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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Rockets fired from Pakistan; BSF warns of strong response

IANS  Amritsar, January 09, 2010
First Published: 21:02 IST(9/1/2010) | Last Updated: 21:06 IST(9/1/2010)

The Border Security Force (BSF) Saturday warned of a "strong response" if rockets of the kind fired from the Pakistani side of the border in the wee hours of Saturday again land in Indian territory.
 
BSF troopers retaliated by firing mortars, medium machine-guns and automatic weapons after suspected terrorists fired at least five rockets into Punjab's Amritsar district between midnight and 1 a.m.
 
There were no casualties on the Indian side even though the rockets missed the Kahngarh border out post (BOP) by barely a couple of metres, officials said Saturday. There were at least 35 BSF personnel of the BSF's 65th battalion at the BOP with weapons and ammunition when the rockets landed there near a temple.
 
The rockets fired on the BOP did not explode, BSF officials said.
 
Other rockets were found in an agricultural field near the BOP in Attari sector early Saturday, just 500 metres from the Attari-Wagah joint check post (JCP) on the international border between both countries.

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Following the incident, a team led by a BSF Commandant had a flag meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, led by an officer of the Pakistan Rangers, where India registered a strong protest at the firing of rockets from Pakistan's side and warned of a "strong response" if this happened again.
 
"We have warned the Pakistan side that if this happens again, we will retaliate with a strong response," BSF Punjab frontier Inspector General of Police (IGP) Himmat Singh said after visiting the spot, where the rockets had landed, Saturday.
 
He added: "Five to six rockets were fired into India. We are trying to trace them."
 
A thick fog in the border belt hampered efforts by the BSF to find out if more rockets had been fired, BSF officials said.

This is the third incident of rockets, suspected to be fired by Pakistan-based terrorists into India. The last two incidents happened in Pul Kanjari area of the international border between both countries in July and September last year. In the September incident, 107 MM rockets, used by armies across the world, were fired.

The BSF had protested then also but the Pakistani side denied that any rockets were fired from their territory.

BSF Punjab frontier Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Jagir Singh told IANS: "We have lodged a strong protest over the incident as per procedure. But even the last time, the Pakistan side had not given any convincing reply. They have been denying that the rockets are being fired from Pakistan."

Terrorists linked to Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan had attacked a police training centre, located between Lahore city and Wagah border, just 12 km from Attari, March last year, killing 20 personnel and injuring 150 others.

The incident had raised concern in India that Pakistan-based terrorists had been able to reach so close to the Indian border. The following incidents of rocket firing into India from Pakistan have made those fears come true, despite the Pakistani denial.

The paramilitary BSF mans the international border on the Indian side with the Pakistan Army's Pakistan Sutlej Rangers man the Pakistani side.

India has erected an electrified barbed-wire fencing on its side of the international border all the 553 km India-Pakistan border in Punjab.


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