No Exchange of Sweets This I-Day On Border

WAGAH: No ceremonial exchange of sweets and gifts will take place between BSF and Pakistan Rangers during the Independence day celebrations on both the sides, in the wake of recent ceasefire violations and cross-border terror bids from the Pakistan side. 

The Border Security Force headquarters here has communicated the decision in this regard to their formations in the western sector of the country where its troops guard the International Border (IB) with Pakistan along Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir independently. 

At the Line of Control, the BSF is deployed under the command of the Army. “Neither sweets nor gifts will be offered or taken on August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day and on August 15, the day when India got freedom in 1947. 

The decision has been communicated to field formations,” a senior BSF officer said. The souring of ties and customary courtesies between the two countries was recently seen when Pakistan refused a similar Indian gesture during Eid festivities last month. 

Border guarding forces of the two countries have been following a tradition of exchanging sweets on national festivals and other events at the IB in Jammu and along the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar in Punjab and few other locations in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

In the wake of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani Rangers, India has warned Pakistan of “effective and forceful” response to unprovoked firing and cross-border terrorism. The latest development comes in the backdrop of two terror incidents in Gurdaspur in Punjab and Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, where it is believed that militants crossed over to this side from across the border to perpetrate violence.

There have been 19 ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak border in the month of July only in which four persons, including three troops, have been killed and 14 others injured

Heavy firing for 4th day in row

SRINAGAR: Indo-Pak troops exchanged fire on the Line of Control (LoC) for the fourth day in row today in Poonch district. Both sides used automatic weapons and rockets against each other. There were no immediate reports of casualties, if any. 

An Indian Defence official said, the troops of the neighbouring country continued to violate the 2003 ceasefire agreement as they targetted the Indian side for the 22nd time in August. 

“Pakistan Army at 1015 hours today resorted to firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Sabzia-Mandi sector of Poonch sector,” a defence spokesman said. 

“Firing is on intermittently. Troops of our side of LoC are retaliating appropriately. No casualty and damage reported till last reports came in,” the spokesman said. 

Pakistani troops targeted posts and civilian area with mortar shells, Rocket Projectile Grenades (RPGs) and Pika rounds triggering panic among the people living along LOC in Poonch. 

Earlier, Pakistan had violated the ceasefire twice overnight using 120 mm mortar bombs in Poonch district. 

A Defence Spokesman said, “Pakistan troops fired from small arms, mortar bombs of 120 mm and 61 mm range on forward posts along the LoC in Sabzian and Balakote sectors in Poonch district overnight”. 

While Pakistani troops fired from automatic weapons and 120 mm mortar shells in Sabzian sector from 2100 hours last, there was firing of small arms and 61 mm mortars along Balakote sector during the period till this morning. 

Indian troops retaliated effectively, the spokesman said, adding that no one was injured in the firing.

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