Pak violates ceasefire, India reminds it of pre-condition
Violating the ceasefire once again, Pakistan troops on Friday targeted Indian posts in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir with heavy weaponary like mortar shells, prompting India to remind it that maintenance of peace on border is a ‘pre-condition’ for normalisation of relations.
The provocative action by Pakistan, to which Indian troops retaliated effectively, came a day ahead of the visit of defence minister Arun Jaitley to the state for the first time after taking over.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah questioned the timing of the ceasefire violation.
‘Is it just a coincidence that the Defence Minister is visiting J&K, for his 1st visit, to review the security situation tomorrow?’ Omar tweeted.
Pakistan troops fired 81-mm mortar shells and directed automatic and small-arms fire at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar-BhimberGali-Keri forward areas of Poonch district at around 0730 hours today, said a senior Army officer.
No casualty or damage has been reported on this side of the LoC due to the firing, he said.
Indian troops guarding the border effectively replied with similar calibre weapons, he said, adding that the ‘exchanges occurred in three forward areas’.
In the wake of the incident, fourth since Narendra Modi government took over, India reminded Pakistan that maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border is a ‘pre-condition’ for having a normal relationship between the two countries.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said it has been India's endeavour to establish peaceful and friendly relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.
‘On firing, I will like to reiterate that peace and tranquility on the border is of the highest importance in establishing the pre-condition for such peaceful and normal relationship,’ she told reporters.
‘Maintenance of peace and tranquility on LoC is one of the most important CBMs between India and Pakistan. That remains and will remain the case,’ she said.
The issue of ceasefire violations is understood to have come up during Army chief Gen Bikram Singh’s presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in Delhi.
Omar said the ceasefire violations in the Rajouri and Poonch areas were significant as some of shells had landed in civilian areas.
‘Significant ceasefire violation in Rajouri and Poonch with reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas.
Some livestock loss,’ he further tweeted. The firing comes a day after an IED blast in the Tarkundi forward area along the LoC in Poonch in which one jawan was killed and three others injured.
Between end of April and mid-May, 19 incidents of ceasefire violation were reported along the LoC here.