Ceasefire violation by Pak; India lodges strong protest

RSTV Bureau
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A civilian showing remnants of the mortal shells near International Border in Jammu. Photo – PTI

In what may add to the fragile contours of relations between India and Pakistan, the latter has once again violated the ceasefire understanding along the International border at Jammu. For the last two days, Pakistani Rangers have been indulging in firing and mortar shelling killing a civilian and injuring more than ten persons, as per the latest reports.

The Indian authorities have now lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the repeated ceasefire violations by its forces, even as the Border Security Force (BSF) continues to retaliate strongly.

“Pakistani Rangers resorted to small arms firing and mortar shelling along International Border in R S Pura sector of Jammu district since 0115 hours today…BSF troops guarding the border line retaliated effectively and the firing exchange continued till 0530 hours today,” a BSF senior officer told the news agencies.

The ceasefire violations has intensified even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Jammu on Friday.

As per the latest reports on Thursday, the Pakistani Rangers has so far targeted five border outposts (BoPs) and some civilian areas in RS Pura and Tawi forward belts. This was a day after heavy shelling in Akhnoor sector in Jammu where a woman was killed and six persons were injured, including two BSF jawans. The Pakistani Rangers on Wednesday had also targeted civilian areas with small-arms fire and shelling at Bhalwal Bharth, Malabela and Siderwan.

India has now lodged a strong protest with Pakistan High Commissioner as well as with the establishment in Islamabad.

“Our High Commissioner in Islamabad raised the issue with the Pakistan Foreign Office and Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi was also conveyed India’s concerns regarding ceasefire violation in which one woman was killed and some people injured,” an Indian official told the press.

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File: Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif meeting the officials from India and Pakistan before the bilateral talks in Ufa, Russia last week. Photo – PTI

There have been nine ceasefire violations in the month of July alone. The spate of violations also drew sharp remarks from the Indian envoy in Pakistan on Wednesday.

“We are disappointed at the developments which have taken place this morning. There was major ceasefire violation committed by Pakistani forces in Akhnoor sector which led to casualties in India. I spoke to the (Pak) foreign secretary this morning and again in the afternoon,” Indian High Commissioner TCA Raghavan said in Islamabad.

Earlier, Pakistan side had indulged in a ceasefire violation at the forward border post in North Kashmir killing a BSF jawan, on the eve of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SCO summit in Ufa, Russia.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Thursday summoned Indian envoy TCA Raghavan to the Foreign Office in Islamabad claiming a violation of its territory by an alleged Indian “spy” drone. Pakistan army on Wednesday had claimed to have “brought down” a drone that was being used for aerial photography near the Line of Control (LoC).

The Indian Army as well as the Indian Air Force has denied that any of their drone has been shot down or crashed.

(With inputs from the PTI)