Dhaka – Pakistani and Indian troops exchanged fire across the Line of Control (LoC) in the Bhimber sector early Saturday, reports Pakistani newspaper DAWN quoting a statement of Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
“Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing which started at 0400 and continued till 0800 at LoC in Bhimber sector,” said the ISPR. The ISPR did not say whether there were any casualties on either sides.
Meanwhile, UN Spokesman told journalists on Friday that the Secretary‑General is following the situation along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan with great concern and the increased tensions along the Line of Control, as well as the escalating rhetoric between the two countries. The UN Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is aware of the reports of presumed ceasefire violations and is liaising with the concerned authorities to obtain further information.
The Secretary‑General urges the Governments of India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint and address the outstanding issues peacefully and through dialogue. He would welcome all proposals in that regard as well as de-escalating initiatives… any de-escalation initiatives. The Secretary‑General also recalls the role played by UNMOGIP, which is deployed to observe, to the extent possible, developments pertaining to the strict observance of the 1971 ceasefire and to report thereon to the Secretary‑General.
UNMOGIP has not directly observed any firing across the Line of Control related to the latest incidents.
In 2003, Pakistan and India reached a landmark agreement to maintain ceasefire along the LoC. However, many violations have occurred since. ‘Nothing new about LoC violations’
UNB adds: The fresh exchange of fire comes two days after India claimed to have carried out surgical strikes on “terror launch pads along the LoC” in Pakistan, raising the already heightened tensions between the two countries. The Pakistani military swiftly rubbished these claims, saying its two soldiers died in cross-border firing by Indian troops.
It later emerged that an Indian soldier was captured by the Pakistan army, while Indian soldiers were also killed in a “befitting response” by Pakistani troops.
The latest incident of cross-border firing came as tensions simmer between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue.
Last week, India initiated a diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan after blaming it for the Sept 18 attack on the Uri army camp in IHK which killed 18 soldiers ─ a claim which Pakistan has rejected.
Tensions between the South Asian rivals have been high since an Indian crackdown on dissent in India-held Kashmir following the killing by Indian forces of Burhan Wani, a young separatist leader, in July.
On Wednesday, India pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit scheduled to be held in November in Islamabad. Several other Saarc members followed suit, leading to the postponement of the summit.