Fresh Flare-up on LOC


JAMMU: Pakistani troops fired at Indian posts in Jammu and Kashmir again Friday, leading to an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani army across the Line of Control (LoC).

Indian Army sources said Pakistan opened fire at posts close to the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector, around 250 km from here, in the afternoon. The Indian Army responded to the firing which lasted half an hour.

Pakistan has urged European diplomats to play a role in defusing the prevailing tension with India and conveyed to them Islamabad’s concern over “repeated violation of the Line of Control (LOC)” in Kashmir by the Indian Army, Radio Pakistan reported Friday.

The Pakistan government also feels that the option of taking up the issue at the UN Security Council remains open.

Following discussions with European diplomats in Islamabad, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told newsmen that the members of the diplomatic community expressed concern over the rising tension and wanted peaceful relations between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan hoped that the European diplomats would play a positive role in de-escalating the current state of violations on the LoC, Jilani said, adding that the Pakistani defence authorities have already briefed the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) about these violations.

Earlier, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Sharad Sabharwal to its Foreign Office on Friday and served a demarche on him, questioning the Indian Army’s alleged involvement in an incident along the LoC on Thursday.

The Indian envoy was summoned after India’s Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that New Delhi is closely monitoring the entire border with Pakistan and also expressed concern over repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan troops in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian envoy told the Pakistan government that the Indian Army gave a “controlled response” to “unprovoked” firing by Pakistani troops along the Jammu and Kashmir border. Sabharwal conveyed this to Pakistan foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad, the external affairs ministry spokesman said here. 

The two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the winding LoC, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, in 2003. The truce has largely held on in the past decade.

The spokesman also reiterated India’s refusal to involve any third party to probe the allegations and counter allegations from the two countries on the LoC.

India and Pakistan “have a mechanism to bilaterally solve such issues”, the official said.

He said the Director Generals Military Operation of both countries were in contact. “We are fully capable of handling all these matters without involving the UN or any other third party.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated in Kashmir since January 6 when a Pakistani solider was killed allegedly by Indian troops.

Two days later, two Indian soldiers were killed and beheaded near the LoC. Indian officials blamed Pakistani troops for the horror.

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