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LoC: Pakistan violates ceasefire again in Poonch

'Indian Army gave a calibrated response to firing,no loss of life or property in firing.'

Four days after five Indian soldiers were killed by the Pakistan Army along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district,Pakistan again on Friday night violated ceasefire.

Amid heightened tension on the border over the killing of five Indian soldiers,Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire yet again by firing 7000 rounds of heavy ammunition and mortar shells for seven hours at Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

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The fresh ceasefire violation late last night,which the Indian Army termed as the “biggest ceasefire violation” in recent times,comes four days after five Indian soldiers were killed by specialist troops of the Pakistan Army on the LoC.

There was no loss of life in the firing from across the border to which the Indian Army fired back effectively.

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“Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing on several Indian forward posts along LoC in Durga Battalion area in Poonch district around 2220 hours last night”,Defence Spokesman S N Acharya said today.

“They fired 7000 rounds of heavy weaponry Pika ammunition and medium mortars targeting several Indian posts in order to cause heavy causalities till 0430 hours,the Spokesman,said adding that it was “biggest ceasefire violation”.

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Army troops guarding the borderline took positions and fired back effectively,he said,adding that troops also fired 4595 rounds of Medium Machine Guns (MMGs),INSAS rifles and KPWT Machine guns besides 111 RPGs,11 rockets and 18 mortar shells of 81 mm in retaliatory action.

There was no loss of life in the firing from across the border,spokesman said,adding tension is prevailing along the borderline.

The sound of heavy firing and mortar blasts was heard in Poonch town and the firing exchanges triggered panic among the people living in the area.

On August six,a group of 20 heavily armed men led by Pakistani troops had entered 450 metres into the Indian territory in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir and

ambushed a patrol killing five Indian soldiers.

Tension between India and Pakistan mounted last week after the killing of Indian soldiers on the LoC.

The incident also cast a shadow on the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue process. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are slated to meet in New York next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The dialogue process was put on hold following the beheading of an Indian soldier and another soldier’s body found mutilated following the January 8 attack by Pakistani troops in the Poonch sector

Defence Minister A K Antony had blamed the Pakistan Army for the “brutal” act and also warned that last Tuesday’s incident will have “consequences” on India’s behaviour on the Line of Control and on relations with Pakistan.

“It is now clear that the specialist troops of Pakistan Army were involved in this attack when a group from Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) side crossed the LoC and killed our brave jawans,” he had said.

Taking a hard position,Antony had told Parliament that the “brutal and unprovoked” attack on Indian side of the LoC in Poonch sector “outraged us all” and “naturally,this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pakistan.”

Sending out a message to Pakistan,he said,”Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the Government to uphold the sanctity of LoC ever be doubted.”

Antony had said,”Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy and the brutal killing of two soldiers earlier this year should not go unpunished.

“Pakistan should also show determined action to dismantle terrorists networks,organisations and infrastructure and show tangible movement on bringing those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 to justice quickly,” he had said.

LoC killings: Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh pulls up formation commanders

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has pulled up the commanders of formations deployed in Poonch sector on the Line of Control (LoC) in the wake of two major raids by the Pakistan Army special troops in the last eight months that led to gruesome killings of Indian soldiers.

During the visit to the LoC to review the security situation after the killings of five Indian soldiers in Poonch on Tuesday,the Army Chief pulled up the formation commanders there,Army sources said here.

In the earlier incident on January 8,the troops of Pakistan’s Special Services Group (SSG) had entered Indian territory and killed two Indian soldiers and beheaded one of them. After the January incident,the Army Chief had asked his formation commanders to adopt an aggressive stance on the LoC and asked them to respond immediately in case of provocations by Pakistan Army.

“I expect my commanders to be aggressive in the face of firing,” Gen Singh had said. The Army is also checking if there was any violation of standard operating procedures (SOP) by the troops and the unit deployed in that area.

Officials said it was also checking that how the terrorists have been able to dodge the anti-personnel mines laid in the area.

With PTI Inputs

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