LoC remains tense as India, Pakistan exchange fire

Tension continued to prevail along the India, Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday where Army was on alert after repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops.

Pakistani troops fired at Indian posts in Jammu and Kashmir again on Friday, leading to an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani Army across the Line of Control (LoC).

Army sources said Pakistan opened fire at posts close to the LoC in the Krishna Ghati sector in the afternoon.

"The Army offered a calibrated response to silence Pakistani guns," said the source. The firing lasted for half an hour.

"There were no casualties on this (Indian) side," the source said.

Pakistan has been firing on Indian positions daily violating a ceasefire agreement after its troops killed two Indian soldiers near LoC on Tuesday.

Tension between India and Pakistan has escalated in Kashmir since January 6 when a Pakistani soldier was killed allegedly by Indian troops.

Two days later, two Indian soldiers were killed and beheaded near the LoC. Indian officials blamed Pakistani troops for the horror.

Pak summons Indian envoy

India and Pakistan continued to trade accusations over ceasefire violations with Pakistani government summoning the Indian envoy to serve a demarche on yesterday's incident, which Indian authorities said was a "controlled response" to "unprovoked" firing by the other side.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani summoned High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to lodge "a strong protest on the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian army" and sought "thorough investigation" by the Indian government.

In New Delhi, the official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said Sabharwal was "called to the Foreign Office where he met Jilani and issued a note verbale on an incident which is said to have occurred on January 10."

He also said Pakistan is claiming that one of their soldiers was killed in the incident yesterday.

Sabharwal told Jilani that there was "unprovoked firing from Pakistan (along the LoC) in Mendhar sector and there was a controlled response from our side," the MEA spokesperson said.

The Indian envoy also stressed the need for holding the sanctity of LoC and adherence of the Simla Agreement to sort out bilateral issues, he said.
Enough troops in J&K: Antony

Viewing with "serious concern" the increased ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, India said the provocative action of killing of two soldiers on Tuesday was a "turning point" in the situation.

Amid increased tension along the Line of Control after three days of exchange of fire, Defence Minister AK Antony said there were "enough troops" in Jammu and Kashmir and the government was taking all steps to protect the interest of the country.

The tension along the LoC was discussed at a high-level meeting in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) where Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma briefed about the situation in the wake of brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani soldiers in Poonch area on Tuesday.

"It is not an isolated incident, it's increasing from the last one year. Ceasefire violations are also increasing. It is a matter of concern to us and the tragic, provocative actions two days back, that was a turning point at the moment," Antony told reporters in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi.

"This kind of occasional ceasefire violations and firing is a serious concern, because even though violence level in Kashmir has come down compared to the past, infiltration attempts are increasing," he said on the sidelines of a function to inaugurate housing project for armed forces.

Pakistan has been firing on Indian positions daily violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement after its troops killed two Indian soldiers near LoC on Tuesday.

Pakistan has suspended the cross LoC bus service between Chakan-da-bagh in Jammu and Kashmir and Rawalkote in Pakistan-administered Kashmir "for the time being", an official in Poonch said.

Pakistan also did not open its gates to allow trucks loaded with perishable items to pass to India. Talks between officials of the two sides in on to sort out allowing the trucks and buses, an official said.