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Pak violates truce as Modi talks peace
Shelling in Poonch LoC calm a must for talks: India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
Pakistani troops today violated ceasefire by targeting Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif promising to work with the latter in an atmosphere "free from confrontation and violence" to chart a new course in bilateral ties.

Border posts pounded

Pakistani troops fired 81-mm mortar shells at LoC posts in the Mendhar-Bhimber Gali-Keri areas

Modiís approach

PM reciprocates Nawaz Sharif's letter with invitation to chart new course in bilateral ties

Talks of atmosphere free from confrontation and violence

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh says peace and tranquillity on LoC pre-condition to normalise ties with Pakistan

This is the first major ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops since the new government assumed office in Delhi last month. It came a day ahead of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's visit to the state to review the security situation.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah later tweeted: "Significant ceasefire violation in Rajouri & Poonch with reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas." He wondered if it was just a coincidence that the ceasefire violation took place a day before Jaitley's visit.

Delhi made it clear to Islamabad that peace along the LoC was a pre-condition for normal relations between the two countries.

"Peace along the border is one of the most important confidence building measures (CBMs) between the two countries. That remains and will remain the case,'' Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told reporters.

Reports received here said Pakistani troops fired 81-mm mortar shells and directed automatic and small arms fire at Indian posts along the LoC in the Mendhar-Bhimber Gali-Keri forward areas of Poonch district around 7.30 am. No casualty or damage has been reported on this side of the LoC due to the firing.

Indian troops guarding the border effectively replied with similar calibre weapons. Exchanges occurred in three forward areas.

In his letter to Sharif, Modi spoke about improving bilateral ties between India and Pakistan and also condemned the attack on the Karachi airport.

"I was particularly delighted and honoured by your participation in the swearing-in ceremony of the new government. Your presence and that of other leaders from our region not only added a special sheen to the event, but also a celebration of the strength of democracy in our region and a reflection of our collective hopes and shared destinies," the letter said.

Modi said he was also encouraged by discussions on bilateral relations and convergence in their views, especially that a relationship between India and Pakistan defined by peace, friendship and cooperation would unleash enormous opportunities for the youth, secure a prosperous future for the two and accelerate progress across the region. Modi said he looked forward to work closely with Sharif and his government in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in bilateral ties.

However, there was no mention of the revival of the stalled dialogue between the two countries, which was suspended in January last year following the beheading of an Indian soldier and the killing of another by Pakistani troops on the LoC. Islamabad has been pressing for the resumption of dialogue since then.

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