died in the service of the nation during the avalanche tragedies in Dawar and Sonamarg. Their martyrdom proves the commitment of the Indian Army, discharging its duties under extreme weather conditions,” Parnaik said.

“Our focus is to retrieve two missing soldiers in the Dawar area and the searches will continue till we find them,” he said.

Parnaik said the army vacates some posts during the winter months and those posts are again occupied in the summers.

He denied there was any threat of the vacated posts along the Line of Control (LOC) being occupied by anybody else.

“We have a system of appraisals based on the perceptions of the field commanders and the corps commanders, according to which posts are vacated during the winters and re-occupied in the summers,” he said.

“There is no threat of someone coming and occupying those posts when they remain vacated by us,” he said, alluding to the Kargil episode.

Wreaths were laid inside the Badami Bagh headquarters of the army’s 15 corps on the bodies of 13 soldiers killed in the Dawar avalanche disaster.

A total of 17 soldiers were killed and two are still missing in the two avalanche tragedies that occurred in north Kashmir’s Sonamarg hill station in Ganderbal district and Dawar (Gurez) in Bandipora district.