Pakistani and Indian troops exchanged fire on the Line of Control (LoC) on Friday, breaking a three-month-long period of calm in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir. A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Indian troops resorted to ‘unprovoked firing’ in Poonch Sector.
“Indian troops used mortar and other heavy weapons. Pakistan troops responded effectively to Indian firing. No loss has been reported yet,” added the statement. However, the Indian media claimed that Pakistani troops first violated the ceasefire along the LoC.
Both sides routinely accuse each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement along the LoC. However, it is impossible to verify claims from either side due to lack of access to the heavily militarised zone. This was the first reported ceasefire violation along the LoC since January 11 when a 55-year-old civilian in Tatapani Sector was injured during exchange of fire between the two armies.
Tensions between the two neighbours flared up in August last year when the two sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire in the disputed region. The clashes have left a number of soldiers and civilians dead on both sides of the LoC.
However, the directors general military operations (DGMOs) from the two sides held rare face-to-face talks in Wagah in December last year and agreed to uphold the ceasefire agreement. The two sides decided to strengthen the existing border mechanisms and to hold meetings between brigade commanders along the LoC in Poonch and Uri Sectors so as to defuse situation whenever there is escalation in tension between the two sides.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2014.
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