Indian, Pakistani commanders meet after Kashmir truce breach(Roundup)

May 15th, 2008 - 12:35 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Srinagar/New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Indian and Pakistani commanders staged a flag meeting at the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday evening following violation of a truce that has been in force since 2003, an official said. “The meeting was held following pressure exerted by the Indian side. We had asked for a meeting in the morning but this was refused. They finally relented in the evening,” the official said in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described as worrisome the truce violation that occurred when Pakistani troops opened fire in the Tangdhar sector Tuesday evening.

“It is worrisome. The issue is being taken up at the military level,” the prime minister told reporters on the sidelines of a defence investiture ceremony in New Delhi Wednesday.

The incident, however, will not lead to any rescheduling of President Pratibha Patil’s visit to the Tangdhar sector on May 23, officials in the national capital said.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has denied there was any truce violation.

“There was no firing from our side,” a statement issued in Islamabad Wednesday night said.

Senior officers of the two armies spoke on the hotline earlier Wednesday to resolve the imbroglio.

The director general of military operations (DGMO), Lt. Gen. A.S. Sekhon, spoke on the hotline with his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. A.S. Pasha at 3 p.m., an Indian Army officer said in New Delhi.

According to the officer, this was the first time that firing along the LoC was being classified as a truce violation.

“In the past too, Pakistani troops have opened fire in support of infiltrators who were trying to sneak across. The fire was returned from our side.

“This time, there was no infiltration involved and our troops did not return fire. Therefore, we have classified it as a truce violation. We hope this will not recur,” the officer said.

The DGMOs normally speak on the hotline once a week on Tuesdays.

Indian Army spokesman Lt. Col. A.K. Mathur said in Srinagar: “Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing at our posts. They fired scores of rounds. However, we did not retaliate,” he added.

There were no casualties on the Indian side.

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