Tension at borders; India lodges protest with Pakistan

RSTV Bureau
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Poonch: Relatives during the funeral of Sarpanch Karamat Hussain who was killed in Pakistani shelling at Balakot sector at Poonch in Jammu on Sunday. Photo – PTI

There is no let up in the tension along Indo-Pak borders as the latter’s forces continues its offensive at the Line of Control (LoC) and International borders (IB) with repeated ceasefire violations. As per the latest reports, Poonch sector witnessed heavy firing between the Indian and Pakistan forces till the wee hours on Monday.

Early on Sunday, Union Ministry of External Affairs summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit conveying anger over the repeated ceasefire violation by Pakistan forces. In the last two days alone, six civilians, including a village sarpanch, have been killed in heavy firing and mortar shelling at Poonch in Jammu.

“The High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs today…Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) lodged a protest, and conveyed our anger, at the unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the press.

The MEA spokesperson added that Basit was “firmly” told that Pakistan Government needed to take “necessary steps to ensure that the Pakistan military does not undermine peace and tranquillity” along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC).

But the Pakistan envoy in turn claimed of 70 ceasefire violations from Indian side in the months of July and August and called for a more effective mechanism to determine who indulges in the unprovoked firing.

“We are concerned about ceasefire violations. In the months of July and August, there have been close to 70 ceasefire violations from this side of the LoC and the working boundary,” Abdul Basit told the press in New Delhi after his 15 minutes with the South Block.

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Poonch: A view of an Indian border post near fencing on the line of control (LoC) near Balakot sector in Poonch on Monday. Photo – PTI

“Our side would like to have a more effective mechanism in place as to determine who indulges in these unprovoked firing,” the defiant Pakistan envoy added.

Since Saturday, six civilians have been killed and several left injured after Pakistan forces resorted to mid-long range firing purportedly targeting the civilian areas in Poonch of Jammu. Though the violations have been reported since August 9, it got intensified since Saturday in Balkote, Hamirpur, Sujiyan, Mandi sectors along LoC in Poonch.

Reacting to the violation of ceasefire understandings by Pakistan forces, Union Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said, “We are giving them (Pakistan) a befitting reply. Our response is double-triple (in intensity)”.

Incidentally, the escalation of tension at the borders have come just over a week before the National Security Advisors (NSA) of India and Pakistan are slated to meet in New Delhi on the 23rd of August.

Both NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaz Aziz are expected to take up the issue of terrorism and ceasefire violations in their talks.

(With inputs from the PTI)