India, Pak to hold flag meet at Poonch today

LoC firing

In an attempt to de-escalate the recent tension along the Line of Control (LoC) following the beheading of an Indian Army soldier by Pakistani Army regulars and the brutal killing of another, Islamabad has agreed to a flag meeting at Poonch on Monday to discuss the issue.

The Brigadier level flag meeting is scheduled to be held at the Chakkan Da Bagh border crossing point in Poonch at 1 pm tomorrow, and will be attended by the brigade commanders of both sides.

Confirming this, the Army spokesperson said India would raise the recent spate of unprovoked ceasefire violations with Pakistan and would also present evidence that Pakistani Army troops are engaged in a series of firings on Indian posts in contravention to the rules of engagement that were framed to ensure the continuity of the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

The Indian side had called for a flag meeting after two of its soldiers belonging to the 13 Raj Rif regiment were killed by Pakistani Army regulars who had crossed over to the Indian side of the border on January 8. This was preceded by the killing of a Pakistani Army soldier in Uri sector on January 6.

The two sides have been exchanging fire after the two incidents, with the last instance of ceasefire violation being on Saturday night when five Pakistani posts opened fire. The Indian side also reported an infiltration bid by seven-eight people while the firing was on.

After the spate of incidents, which led to the death of two soldiers on each side, there have been moves to de-escalate the tension. The Indian Army has been of the view that a border flag meeting would be the ideal platform to defuse tension, as the understanding is that the firings took place due to issues at the local level. While there have been cases of cross-border firings in the past, the matter has turned serious this time as Pakistani Army regulars crossed over to the Indian side of the border and ambushed an Indian patrol, killed the two jawans.

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