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Pakistani troops fire mortars at Indian post along LoC

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 11, 2008 21:03 IST
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Continuing with their provocative postures along the Line of Control with India, Pakistan Army troops on Monday lobbed mortars and targeted small arms fire at an Indian post in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, breaching a November 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries for the 22nd time since January this year.

No casualties were reported from the Indian side. However, Indian troops there retaliated with controlled firing to counter the Pakistani fire.

"Pakistani troops lobbed 60-mm mortars and continued with small arms fire at the Poonch Indian post from 12.30 hours to 13.30 hours on Monday afternoon," army's spokesperson in Srinagar Lt Col A K Mathur told PTI.

The fire from Pakistani troops came from their Rawalkot posts and it went on intermittently during the one-hour period of exchange between the two sides, army sources said.

The current round of unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops comes a week after unidentified persons fired small arms at Indian troops in Nowgam sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

A fortnight earlier on July 28, a group of 12 Pakistani regulars had crossed over the LoC at Nowgam and entered Indian territory to confront an Indian patrol team and fired at a post in Khayam area, killing a jawan there.

Soon after, Defence Minister A K Antony, in a strongly worded statement, asked Pakistan to respect the ceasefire agreement and to follow the already established mechanisms for sorting out ceasefire violations through flag meetings between the two armies.

Since January this year, Pakistani troops have violated the five-year-old ceasefire agreement 22 times and have provoked reactions from Indian troops, though the latter have refused to retaliate on most occasions, army sources said.

However, the Indian Army's director general of military operations had strongly protested to his Pakistani counterpart on a couple of occasions over ceasefire violations, especially during the Tangdhar firing and the Nowgam LoC breach.

Pakistani breaches of the ceasefire have been reported from Rajouri, Tanghdhar and Poonch sector this year, from where a large number of Kashmiri militants have been trying to infiltrate into India.

Army headquarters in Delhi has assessed that the Pakistani firing occurred whenever militant groups were making attempts to infiltrate into India and ceasefire violations could be a tactic being adopted by Pakistani troops to distract Indian forces along the LoC.

Infiltration bids by militants have witnessed an increase in the summer months this year in view of the Jammu and Kashmir state Assembly elections scheduled for October this year, army sources said.

Close to a hundred infiltration bids have been reported in the last eight months from across the LoC with Pakistan, as Kashmiri militant groups felt that the summer months were the best time of the year to augment their depleting strength in the Valley.

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