S Venkat Narayan
Publication Date : 11-08-2013
Pakistan violates ceasefire with 7,000 rounds of heavy ammunition and mortar shells fired along the Indian border
Even as there is heightened tension on the India-Pakistan border over the killing of five Indian soldiers last Tuesday, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire yet again by firing 7,000 rounds of heavy ammunition and mortar shells for seven hours at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
The fresh ceasefire violation late on Friday 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.
The Indian army retaliated by firing back. There was no loss of life in the firing from across the border.
“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 SN Acharya said on Saturday.
“They fired 7,000 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. It was “biggest ceasefire violation’’ in recent times, he added.
Army troops guarding the borderline took positions and fired back effectively, he said. Indian troops also fired 4,595 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, but tension prevails along the border, the spokesman said.
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 J&K 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 Dr Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are slated to meet in New York late 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 same Poonch sector.
Defence Minister AK 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 (soldiers),” 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.