India, Pak to hold flag meet at Poonch today
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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.
Since the violations on Saturday night when the Indian Army claimed to have stopped an infiltration bid, there has been no exchange of fire. Senior Army officers said that since the incidents of January 8 when two Indian soldiers were killed and January 9, when a Pakistani soldier was shot dead, there has been no major exchange of fire along the LoC.
Sources pointed out that there have been more serious violations of the ceasefire agreement in the past when the Pakistani side have used not only heavy machine guns but also mortars to target Indian posts. Pakistan, however, has never admitted that it has used mortars, but instead blames terrorists or irregular forces. This, despite being presented with samples of Pakistani-manufactured ordnance.