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India, Pak lock horns over truce violation

In a highly contested claim, the Pakistan army accused Indian troops of opening fire at its defences across the Line of Control in Poonch district, reports Rahul Singh.
By Rahul Singh | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2008 02:08 AM IST

In a highly contested claim, the Pakistan army on Thursday accused Indian troops of opening fire at its defences across the Line of Control in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district.

The Indian army has strongly refuted the charge saying its troops had actually come under fire from the Pakistani Bagh post using heavy-calibre weapons including under-barrel grenade launchers.

Army officials said Indian troops came under fire from the Bagh post even as they were engaged in a firefight with infiltrators trying to sneak into Indian territory. The army has accused Pakistani troops of opening “unprovoked firing” on an Indian post.

A senior officer in the Army headquarters said, “We immediately reported the incident to Pakistani commanders over hotline and advised them to stop firing.” He claimed that the infiltrators fell back and disappeared across the LoC. No casualties were reported. An Indian patrol later recovered “fired cases of Pika and UBGL ammunition”, mostly used by terrorists, inside Indian territory.

News agencies in Islamabad quoted Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas as saying that Indian troops fired mortars and small arms on a Pakistani check post and local commanders had lodged protest over the hotline.

An Indian officer told the Hindustan Times, “This is all hogwash. Infiltrators had crossed the LoC and entered 300-400 metres into our territory.”

There have been several instances of cross-border firing along the LoC in recent weeks and India has accused Pakistan troops of violating the November 2003 ceasefire. Pakistan, of course, has absolved itself of any responsibility. On Thursday, it went one step further and laid the blame at the Indian Army’s doors.

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