Day after four soldiers were killed, India-Pakistan exchange heavy fire in J&K’s Poonch

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An Indian Army paratrooper with the 50th Independent Para Brigade examines an M4 carbine prior to sighting in the weapon May 4, 2013, at Fort Bragg, N.C. He and fellow paratroopers are familiarizing themselves with the American weapons in preparation for field training exercises with U.S. Army paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team during the annual Yudh Abyhas U.S. - India training exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

A defence official said the Pakistan Army resorted to mortar shelling at around 1.30 pm and they also used automatics and small arms to target forwards Indian posts in the Shahpur area

Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged heavy fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Sunday, a day after four soldiers, including a Major, were killed in a similar ceasefire violation in Rajouri district,Indian Express has published.

A defence official said the Pakistan Army resorted to mortar shelling at around 1.30 pm and they also used automatics and small arms to target forwards Indian posts in the Shahpur area. He said the Indian troops were retaliating effectively and there were no reports of any casualty in the skirmish. “Firing and shelling exchanges started at 1.30 pm, and were continuing,” the official added.

Meanwhile, ANI reported that gunshots were heard in the militant hotbed of south Kashmir’s Shopian district. The sound of firearms were heard from Arem Mohallah Watoo village and the Army and police have launched a joint cordon and search operation.

The ceasefire violation on Saturday occured around 12.15 pm and such a large-scale escalation of unprovoked firing caught the Indian side by surprise. Though there have been stray incidents in the adjoining Nowshera sector of small arms firing from the Pakistan side, such a high number of casualties has come after a month.

Till now only three of the four soldiers have been identified – Major Prafulla Ambadas Moharkar, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh and Sepoy Pargat Singh. They were part of an Army patrol in Chingus area of Keri sector. Sources attributed the ceasefire violation to a “growing desperation” on the Pakistan side to “push in armed terrorists” into India before closure of the mountain passes this winter. The security forces and the police have killed over 200 militants, including many top commanders, this year.

At least a dozen people, including civilians and soldiers, have been killed in nearly 300 incidents of ceasefire violations along the border in 2017 — a sharp rise from the 228 such incidents last year.