Pakistani troops again violate Kashmir truce (Lead)

July 30th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) A day after Indian and Pakistani commanders spoke on the hotline and a flag march was staged to prevent truce violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani troops again opened fire on Indian positions, but this was not returned. There were no casualties on the Indian side in the 20th violation of the truce since January.

“Pakistani troops again started firing at our positions on this side of the LoC in Nowgam (in north Kashmir),” defence spokesman Lt. Col. A.K. Mathur said on the telephone from New Delhi, where he is officiating as the army PRO.

The Pakistani troops first opened fire at 11.30 a.m. and again at about 12.30 p.m. with mortars and machine guns.

The firing halted after Indian commanders spoke to their Pakistani counterparts on the hotline at about 1.00 p.m. and urged them to stop firing to prevent the situation from escalating, defence officials said in New Delhi.

On Monday, a group of 10-12 Pakistani soldiers had crossed into the Indian side of the LoC in the same sector, resulting in exchange of fire between the two armies that lasted till early Tuesday morning.

One Indian soldier of 22 Rajput Regiment was killed, while four Pakistanis died in the retaliatory firing.

India Tuesday lodged a strong protest against Monday’s firing. The protest was lodged when Lt. Gen. A.S. Sekhon, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) at the Army Headquarters in New Delhi, spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. Nasir Janjua on the hotline, the defence ministry said.

Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony Tuesday also urged Islamabad to respect the ceasefire that has been in place since November 2003.

Sources in New Delhi said the Pakistani Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were making all efforts to disrupt the forthcoming assembly elections in Kashmir by stepping up the level of terrorist violence and pushing in a large number of militants.

The summer months usually see militants based in training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir trying to infiltrate into the Indian side. They are unable to do so in winter since ingress routes through mountain passes are blocked by heavy snow, making it difficult for them to sneak in.

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