Violating cease-fire : India, Pakistan troops exchange fire on Kashmir LoC
Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir (Xinhua + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Troops of India and Pakistan Sunday exchanged heavy fire and targeted each other’s positions on Line of Control (LoC), dividing Kashmir, officials said.
The firing happened in Nowshera sector of frontier Rajouri district, some 220 km southwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“Pakistani forces today resorted to heavy firing and shelling on Indian positions and civilian areas in Naushera sector of Rajouri district along LoC,” an Indian army official said. “The firing and shelling started at around 5:00 a.m. and continued for three hours.”
Indian defense officials said their troops guarding LoC retaliated and the exchange lasted until 8:00 in the morning.
There were no casualty report to the Indian side due to the firing.
Reports said the cease-fire violation took place after a week-long lull.
Both New Delhi and Islamabad accused each other of resorting to unprovoked firings and violating cease-fire agreements. Both sides maintained that their troops gave befitting reply.
The troops of India and Pakistan intermittently exchange fire on 720 km-long LoC and 198 km International Border (IB) in Kashmir, despite an agreement in 2003 to observe a cease-fire. Though some violations have been reported on both sides, the cease-fire however remains in effect.
Tensions between the two countries escalated because of the ongoing civilian protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir that saw around 90 civilians dead and over 12,000 others injured.
The situation worsened between New Delhi and Islamabad following a militant attack on Uri army camp last month that left 19 troopers dead and subsequent claims of Indian military that it carried out “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir inflicting significant casualties on infiltrators and their supporters.
Pakistan, however, rejected Indian claims about “surgical strikes”.
Reports said over 25 cease-fire violations along LoC were recorded after “surgical strikes” claim.
LoC is a de facto border that divides Kashmir into India and Pakistan controlled parts.
New Delhi blames Islamabad for fanning Kashmir protests and accuses it of sending armed militants into Indian-controlled Kashmir, an accusation Islamabad strongly rejects. However, Islamabad says it only provides moral and political support to Kashmiris.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.