M A I N   N E W S

Respect ceasefire, Antony tells Pakistan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Defence minister A.K. Antony today sent out a strong message to Pakistan saying India was fully prepared to deal with any instance of infiltration by the Pakistani army, though adequate restraint was being maintained to prevent escalation of tension.

Jawans of the Pakistan army had intruded into Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday and opened fire at an Indian post killing Mahesh Kumar of the Rajputana Rifles. The Indian troops retaliated and reportedly shot dead four Pakistani soldiers. Mukesh hails from Rewari in Haryana. The incident occurred around 3:30 pm yesterday and intermittent firing across the line of control continued till this morning.

Antony said keeping in view the increased attempts of infiltration, the counter infiltration grid had been suitably strengthened by the Army to check such incidents.

Commenting on yesterday’s incident, Antony said: “The increase in the ceasefire violations — firing across the Line of Control (LoC) -- has been a matter of concern and is being constantly reviewed by the government from time to time”.

A total of 19 incidents had occurred since January 2008 and a large number of incidents had occurred in June and July this year. These were unusual months when maximum attempts of infiltration were made by terrorists, he added.

The defence minister said the government through the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) had told Pakistan that it must fully respect the ceasefire agreed upon between the two sides. The DGMOs of the two countries also spoke over the hotline today, officials of the ministry added.

Meanwhile, sources in the ministry said the incident occurred in Kupwara district as Pakistani soldiers crossed 300 metres inside the Indian territory and objected to the location of an observation and surveillance post. They asked for a meeting with the commanding officer, a senior defence ministry official said.

This led to an altercation and one of the Pakistani soldiers, possibly sighting an Indian patrol in the vicinity, opened fire, fatally injuring jawan Mahesh at the post and this led to opening of fire in retaliation Indian troops, officials here said.

Srinagar: While the guns fell silent after night-long firing across the LoC in Nowgam sector, India on Tuesday registered a strong protest to the Pakistan counterparts over the violation of ceasefire along the Line of Control. The firing between the two sides continued throughout the night, without causing any damage. Defence sources here did not comment on the damage caused as a result of the firing.

Defence spokesman, Lt-Col A.K. Mathur said a flag meeting was held at the level of battalion commanders in Nowgam sector on Tuesday after guns fell silent in the morning. He said “we protested the violation of ceasefire” and the crossing of LoC by the troops from the other side. He added that it was also resolved that such incidents be amicably resolved at the level of DGMO.

Meanwhile, the body of Sepoy Mahesh, who was killed in the firing, had been flown to his native place in Rewari, reports here said.



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